Monday 29 March 2021

Companions and Earthbound double anthology

We’re very pleased to receive a visit from Olivia Dreisinger, who recently published a pair of linked anthologies through Painwise Press: Companions and Earthbound. The volumes group together stories on the themes of disability and the environment (themes that have long been dear to us at TFF), in creative nonfiction and SFF respectively. We asked Olivia to tell us a bit about the books (and if you read to the end, there’s a little gift for TFF readers as well).

Companions & Earthbound
A paired anthology of new disability writing

Edited by Olivia Dreisinger

Painwise Press, 2021. 168 pages.

This 2-in-1 anthology collects writing by nine authors about disability, animals, and the environment. A werewolf with PTSD and an environmentally ill AI are featured alongside human characters living with brain injury, chronic pain, neurodivergence, and more.

Contributors: Alexandra Box, Olivia Dreisinger, Sophie Helf, Bára Hladík, Cypress Marrs, Koyote Moone, seeley quest, Vanessa Santos, and George Wu Teng.

Cover concept by Sasha Zamani
Artwork by Audrey Leshay


“You might think that an anthology centered on disabled people and animal companions, captured with a wide-angle eco lens, might end up too narrowly focused. In Companions and Earthbound, the opposite is true: from its chosen center point, the stories and essays burst outwards with energy, complexity, and tender, thoughtful detail, all different, all unique, all worth spending time with.”
—Lori Selke, editor of Outlaw Bodies

“The experience of reading the stories and creative essays in Olivia Dreisinger’s Companions and Earthbound dual anthologies is akin to sitting down with a friend who intimately knows both the pleasures and pains that come with disability. The catch, however, is that friend is a shape-shifter: sometimes animal, human, or imagined intelligence. No matter their shape or space of residence, the voices of these narratives underscore the connections of sinew, blood, dirt, and spirit that bind us together, reminding us that disabled bodies, animal bodies, are expansive and whole and beautiful.”
—Kathryn Allan, editor of Accessing the Future and Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure

I’m a first-time editor. While assembling this anthology, I found myself constantly referring back to my well-worn (and much-loved) copy of Accessing the Future. How could I ever pull off something as amazing as this, I thought to myself. The stories in Accessing the Future pushed me—hard. I’d be lying if I said this anthology measured up to Accessing the Future, but maybe let’s just say they’re different.

This 2-in-1 anthology looks at disability, animals, and the environment. An encounter with a therapy horse and, later, a service dog in my life really got me thinking more seriously about what disability and animal liberation had in common. Most of the stories inside don’t push for liberation (well, some do). Instead, they focus on our proximities to animals in sometimes banal—or overlooked—ways. (There is something to be said about the banal.)

The anthology is split into two sections: contemporary non/fiction and speculative fiction. I wanted to be open to different styles of writing and telling stories—styles that may very well be informed by the writer’s disabilities. Maybe it’d be accurate to describe the anthology as a disabled hodge-podge—something that I hope you will find generative. May these stories matter.

You can buy Companions and Earthbound from Painwise Press. As a special gift to TFF readers, if you use the code TFF10 at the checkout you can receive a 10% discount.

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