About the Books


Long Walks Last Flights and Other Strange Journeys (2008)

LFsmall“In his first story collection, sf newcomer Scholes displays a rare gift for inventive storytelling that already invites comparisons with the genre’s leading practitioners. His crisply minimalist prose paradoxically gives rise to an abundance of cleverly original ideas and is often permeated by black humor. At a nursing home for retired superheroes, the caped residents harass the nursing staff and reminisce about the old days. The intelligent chimpanzees trained to work on a moon-based mining colony make a sudden evolutionary leap and begin killing off their human hosts. Meriwether Lewis crosses paths with D. B. Cooper after the lost hijacker from the 1970s becomes stranded 200 years in the past. In the volume’s standout tale, “Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk,” Scholes’ homage to A. A. Milne recounts the fate of the lone survivor of a colonization effort on a hostile planet: an intelligently programmed toy bear. Scholes’ lucidly written afterword sheds light on the genesis for all those crazy ideas and provides a fitting warm-up for what will doubtless become an illustrious career.”


“Scholes’ path reflects an increasing willingness to abandon strangeness as a means of arriving back at the quotidian truths of human existence. His choice to push his characters into more challenging emotional terrain with each new venture of the imagination makes him an exciting vehicle of discovery.”

–Internet Review of Science Fiction

Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects (2010)

Diving_Mimes“A mysterious voice, an alien songstress, a postapocalyptic Santa Claus, and a host of other bizarre creatures come together in Scholes’s lively, arresting and gleefully offbeat second short story collection (after 2009’sLong Walks, Last Flights), which equally startles with profound emotion and revels in absurd humor. In the brilliant ‘A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon,’ a tearful ruler encounters a strange object and a young woman that bring both doom and renewal. ‘Invisible Empire of Ascending Light’ concerns a violent contest to take the place of a dying god. ‘Four Clowns of the Apocalypse and the Mecca of Mirth’ is a wide-eyed, bizarro-style caper involving the misadventures of four clowns in a wasted, radioactive America. By turns baroque, off-kilter, and haunting, Scholes’s writing will delight lovers of the unusual and wildly imaginative.”  

— Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“The world often throws the unusual at you, and not always for bad reason. Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects is a collection of short stories from Ken Scholes providing an unusual assortment of thought and idea through his chosen medium. From post apocalyptic alien invasions and the need to ward them off, and the current roles of mythological figures as well as the challenges of dating with a secret identity, Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects is a humorous as well as enlightening read that is excellently crafted and hard to put down.”

–Midwest Book Review

Blue Yonders, Grateful Pies and Other Fanciful Feasts (2015)

Blue Yonders, Grateful Pies cover“Scholes’s third Imagination Forest collection (after Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars, and Other Unusual Suspects) continues exploring the limits of speculative fiction in 17 short stories whose genres include playful fantasy and SF as well as edge-of-your-seat suspense. Scholes revels in the offbeat and surreal, marrying otherworldliness with very real human fears and concerns, and his stories are all the richer for it. Curious characters abound, including “The Starship Mechanic,” about an alien mechanic fascinated with the holdings of a San Francisco bookstore, and a cat-woman trying to escape her former owner in “A Chance of Cats and Dogs.” The collection has a distinctive rhythm, with the novella-length standout piece “A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves” bookended by shorter vignettes. Scholes’s work is considerably inventive, and this collection showcases his versatility as a writer.”

— Publisher’s Weekly

“This is a collection of mostly fantasy stories, only two of which I had previously read. One of the things I liked best about this particular selection is that I never knew what to expect from one story to the next. Sometimes they’re realistic, sometimes surrealistic, and mostly somewhere in between. I particularly enjoyed “Annual Dues,” “On the Freedom of Agency and the Finding of Lost Hearts,” and “A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves” were my particular favorites. There are interesting story notes gathered at the end of the book. Scholes has the ability to adopt odd viewpoints that give his stories a very different taste. Fantasy writers are more likely to write novels than in either SF and Fantasy, and when they do write short fiction it is often set in the worlds that they have already created. Scholes invents new and interesting realities for each of his stories, and that makes them exceptional.”

Critical Mass


Lamentation (2009)


“This is the golden age of fantasy, with a dozen masters doing their best work. Then along comes Ken Scholes, with his amazing clarity, power, and invention, and shows us all how it’s done. No more ponderous plotting – Scholes barely gives us time to breathe. Yet he gives us vivid characters, a world thick with detail, and wonders we’ve never seen before. I wish my first novel had been this good. I wish all five volumes of this series were already published so I could read them now.”

— Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender’s Game and The Tales of Alvin Maker

“Scholes’s mesmerizing debut novel, the first installment of the five-volume Psalms of Isaak saga, launches him into the stratosphere of contemporary epic fantasy. Fueled by an impressively serpentine story line that explores deep philosophical issues of knowledge and power, the novel begins with a literal bang: Windwir, “the world’s greatest city” and home of 200,000 people as well as the famed Androfrancine Order and its enormous library, is completely destroyed by a mysterious weapon unleashed by an unknown foe. Left oddly untouched are the Androfrancines’ mechoservitors, one of whom, Isaak, may be the only one who knows what happened and why. Readers will be intrigued by the subtle, adept world building and ensemble cast of brilliantly complex characters, but it’s Scholes’s pure storytelling prowess that makes this tale of devastation and retribution so unforgettable.”

— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Canticle (2009)

canticle hardcover“This sequel to Scholes’s stellar debut, 2008’s Lamentation, ingeniously fuses epic fantasy and postapocalyptic science fiction… Abounding in prophecy, myth, and mystery, this grand-scale saga is a towering storytelling tour de force.”

— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Not only is Scholes a capable world builder, he ably handles the tough task of keeping the series momentum going, intensifying the mystery so deftly that even if readers can’t foresee where the story’s going, it’s clear that the author knows exactly what he’s doing. When does book three come out already?”

— Kirkus, starred review

“Scholes’ journey through the Named Lands continues to fascinate; his characters are top notch and investment in them comes easily. This novel is more technical than the first in the series. Canticle forces the reader to hunker down and dig in along with the characters, all the while keeping the end of the journey in sight.”

— Romantic Times, 4 stars

“In the second Psalms of Isaak volume, civil war rages across the Named Lands… Scholes adds new layers of mystery and intrigue while fleshing out the compelling characters of one of speculative fiction’s most spellbinding new sagas.”

— Booklist

Antiphon (2010)

Antiphon“The third installment of Scholes’s grand-scale Psalms of Isaak saga … expands the genre-blending narrative in glorious style…. A diverse cast of dynamic characters, a tantalizingly labyrinthine mystery, a world full of wonders, and powerful symbolism and imagery power this seamless merging of epic fantasy and science fiction.”

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Scholes continues to show his deft hand at crafting characters, and his penchant for the surprising plot twist is displayed to good effect.”

RT Book Reviews

“One of the most exciting fantasy epics ever. Ken Scholes has laid out a grand strategy game, played out over centuries, in which individual’s entire lives make only miniscule moves on the board. I’ve been hooked since Lamentation and can’t wait to find out what subtle surprises are ahead in books four and five, Requiem and Hymn.”


Requiem (2013)

Requiem“The long-awaited fourth and penultimate installment of the sci-fi/fantasy saga The Psalms of Isaak (Antiphon, 2010, etc.) takes off running and doesn’t stop.  Exciting, dizzying, heartbreaking.”

–Kirkus (starred review)

“Scholes’s worldbuilding in the Psalms of Isaak series is unparalleled, and the intricate details that make up this novel only add to its complexity. Scholes’s fantastic characterization is on full display here….”

–Romantic Times, (four star review)

An entertaining mixture of magical fantasy and postapocalyptic SF, which boasts a highly detailed world and finely drawn characters, this latest chapter finds the fate of the Named Lands, now conquered by the mysterious Crimson Empress, and of Isaak, the artificial man at the center of it all, still very much up in the air. Fans will be clamoring for the series finale.

— Booklist


Hymn (2017)

Hymn is the fifth and final volume of Ken Scholes’ extraordinary epic, The Psalms of Isaak, that gradually transitions from fantasy to SF. If you thought George R. R. Martin was tough on his characters, you have to read Scholes, who takes it to levels that are hard even to imagine….  Don’t miss this superlative series, one of the best in speculative fiction ever.


Scholes’s conclusion to his complex Psalms of Isaak fantasy quintet amply rewards his fans!

Publishers Weekly

Hymn is a worthy ending to The Psalms of Isaak—painful and beautiful, fulfilling and timely, epic and intimate. By its final pages, I was in tears at the prospect of saying goodbye to these characters. But Scholes gives them a fitting sendoff, and they’ve earned their rest. There is an honesty to the pain at the heart of this series, and now, at the end, I can truly say it truly is a beautiful song.

Barnes and Noble



]Last Flight of the Goddess (2006)

Last Flight Cover


“Ken Scholes is one of the better writers you’ve never heard of. Or perhaps you have, if you read small press mags such as Talebones, in which case you may still not know he has a book (admittedly thin) out. It’s Last Flight of the Goddess, and it begins with I shed no tears when I put the torch to my wife….  It is warm and loving, and a very enticing invitation to look at any future item with the Scholes name on it.”

— Analog

“Ken may be our next Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. “Last Flight of the Goddess” was hysterically funny, enjoyable, and touching all at once. Not many writers can pull that off… In addition to being a great read, it’s a pretty book. My bet is that after Ken’s career takes off, it will be a collector’s item.”

—Brenda Cooper, Author of Spear of  Light


METAtropolis:  The Wings We Dare Aspire (with Jay Lake, 2014)


Would you believe that we’ve not been able to track down any “official” reviews of this rather awesome book (a finalist for the Endeavour Award even!) by Jay and Ken?  If you know of a review or are a reviewer, contact us.









If Dragon’s Mass Eve Be Cold and Clear (2019)

“There are common themes in Ken’s work. Of love and faith and a world full of half-understood legends; beliefs dissolving around you. Of people, plunging forward, trying to do the right thing. Of trying to find a way forward, even if we don’t really know if the Santaman will ever come again, and we aren’t quite sure we believe. Of finding hope, where all was lost. If Dragon’s Mass Eve Be Cold And Clear deals with all of these. It is strange and wondrous and compassionate and gorgeous, and I hope you love it, too.”

   —Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin


​”A holiday tale that sweeps you away.  If Dragon’s Mass Be Cold and Clear delivers as sweet a gift as my favorite classic holiday stories. A beautifully rendered exploration of loss and love.”

     —Brenda Cooper, author of Wilders