THE SPEED OF CLOUDS
A deep dive into fandom at the turn of the millennium, and the poignant story of one fan’s evolution toward her own new way of living on Earth.
Mindy Vogel may need a wheelchair to get around, and she may still live with her mother, but she travels easily between star systems as SkyLog officer Kat Wanderer, while carrying on a romance with a strangely compelling cyborg. And she runs a kickass fanzine. But after a split with her own fan club, Mindy starts to lose her bearings, and her mother’s affair with a sleazy comics dealer threatens her home. Faced with so many disruptions, Mindy must reimagine her life on Earth. Set at the moment when fandom went digital, this expansive novel finds room for Buckminster Fuller, the Ghost Dance of the Lakota, and cosmic-themed installation art alongside the fan fiction, Cons and cosplay of fan culture.
Miriam Seidel is a writer, curator, librettist, and longtime sci-fi fan. She wrote the libretto for an opera about the visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, performed in Belgrade, New York, and Philadelphia, and a sci-fi radio play for New American Radio. She’s written about visual arts and performance for Art in America, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications, and her writing has won fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The Speed of Clouds is her first novel.
Fiction, 268 pages
paperback / $18.95 / ISBN 978-0-9995501-0-6
ebook (Kindle format) / $9.95
“The Speed of Clouds is a heartbreaking yet uplifting exploration of fandom, of universal truths revealed by imaginary universes, and of the astonishing power of human invention and reinvention.”
—Jon McGoran, author of Spliced and Drift
“The Speed of Clouds is a love letter to fandom and to embracing geeky passions—whether it’s collectibles, science fiction, music, art, architecture, or web design. Seidel balances Mindy’s day-to-day life with excerpts from her fan fiction, and the fan fiction she receives as editor of her new online venture. The two worlds inform and enrich each other, adding depth to the characters through their inner lives.… The Speed of Clouds also shines in its characters, especially Mindy who is allowed to be flawed, and in her own words 'bitchy'. She’s a fully-rounded human being, pushing away her friends and family without losing them, experiencing self-doubt, but managing to fight through it, and taking control of her body through her decisions about her health, mobility, and her sexuality. It’s a poignant novel, and as a debut, leaves me eager to see what Seidel does next.”
—A.C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling and Hooked, in the column "Women to Read: April 2018," The Book Smugglers
“The Speed of Clouds is a compelling read for many reasons. First, the characters themselves are treated as complex individuals. No one falls into tropes or stereotypes, and the diversity present transcends boundaries of class, ability, race, and sexual orientation.… Because the characters are so well-written and come across as fully formed people, The Speed of Clouds is able to address themes of community, acceptance, and openness with the depth these themes deserve.… Overall, this is a fantastic read with characters who will make you cheer and hurt for them, a plot that delivers, and strong depth of feeling all the way through.”
—Jaclyn M Brown in The Coil
“The Speed of Clouds celebrates a time when zines were stapled at the center, websites were innovations, and most of all, fandom was far from virtual. The novel is spot-on about how understanding the dynamics of a show like SkyLog offers a way to understand the even-more-elusive dynamics of adult life. Most of all, in Mindy, Seidel has created a heroine who pushes through her personal and physical obstacles, and surprises both the reader and herself.”
—Simone Zelitch, author of Judenstaat and Louisa
“Mindy gets A+ for character development. Also getting an A+? The author, for somehow wrapping up fandoms, Buckminster Fuller, art shows, and the Indian Ghost Dance interestingly, all in 268 pages.”
—Shruti Ramanujam in This Is Lit
“It's refreshing to hear a story told from a group of people who sometimes fall under the radar. Mindy and her friends can be found at Comic Cons, arguing about fictional characters, and obsessing over a fantasy world. I would recommend this book to both lovers of science fiction and regular fiction.”
—Brittany Loeffler at Hidden River Arts
“Through Mindy’s ‘SkyLog’ fanzine and related emails, Seidel evokes Star Trek fandom around the turn of the millennium, but also creates a new and compelling science fictional universe, similar to what Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl does for the Harry Potter fandom with ‘Simon Snow.’… The Speed of Clouds is recommended to fans of all types, especially female sf fans, audiences with visible and invisible disabilities, and anyone who’s ever imagined a geodesic gym might be a beacon toward your real home.”
—Space Station Mir
“Witty, poignant, and inspirational.”
—Lit Amri, Readers’ Favorite