Changing the Subject by Stephen-Paul Martin


ISBN 978-0-9637536-5-6 | Fiction | 204 pages | $14

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Available here and through Small Press Distribution,

your local independent bookstore, Bookazine

and Amazon.

Review on Goodreads.

In Changing the Subject Stephen-Paul Martin once again deforms traditional notions of the story, giving us beautifully digressive revenge-fantasies, his singular and uncanny brand of the shaggy dog yarn, and uproarious moral tales.

Praise for Changing the Subject

In Stephen-Paul Martin’s new book, utterly banal situations are transformed into something extraordinary. His stories are unbirthday presents from the Mad Hatter. He is one of our great deadpan humorists.
—Eric Basso

What’s so transformative in Changing the Subject is Stephen-Paul Martin’s wizard-like range of knowledge–quantum mechanics, semiotics, literary theory, psychology & meditation practice–delivered in a voice unpretentous yet outrageous, scary yet funny, reader-friendly yet beyond category.
—Kirpal Gordon

Marked by subversive wit and philosophical insight, Martin’s prose is ultimately musical in construction, like a fugue for the ruin of time. Here, irony and longing coexist in counterpoint: Martin, a humanist in a posthuman age, is still composing figures of redemption.
—Andrew Joron

Stephen-Paul Martin is North America’s foremost master of the short story. The narrators of Martin’s new stories probe center after elusive center, until we see that it’s not just the subject that’s changing, but also our sense of what it means for a story to have a subject.
—Vernon Frazer


Reviews for Changing the Subject

In this exceedingly clever and mesmerizing collection, Martin guides us through six long stories that each contain numerous other stories, and are themselves also one long, strange fiction… Charmed from the very first sentence, I read this book straight through in a single night, and then reread it as soon as I could. How marvelous to see the story so thoroughly reinvented and reinvigorated! Changing the Subject is so far by far my favorite new book of 2010.
AD Jameson in The Review of Contemporary Fiction


Sometimes what’s right or wrong doesn’t matter. Other times it’s all that matters. Changing the Subject is a collection of short stories from Stephen-Paul Martin as he focuses on the subject of revenge and morality in a collection that will ask the readers many questions… a fascinating read that will certainly prove difficult to put down, highly recommended.
Midwest Book Review

If his new short story collection Changing the Subject has an ambitious title, Stephen-Paul Martin gets away with it. And it’s not only because of his change-ups between eco-terrorism, women with nice teeth, dogs, Macbeth, various assassinations of President Bush, and animated billboards depicting Custer taking Tylenol before his last stand…
KGB Bar Lit Magazine

The six long stories in Stephen-Paul Martin’s outstanding CHANGING THE SUBJECT subtly challenge the conventions of the short story through seemingly simple prose that, in strange often hilarious digressions, knots in a fascinating, surreal, and masterful collection… CHANGING THE SUBJECT is a brilliant book...|
Matthew Kirkpatrick, American Book Review

Changing the Subject doesn’t live up to its title, it consumes it. Though the stories make high use of syntactical or symbolic repetitions, they are also powerfully digressive, hallucinatory.
Bomb Magazine’s Editor’s Choice

As usual, these Martin stories are hilarious, philosophically rich, absorbing, and just plain fun… Martin is developing the ability to make his philosophically complex stories more and more accessible (and that’s a compliment)… He is at the forefront of American storytellers.
—Jefferson Hansen at


Praise for Stephen-Paul Martin

[Stephen-Paul Martin’s] fiction is fresh, breaks new ground, and concedes nothing to conventional literary formulas.
—Ronald Sukenick

Martin spins his arresting tales, tales full of surprises and yet reassuringly “normal.”
—Marjorie Perloff

Stephen-Paul Martin has, for many years, brilliantly wrestled with the problems posed by his own chosen material/experience. Entering his witty contemporary monologues, the reader unravels the great questions: does a person anticipate his or her own actions, as one word in a sentence anticipates the next? Or is an event an explosion of contingencies that arrive fully integrated? “I didn’t expect to become a composer,” he begins one story and this one statement articulates the magnificent and entertaining wrestling match he performs with time and act in each of his beautifully crafted stories.
—Fanny Howe

Read an excerpt


About Stephen-Paul Martin

Stephen-Paul Martin, former editor of Central Park magazine, has published many books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry — including The Possibility of Music (FC2) and Instead of Confusion (Asylum Arts). He is currently a professor of English at San Diego State University.

Available here and through Small Press Distribution,

your local independent bookstore, Bookazine

and Amazon.

Review on Goodreads.