The Desert Places

4.95 14.95

by Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss, illustrated by Matt Kish

The Desert Places is a pocket-sized edition of a hybrid text by Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss that explores the evolution of evil in worlds both seen and unseen and features full-color illustrations by Matt Kish, illustrator of the critically acclaimed Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page.

"Is there no salvation in The Desert Places' world? Light barely glimmers in all the time we track, from the universe's creation until the extinction of the earth; even the best fruits of human civilization are created "as if some god would cease its slaughter to revel in such a fantasy." [...] The book ends in annihilation, but no note of triumph sounds for its protagonist. It's a pyrrhic victory death gains for itself: in sating its eternal hunger, it gets forever lonelier." 
—Daphne Sidor, Gaper's Block

"The collaborative guts of The Desert Places confirms the massiveness of these authors' talents, and the production of the book itself, with Matt Kish's brilliant illustrations, makes this a horrific beauty you'll want to hold against your skin."
—J. A. Tyler, author of Colony Collapse

"The book gets inside your head in the best possible way. It can shift your perspective. In the same way that reading Blindness by José Saramago makes you re-appreciate the gift of sight, The Desert Places can make even the smallest act of kindness seem extraordinary. I can think of no better reason to pick up a copy than that."
—Matt Weinkam, Passages North

"Hip readers already know that much of the best new fiction comes from indie presses. It shouldn’t be a surprise that innovative small presses, such as Chicago’s Curbside Splendor, also have some of the best designs. This pocket-size, illustrated book is a read you’ll remember."

"The Desert Places by Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss, with its illustrations by Matt Kish, is one of the most intriguing, best looking, and overall best releases from an indie press that I’ve read this year. In this case, Curbside Splendor should be loaded up with heaps of praise (but I’m sure they’d settle for just taking your money if you wanted to give it to them) for putting out this little book that takes its cues from the Bible, amplifies the Good Book’s violence and darkness, and then smashes it together with modern times.
—Jason Diamond, Flavorwire

"Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss carve a shifting visage of evil in a gore of vignettes that span ancient history and the star-searching future [...] Evil tells his own tale in ten numbered chapters, slipping through time and mass crimes against humanity [and articulating] the absorption of human culture from myth to philosophy, the gobbling indiscrimination of something worse than a hellhound at his dinner."
—Anna Wilson, New Delta Review

"The prose is lyrically bestial, crimes of harmonic diction by Sparks and Kloss channeled into elegiac carnage [...] Both authors deftly handle religion, myth, and philosophy, juggling them, then ripping apart the old layers, constructing new cities on the corpses of dead ones."
—The Blog of Tieryas

Amber Sparks is the author of May We Shed These Human Bodies, released by Curbside Splendor in 2012. Her work has been widely published in print and online and you can find some of it at or follow her on Twitter @ambernoelle.

Robert Kloss is the author of The Alligators of Abraham. His short fiction has been published in Crazyhorse, Gargoyle, Unsaid, and elsewhere. He can be found online at

Matt Kish is a self-taught artist & author of Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page. You can find him at

HTML Giant
Small Press Book Review
Entropy Magazine
Heavy Feather Review
Green Mountains Review
Necessary Fiction
American Short Fiction

Pages: 88
ISBN: 978-0988480483
Publication Date: November 2013

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