Lanternfish Press

Rare & Strange


The City of Folding Faces
By Jayinee Base

Jayinee Basu's The City of Folding Faces enfolds you like a simulation, a hallucinatory glossolalia of futurist poetry evoking a world where the uneasy confluence of technology, art and capitalism pulls reality into new and unfamiliar shapes. Like Basu's characters, we glimpse that endlessly morphing shape with both wonder and unease, as it swarms with reflections of our own absurdist present.

— Indrapramit Das, author of The Devourers


FICTION / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
Print ISBN: 978-1-941360-26-2
162 Pages • $12.00 Paperback • $4.99 EPUB
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Publicity Contact: Feliza Casano

“After returning from the system, each morning Mara forgot who she had been the day before. Every day showed her a new world.”

At the mysterious research facility known only as the Casino, anyone can play Roulette— but it’s not a game for the faint of heart. Those who upload themselves into the system expand their consciousness far beyond natural human limits. But when they return to their bodies and the everyday world, they struggle to function, finding their memories, their speech, and even their dreams changed beyond recognition.

Like many who have played Roulette and fallen into a state of profound dimensional dysphoria, Mara chooses to undergo a cutting-edge body-modification surgery, which by changing the very structure of her face promises to give her a language for expressing the inexpressible. And so she joins a growing subculture: the Ruga, who thanks to the surgery can communicate with each other through infinite permutations of facial colorations and wrinkles. Among themselves, the Ruga can express with satisfying clarity the way they now experience the world—with the side effect that they are increasingly cut off from the rest of humanity.

But Mara still wants to communicate her experience to the non-Ruga people who matter most to her, especially her boyfriend, Arlo. As she feels him slipping away, she undertakes radical changes in her life in order to hold on. It is through her struggle to remain connected to him that she at last discovers a way to adapt, living with a divergent psyche in a linear world.

Photo credit: Sarah Kamshoshy

Photo credit: Sarah Kamshoshy

About the Author

Born in Kolkata and based in Oakland, Jayinee Basu is the author of a book of poems entitled Asuras (Civil Coping Mechanisms 2014). She has written about art, illness, and science for a variety of publications, and her work has been translated into Spanish and Bengali. She has aided research on neurodegenerative disorders and traumatic brain injury, and is currently a second-year medical student at Touro University in Vallejo, CA.


Talking Points for Booksellers & Librarians

  • Great next read for fans of Ted Chiang or Lidia Yuknavitch

  • Combines hard science fiction with emotional depth

Praise for The City of Folding Faces

“This weird but fulfilling voyage through an altered mind is just the right length to leave readers satisfied.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“This is a sometimes challenging but ultimately fascinating return to classic cyberpunk that William Gibson aficionados will love.”

—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI for Library Journal