Welcome to Whatworld


Bibliography of
Leslie What's



by Leslie What

introduction by Kate Wilhelm

"These stories are the wonder of an artist mischievous, getting away with what she can to stave of the boring musties. To be admired is the sheer loft of imagination, the deft line sharp as a razor, the insight that slays. Funny, yes, but the kind of funny that sweeps around and tags you from behind. You are laughing and then you are not laughing and then you are reminding yourself to breathe. So these stories, by so irreverent a conjuror, are to be admired for their electricity, their challenge, their seeming helplessness at being other than they are, their absolute high-wire performance."
~ Robert Olmstead fiction judge Ken Kesey Award for Fiction


Finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Award    

Here's what people say about ...
Crazy Love
Wordcraft of Oregon cover art by Jessica Plattner,

cover design by Kristin Summers, redbat design

"...These 17 stories progress from grim to laugh-out-loud  ludicrous without ever derogating their common subject, love, though they do depict it as fairly insane. The opening stories, 'Finger Talk' and 'Babies,' feature women in abusive relationships they don't want to change; that one is trapped in a gorilla suit and the other is, unbeknownst to hubby, carrying sextuplets leavens their dire  circumstances some, but enough? 'The Cost of Doing Business' is about a  professional victim, whose clients must be able to afford her subsequent hospitalizations and quite adequate comfort between jobs. Things lighten up through the predicaments of a man who masturbated for  science when 18 and at 49 discovers he has thousands of offspring, a man who realizes that work doesn't proliferate during vacation without cause, a nauseating senior who expects familial love although he intends to live forever, and others, until at last there is the hermit researcher's tale, from which we learn, through a vale of our own tears of laughter, why there are always hermits. Love is why, of course.  Crazy!" 
~ Ray Olson Booklist starredStarred Review

"How lucky we are that her imagination runs deep, runs true, runs onto the page in crazily beautiful stories - and   lucky, so very lucky, to be holding those stories right now in our hands." 
~ Molly Gloss

"'Queen of Gonzo' What (Olympic Games) drags love out of its gooey, schmaltzy rut and takes it for a joyride in this exuberant collection of 17 stories. 'Finger Talk' is a poignant take on unwanted pregnancy and cavalier men. 'Babies' gives a Kafkaesque touch to a pregnancy that may or may not have been affected by pesticides during the first trimester. 'All My Children' asks whether the provider of a sperm sample is legally responsible for the children that come from its use - and if he is, how does he pay for 10,000 college tuition fees? The 1999 Nebula-winning 'The Cost of Doing Business' posits possibly the most incredible premise in the book: a love for others that is completely selfless and nonjudgmental. No matter how brief or long, no matter how bizarre, each tale in this collection grabs readers and demands they rethink how they see all the myriad forms of love."
~ Publishers Weekly starred
Starred Review

"Pain, joy, self-deception, guilt: these are the places "crazy love" takes us."
~ L. Timmel DuChamp American Book Review

"These seventeen achingly funny and hilariously sad stories will give you invaluable advice on how to love, how to be crazy, how to be human."
~ Ursula K. Le Guin

"She can hook you with just a few words and after that, you're on your own in the emotionally vivid worlds she creates. And for all the pain she wrests from her characters and thrusts in your face, for all the vivid anger and wrenching anguish she puts the reader through, there's a sort of clarity here that's positively cathartic."
~ Rick Kleffel

"Crazy  Love is a collection  of 17 short stories that stop at nothing to convey the limitless possibilities of love and its tremendous potential for both honesty and hilarity."
~Cynthia Reeser New Pages

"Babies" is a blistering allegory of motherhood that fuses together bug exterminators, marital problems and obsessive solicitude in 13 pitch-perfect pages.
~Edward Champion Washington Post

"Leslie What finds a surreal joy in the most awful things that can happen."
 ~ Eileen Gunn

one of the top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year
~ Booklist

Here's what people say about...
 Olympic Games 

"This is a wonderful novel; it may well become a cult classic."
~ Elizabeth Hand,
Fantasy and  Science Fiction 

"This very funny fantasy is especially impressive in the way it turns serious and genuinely moving in  its final pages." 
~ Michael Berry, San  Francisco Chronicle

Why I Wash the Dead

"A  powerful,  lean, direct, taut, sinewy, substantive, holy,  prayerful piece  of work that matters
Brian Doyle

Other Writings 

"Over the past few years I  have been watching Leslie What blossom from a nice little comic talent into a great big scary comic talent.
~ Damon Knight

"Leslie What's  stories  have the power to strike an emotional chord in me, and whether that chord summons tears or laughter it is deeply satisfying."
 ~ Kate Wilhelm

"Things the Mirror Sees does what speculative fiction ought to do;  it provides us with a wonderful piece of alien viewpoint. The true and best piece of speculative fiction is changing the nature or perception by giving us something new or truly marvelous to consider."
Don Webb

"Hera follows Zeus to a bar, watches him hustle a ditzy blonde, transforms herself into a microscopic mite, mates with other mites, transforms the blonde into a bag of marshmallows and makes up with Zeus. This is a story?" 
~ Tangent

"What do you mean you don't like tongue? You loved tongue. You used to eat it all up. Don't tell  stories."
~ Leslie's Mom, 1927-2009. May her memory be for a blessing.

Leslie''s writing has been translated into German, Italian, French,  Japanese, Russian, Greek, and Klingon.


A  normal family out for a walk.  Mask by Leslie What. Knitting by Leslie's mom.

Updated October 20010 Website gltiches? Please tell the site genie.  Contents  copyright 2002-2010 and beyond by Leslie What. All rights reserved, but you can ask.