The Mountain & The Vortex and Other Tales, by Stephen T. Vessels“Vessels seems to have distilled the essence of Dunsany, Lovecraft, Zelazny, other influences I cannot identify, and certainly something of himself, to produce a brandy the gods would savour.”

— Chris Wozny,
The Nameless Zine

“Stephen Vessels is one of those rare artists who effortlessly—or so it appears—cruises through genres, equally comfortable in science fiction, dark fantasy, and his own brand of emotionally-charged weirdness. He skates gracefully on the thin ices of genius in this superb collection.”

— Elizabeth Engstrom,
Author of The Northwoods Chronicles
and Baggage Check

“The Mountain and The Vortex is a tour-de-force of the imagination, and a book of many worlds: some scary, all wondrous, all original. Exotic and intensely human, these stories will stay with you and leave you waiting eagerly for Stephen Vessels’ next book.”

— Lorelei Armstrong,
Author of In The Face

From his portrayal of the consuming isolation of a teacher’s power in ‘The Burning Professor’ to the payment of a ghostly father’s debts in ‘Doloroso,’ I was enthralled by Stephen Vessel’ debut collection of sometimes surreal, sometimes hyper-real, and sometimes purely mystical, mythical tales.

— Eric M. Witchey,
Author of Beyond The Serpent’s Heart,
To Build A Boat Listen To Trees,
and Bull’s Labyrinth

Twelve Stories of dark futures and odd imaginings
to catch your breath and unhinge your mind.


About The BookAbout The AuthorAbout The Art
The Mountain & The Vortex and Other Tales is a collection of eleven short stories and a novella that range in genre from science fiction and dark fantasy to amalgams difficult to label. The title novella weaves a postmodern Western with Science Fiction and fantasy into a romantic adventure reminiscent of a monomyth. Included also are the Thriller Award nominated ghost story “Doloroso,” and “Lighter Than Air,” a grim tale of transcendence that received the Best Fiction Award from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Accompanying the stories are illustrations by Jean “Mœbius” Giraud, Alan M. Clark, Steven C. Gilberts, Cheryl Owen-Wilson and the author.
Stephen T. Vessels is a Thriller Award nominated author of SF, dark fantasy and cross-genre fiction. His stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and collections from Grey Matter Press and ShadowSpinners Press. His story collection, The Mountain & The Vortex and Other Tales, was released in 2016 by Muse Harbor Publishing.


Fifteen illustrations were created for the book – one for each short story, five in total for the titular novella, and a frontispiece by the author. In addition, “No Night, No Need of Candle,” the first story in the collection, is accompanied by a never-before-published piece by Jean Giraud Mœbius, which was gifted to the author by the artist for the original publication of that story in 1987. The other illustrations were created by Alan M. Clark, Steven C. Gilberts, and Cheryl Owen-Wilson. The hardcover edition contains an additional illustration by Alan M. Clark. The pieces on the front and back covers are original work by the author.