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A Provocative Story for the Eyes, Ears, and Imagination

Cast off into the clouds to experience the conflict between the power of love and the love of power.

“Powerful and complex.”
Library Journal

About Balcony of Fog

What kind of perspective might we need to recognize, and accept, our irreconcilable desires for harmony and power?

In a storm-ravaged corner of post-nuclear America, Arden is left for dead after a brutal beating from his superior. On waking, he encounters Estra, a lost woman of mysterious origin, whom he smuggles into his cell. Desperate, and now in love, the two resolve to escape to the place from which Estra has come—the cloud realm.

Together, they ascend to the skies and make their home on a vacant cumulus, where Estra initiates Arden into the ways of the vaporous world. On the horizon looms a thunderhead, growing larger and more monstrous as it consumes the clouds in its path. The thunderhead is following them, and Estra knows and fears the man driving it.

As the hidden truths of Estra’s past emerge, Arden despairs, then—with Estra’s encouragement and guidance—determines to fight back.

Mixing the sublimity of fair-weather skies with the nightmarish violence of electric storms, Balcony of Fog illuminates the tension between the power of love and the love of power.

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About the Book
A Q&A with Rich Shapero

Balcony of Fog by Rich Shapero

Q: Balcony of Fog begins in a post-nuclear world in which society is starkly stratified between those who have power and those who don’t. Arden is in the latter camp. He’s a “toiler.” Is this you?

RS: When I was a teenager, I worked on an assembly line at a missile factory and as a busboy in a restaurant. I left home when I was seventeen, and I was penniless. I managed to get a college education, but I entered the working world doing toiling jobs—digging ditches, running printing presses and so on. People have always struggled to improve their position in life, and they’ve always been sensitive to who is “above” them. I lived through that.

More About the Book

About the Videos
A Q&A with Rich Shapero

Q: Your past multimedia stories have fused book, music and art, but Balcony of Fog features book and video. Why the change?

RS: The great virtue of being independent is that we can run whatever experiments we like, and this seemed like a compelling one. A complex story is an intersection of different ideas. The videos are meant to stimulate the reader’s thinking by surfacing the ideas overtly, outside the story itself. I love the fact that, under other circumstances, many of the ideas would have no relation to each other, but in the context of Balcony of Fog, they have some coherence. We hope readers will find the approach thought-provoking.

Watch the Videos