Unseaming

Mythic Delirium Books
2
Free sample

2014 Shirley Jackson Award finalist for best collection

2015 Chesley Award finalist for best cover

Mike Allen has put together a first class collection of horror and dark fantasy. Unseaming burns bright as hell among its peers.
--Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

Allen's stories deliver solid shivering terror tinged with melancholy sorrow over the fragility of humankind.
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

The stories ... range from the sly to the splatteringly horrific, with every nuance of dread and menace in between.
--Library Journal, starred review

Everyone in the world awakens covered in blood-and no one knows where the blood came from. A childhood doll arrives to tear its owner's reality limb from limb. A portal to the spirit realm stretches wide on the Appalachian Trail, and something more than human crawls through on eight legs. Words of comfort change to terrifying sounds as a force from outside time speaks through them. The buttons in the bin will unseam your flesh to bare your nastiest secrets.

Opening with "The Button Bin," a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story, and culminating with its sequel, "The Quiltmaker," which Bram Stoker Award and Shirley Jackson Award winner Laird Barron has hailed as Mike Allen's masterpiece, this debut collection gathers fourteen horror tales that, in the words of Barron's introduction, "rival anything committed to paper by the likes of contemporary masters such as Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, or Caitlín Kiernan. This is raw, visceral, and sometimes bloody stuff. Primal stuff."

More praise for Unseaming:

Throughout Unseaming, reality is usually in bad shape right from the start-and from there things proceed to go downhill. Such is the general background and trajectory of life in Mike Allen's fictional world. More could be said, of course, but there's one thing that I feel especially urged to say: these stories are fun. Not "good" fun, and certainly not "good clean" fun. They are too unnerving for those modifiers, too serious, like laughter in the dark-unnerving, serious laughter that leads you through Mr. Allen's funhouse. The reality in there is also in bad shape, deliberately so, just for the seriously unnerving fun of it. The prose is poetic, except it's nonsense poetry, the poetry of deteriorating realities, intermingling realities, realities without Reality. And all the while that unnerving, serious laughter keeps getting louder and louder. Are we having fun yet?
 --Thomas Ligotti, author of Teatro Grottesco and The Spectral Link

Allen can write as lyrically and as viscerally as the best of them ... an exceptional debut collection.
--Locus

Mike Allen's Unseaming confirms his status as a poet who writes in dread and awe rather than ink. His most recurrent themes are those of wrenching loss and transformative retribution, with a liberal helping of the literal fear of God(s); sowing out a hundred different apocalypses, personal and otherwise, these stories reap an unforgettable crop of nightmares, sketching a chimeric universe in which shape-changing is less a rumour or an option than a sad, simple inevitability. Not to be missed.
--Gemma Files, author of We Will All Go Down Together

Mike Allen blends a poet's attention to language with a crime reporter's instinct for the darker precincts of human behavior...These stories glow with demonic energy, and what they illuminate are the faces of our secret selves, screaming back at us from the mirror's depths.
--John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

 Offbeat, gruesome conceits and expert delivery.
--Asimov's Science Fiction

One of the most original practitioners of the body horror subgenre since Clive Barker's Books of Blood.
--Rue Morgue 

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About the author

 Mike Allen edits the critically-acclaimed anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the long-running magazine Mythic Delirium. His books include post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto and career-spanning poetry collection Hungry Constellations. To learn about upcoming book releases and projects, sign up for his newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/abattoir-memos.

Publishers Weekly and Library Journal gave starred reviews to his first collection of short fiction, Unseaming. Laird Barron wrote in the book's introduction that the stories in Unseaming "rival anything committed to paper by the likes of contemporary masters such as Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, or Caitlín Kiernan." Helen Marshall called Mike's second collection, The Spider Tapestries, "a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy."

More of Mike's stories have popped up in places like Weird Tales, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthologies Cthulhu's Reign, Solaris Rising 2, A Darke Phantastique and Tomorrow's Cthulhu. His poetry has won the Rhysling Award three times, and his fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award.

By day he works as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he lives with his wife Anita, a goofy dog, and two cats with varying degrees of psychosis. You can follow Mike's exploits as a writer at descentintolight.com, as an editor at mythicdelirium.com, and all at once on Twitter at @mythicdelirium.

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Reviews

5.0
2 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Mythic Delirium Books
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Published on
Oct 7, 2014
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Pages
222
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Fiction / Ghost
Fiction / Horror
Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Mike Allen
“Some very black magic indeed... A prize for the multitude of fans who relish strong Grand Guignol with their sword and sorcery.”
—Tanith Lee

“A dark, luscious feast of a book... Allen has created a fantastic world of fantasy and horror like a Bosch painting, like a Shostakovitch symphony—something out of a beautiful nightmare.”
—R.S. Belcher

“Exploding with magic, music, and violence, this short novel has the magical feel of an old school suspenseful fantasy adventure as filtered through the eyes of H.R. Giger.”
—Little Red Reviewer

The Red Empress is the only home Erzelle has known since the day her family was lured aboard and murdered, victims of a grisly ritual meant to make the elite immortal. Erzelle plays her harp for the diners inside this ghoul-infested riverboat, knowing her own death looms, escaping through the music that’s all she has left of her parents.

Her nightmare’s upended in the space of a day by the arrival of Olyssa, a fellow musician, but so much more.

Erzelle is swept up in Olyssa’s quest to find her ensorcelled sister Lilla, a journey across a mutated landscape that leads them to an enemy responsible for the deaths of millions. To stop the slaughter of countless more, the pair has no choice but to draw on the deadly magics that reshaped the world ... a power that’s as dangerous to its wielders as it is to its foes, one that’s killing Erzelle even as she fights to control it.

Cover art by Lauren K. Cannon, http://navate.com/

 

Mike Allen
“Mike Allen will infect your subconscious with hallucinatory and alarming delight. This book is a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy.”
—Helen Marshall, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Gifts for the One who Comes After

The Spider Tapestries, Mike Allen’s sophomore short story collection, takes a wrecking ball to genre boundaries, showcasing seven stories that mix transhuman noir, Lovecraftian horror, and surrealistic sorcery in an exploration of the further reaches of the Weird. Readers who savored the disorienting strangeness in Allen’s debut collection Unseaming, a Shirley Jackson Award finalist and Amazon.com horror fiction bestseller, will find The Spider Tapestries begins where Unseaming left off.

As Nicole Kornher-Stace, author of Archivist Wasp, explains in her introduction, “Allen outdoes himself even further, borrowing and synthesizing across genres with gleeful abandon....This results in stories like ‘Twa Sisters,’ with an atmosphere and setting as if Heironymous Bosch had been brought in as a consultant on Blade Runner. Or ‘Sleepless, Burning Life,’ which, with simultaneous nods to steampunk and metaphysics, explores and upends the familiar trope of Mortal Chosen by the Gods.”

More praise for The Spider Tapestries
“Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection... Allen’s pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder.”
­— Publishers Weekly

“The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs ... Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images.”
­— Library Journal

“The aptly named Spider Tapestries forms a stunning picture that is equal parts darkness and light . . . a whirlwind tour through worlds of decadent fantasy, noir-touched future-weird, and elegant horror. Mike Allen offers up intricate mythologies that feel real and lived in, rich-detailed stories for readers to immerse themselves in, and from which they will emerge changed. The stories feel epic in scope, from an assassin climbing through the clockwork gears of the world to rescue a goddess in a cage, to an AI moving through bodies and networks to gather up and reassemble the pieces of his lost love. Allen takes readers on a journey through years and worlds, all in the space of a few pages.”
—A.C. Wise, author of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again

“There was a time before the marketplace sliced our wild fantastic literature into bite sized chunks, a time when visions could be astounding, amazing, and weird all at once, a time when Clark Ashton Smith could mainline a Thousand and One Nights into million-colored suns. Now comes Mike Allen, shredding raw that scar-woven shroud between then, now, and infinity, releasing hallucinatory torrents of jewel-encrusted erotic transhumanism with the intensity of a quasar and stripping bare the secret wheels and cogs of the universe beside those lovers who would destroy them.”
—Scott Nicolay, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Do You Like to Look at Monsters?

“Mike Allen, among the most dynamic of contemporary fantasists, habitually upends Lovecraftian tropes with his own brand of cosmic horror.”
—Laird Barron, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of X’s for Eyes

Mike Allen
“The poems in Mike Allen’s latest book, Hungry Constellations, make a rowdy, red-tinged tapestry, representing twenty years of work from one of the major creative forces in this genre. These poems are physical, expansive, and revolutionary. They are grand and dystopic. They seethe with the conflict of opposites. Allen likes the destructive side of creation as much as the emergent side ... He writes about stars and legends and human beings contending with the monster-filled and glorious cosmos. He does it all with a relentless, energetic style, full of thought and invention.”
—Star*Line

The mutants of Wonderland threaten to smash through the looking glass as the river of Time overflows its banks. The King of Cats and the Queen of Wolves dance a duet across eons, alternately foes and lovers. Monstrous constellations come to life in the sky, hungry for people-filled worlds.

Hungry Constellations, the newest poetry collection from Nebula Award finalist and three-time Rhysling Award winner Mike Allen, surveys two decades of mind-bending verse. Editor Dominik Parisien starts with poems drawn from Allen’s previous book-length collections, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead (2006) and The Journey to Kailash (2008), then concludes the triptych with a selection of new and previously uncollected pieces, which author, poet and editor Amal El-Mohtar calls Allen’s most ambitious work to date in her introduction. Cover artist Paula Arwen Friedlander (arwendesigns.net) adroitly illustrates the collection’s Rhysling Award-nominated title poem.

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Hungry Constellations is Allen’s first poetry collection available in digital format.

From the introduction by Amal El-Mohtar:

“Let me tell you about Mike Allen’s poetry. This is a man who delights in breaking bodies: butchering, splitting, flaying, dismembering, then seeding landscapes with viscera until they too become bodies—bodies invaded, bodies stuffed, bodies contaminated. This is a man who carves words into and out of bodies, be they skin or sapphire, corpses or constellations. But somehow Allen skirts gore and clinical detachment both: there is a precision and an economy to his horror that’s reminiscent of clockwork, architecture, astronomy. Imagine a clock with bone-gears, a skin-tree growing liver-fruit, a ship knifing a face into the moon, and you’ll have something of a sense of what lies before you … Subterranean in conception and galactic in execution, this is a book of monsters.”

Praise for Mike Allen's poetry:

“Allen’s is poetry for goths of all ages … There is a long tradition of poetry dealing with the uncanny—think Keats’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ or Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’—and it’s nice to see someone putting it to such use again. Allen’s poems … do a fine job of making the human scary and the scary human.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Mike Allen pours everything he’s got onto his poem-canvases. Mythologies, science-fiction scenarios, private memories and desires, and untestable ideas crowd and overlay one another upon the pages as if flung from an overloaded brush. Here is a vividly vertiginous collection of poems, all fun and mind-games.”
—Fred Chappell

“Mike Allen is a poetic Shiva, whirling his thousand limbs to snatch gold from thin air and create these epics-in-miniature, each with its own metallic sheen.”
—Catherynne M. Valente

“In the great tradition of Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin, Mike Allen shows us how science fiction poetry can do what all first-rate poetry does—rouse the imagination to venture into darkness and the unknown, there to discover old truths and new delights.”
—R.H.W. Dillard

 

Mike Allen
Communication research is evolving and changing in a world of online journals, open-access, and new ways of obtaining data and conducting experiments via the Internet. Although there are generic encyclopedias describing basic social science research methodologies in general, until now there has been no comprehensive A-to-Z reference work exploring methods specific to communication and media studies. Our entries, authored by key figures in the field, focus on special considerations when applied specifically to communication research, accompanied by engaging examples from the literature of communication, journalism, and media studies. Entries cover every step of the research process, from the creative development of research topics and questions to literature reviews, selection of best methods (whether quantitative, qualitative, or mixed) for analyzing research results and publishing research findings, whether in traditional media or via new media outlets. In addition to expected entries covering the basics of theories and methods traditionally used in communication research, other entries discuss important trends influencing the future of that research, including contemporary practical issues students will face in communication professions, the influences of globalization on research, use of new recording technologies in fieldwork, and the challenges and opportunities related to studying online multi-media environments. Email, texting, cellphone video, and blogging are shown not only as topics of research but also as means of collecting and analyzing data. Still other entries delve into considerations of accountability, copyright, confidentiality, data ownership and security, privacy, and other aspects of conducting an ethical research program.

Features:

652 signed entries are contained in an authoritative work spanning four volumes available in choice of electronic or print formats. Although organized A-to-Z, front matter includes a Reader’s Guide grouping entries thematically to help students interested in a specific aspect of communication research to more easily locate directly related entries. Back matter includes a Chronology of the development of the field of communication research; a Resource Guide to classic books, journals, and associations; a Glossary introducing the terminology of the field; and a detailed Index. Entries conclude with References/Further Readings and Cross-References to related entries to guide students further in their research journeys. The Index, Reader’s Guide themes, and Cross-References combine to provide robust search-and-browse in the e-version.
Tara M. Emmers-Sommer
This book focuses on safer sex discussion and practice in close, personal relationships, emphasizing research on individuals in personal relationship types that are experiencing a rise in HIV infection and AIDS. Moving beyond studies of gay adult males and IV drug-users, this work paints a clear picture of the very real risk that exists for these less-studied, more general populations, so individuals may better personalize the risk and engage in more preventative measures. Authors Tara M. Emmers-Sommer and Mike Allen examine issues surrounding safer sex, utilizing research that focuses on how individuals struggle with personalizing the HIV and AIDS risk and how they cope with safer sex issues.

Safer Sex in Personal Relationships takes readers on a journey through a variety of close relationship types. It begins by highlighting awareness to the global enormity of HIV and AIDS and providing a link between the global and personal, and the need to make HIV and AIDS awareness part of everyday talk and personal relationship structure. It then focuses on:
*safer sex in close relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual;
*marital relationships and the importance of safe sex discussion and awareness in marriages;
*HIV and AIDS from a multicultural perspective;
*HIV and AIDS in aged populations; and
*increasing awareness, understanding, and compassion of those living with HIV and AIDS.

This book will appeal to scholars and students concerned with HIV and AIDS in personal relationships. It will be an invaluable text for courses on interpersonal communication and relationships; family, marital, human sexuality, sex and gender, gay and lesbian relationships, and sexual education; and relational conflict across communication, psychology, and sociology disciplines.
Mike Allen
“Some very black magic indeed... A prize for the multitude of fans who relish strong Grand Guignol with their sword and sorcery.”
—Tanith Lee

“A dark, luscious feast of a book... Allen has created a fantastic world of fantasy and horror like a Bosch painting, like a Shostakovitch symphony—something out of a beautiful nightmare.”
—R.S. Belcher

“Exploding with magic, music, and violence, this short novel has the magical feel of an old school suspenseful fantasy adventure as filtered through the eyes of H.R. Giger.”
—Little Red Reviewer

The Red Empress is the only home Erzelle has known since the day her family was lured aboard and murdered, victims of a grisly ritual meant to make the elite immortal. Erzelle plays her harp for the diners inside this ghoul-infested riverboat, knowing her own death looms, escaping through the music that’s all she has left of her parents.

Her nightmare’s upended in the space of a day by the arrival of Olyssa, a fellow musician, but so much more.

Erzelle is swept up in Olyssa’s quest to find her ensorcelled sister Lilla, a journey across a mutated landscape that leads them to an enemy responsible for the deaths of millions. To stop the slaughter of countless more, the pair has no choice but to draw on the deadly magics that reshaped the world ... a power that’s as dangerous to its wielders as it is to its foes, one that’s killing Erzelle even as she fights to control it.

Cover art by Lauren K. Cannon, http://navate.com/

 

Mike Allen
“Mike Allen will infect your subconscious with hallucinatory and alarming delight. This book is a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy.”
—Helen Marshall, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Gifts for the One who Comes After

The Spider Tapestries, Mike Allen’s sophomore short story collection, takes a wrecking ball to genre boundaries, showcasing seven stories that mix transhuman noir, Lovecraftian horror, and surrealistic sorcery in an exploration of the further reaches of the Weird. Readers who savored the disorienting strangeness in Allen’s debut collection Unseaming, a Shirley Jackson Award finalist and Amazon.com horror fiction bestseller, will find The Spider Tapestries begins where Unseaming left off.

As Nicole Kornher-Stace, author of Archivist Wasp, explains in her introduction, “Allen outdoes himself even further, borrowing and synthesizing across genres with gleeful abandon....This results in stories like ‘Twa Sisters,’ with an atmosphere and setting as if Heironymous Bosch had been brought in as a consultant on Blade Runner. Or ‘Sleepless, Burning Life,’ which, with simultaneous nods to steampunk and metaphysics, explores and upends the familiar trope of Mortal Chosen by the Gods.”

More praise for The Spider Tapestries
“Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection... Allen’s pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder.”
­— Publishers Weekly

“The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs ... Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images.”
­— Library Journal

“The aptly named Spider Tapestries forms a stunning picture that is equal parts darkness and light . . . a whirlwind tour through worlds of decadent fantasy, noir-touched future-weird, and elegant horror. Mike Allen offers up intricate mythologies that feel real and lived in, rich-detailed stories for readers to immerse themselves in, and from which they will emerge changed. The stories feel epic in scope, from an assassin climbing through the clockwork gears of the world to rescue a goddess in a cage, to an AI moving through bodies and networks to gather up and reassemble the pieces of his lost love. Allen takes readers on a journey through years and worlds, all in the space of a few pages.”
—A.C. Wise, author of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again

“There was a time before the marketplace sliced our wild fantastic literature into bite sized chunks, a time when visions could be astounding, amazing, and weird all at once, a time when Clark Ashton Smith could mainline a Thousand and One Nights into million-colored suns. Now comes Mike Allen, shredding raw that scar-woven shroud between then, now, and infinity, releasing hallucinatory torrents of jewel-encrusted erotic transhumanism with the intensity of a quasar and stripping bare the secret wheels and cogs of the universe beside those lovers who would destroy them.”
—Scott Nicolay, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Do You Like to Look at Monsters?

“Mike Allen, among the most dynamic of contemporary fantasists, habitually upends Lovecraftian tropes with his own brand of cosmic horror.”
—Laird Barron, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of X’s for Eyes

Mike Allen
“The poems in Mike Allen’s latest book, Hungry Constellations, make a rowdy, red-tinged tapestry, representing twenty years of work from one of the major creative forces in this genre. These poems are physical, expansive, and revolutionary. They are grand and dystopic. They seethe with the conflict of opposites. Allen likes the destructive side of creation as much as the emergent side ... He writes about stars and legends and human beings contending with the monster-filled and glorious cosmos. He does it all with a relentless, energetic style, full of thought and invention.”
—Star*Line

The mutants of Wonderland threaten to smash through the looking glass as the river of Time overflows its banks. The King of Cats and the Queen of Wolves dance a duet across eons, alternately foes and lovers. Monstrous constellations come to life in the sky, hungry for people-filled worlds.

Hungry Constellations, the newest poetry collection from Nebula Award finalist and three-time Rhysling Award winner Mike Allen, surveys two decades of mind-bending verse. Editor Dominik Parisien starts with poems drawn from Allen’s previous book-length collections, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead (2006) and The Journey to Kailash (2008), then concludes the triptych with a selection of new and previously uncollected pieces, which author, poet and editor Amal El-Mohtar calls Allen’s most ambitious work to date in her introduction. Cover artist Paula Arwen Friedlander (arwendesigns.net) adroitly illustrates the collection’s Rhysling Award-nominated title poem.

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Hungry Constellations is Allen’s first poetry collection available in digital format.

From the introduction by Amal El-Mohtar:

“Let me tell you about Mike Allen’s poetry. This is a man who delights in breaking bodies: butchering, splitting, flaying, dismembering, then seeding landscapes with viscera until they too become bodies—bodies invaded, bodies stuffed, bodies contaminated. This is a man who carves words into and out of bodies, be they skin or sapphire, corpses or constellations. But somehow Allen skirts gore and clinical detachment both: there is a precision and an economy to his horror that’s reminiscent of clockwork, architecture, astronomy. Imagine a clock with bone-gears, a skin-tree growing liver-fruit, a ship knifing a face into the moon, and you’ll have something of a sense of what lies before you … Subterranean in conception and galactic in execution, this is a book of monsters.”

Praise for Mike Allen's poetry:

“Allen’s is poetry for goths of all ages … There is a long tradition of poetry dealing with the uncanny—think Keats’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ or Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’—and it’s nice to see someone putting it to such use again. Allen’s poems … do a fine job of making the human scary and the scary human.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Mike Allen pours everything he’s got onto his poem-canvases. Mythologies, science-fiction scenarios, private memories and desires, and untestable ideas crowd and overlay one another upon the pages as if flung from an overloaded brush. Here is a vividly vertiginous collection of poems, all fun and mind-games.”
—Fred Chappell

“Mike Allen is a poetic Shiva, whirling his thousand limbs to snatch gold from thin air and create these epics-in-miniature, each with its own metallic sheen.”
—Catherynne M. Valente

“In the great tradition of Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin, Mike Allen shows us how science fiction poetry can do what all first-rate poetry does—rouse the imagination to venture into darkness and the unknown, there to discover old truths and new delights.”
—R.H.W. Dillard

 

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