The Last Vanishing Man

and Other Stories


published by Third Man Books


May 2, 2023

ISBN 979-8986614502

Cover photograph by Julie Hamel

Cover design and layout by Amin Qutteineh

“A combination of wildly post-apocalyptic brutalism and deeply sympathetic studies of people—lost or irreparably harmed by modern life and the punishing ways masculinity is often shaped….By the end of this collection, we can easily answer those questions ‘Who is to blame, though, for destruction? Who is to blame for life?’—we are, of course, every one of us.”

—Yvonne C. Garrett, Brooklyn Rail

“While grim and sad, the stories in The Last Vanishing Man are anything but an exercise in misery. There is a genuine beauty in Cheney’s clear-eyed prose, which immerses you in his world, even if the subject matter is challenging.”

—Ian Mond, Locus

Magic stops. Men vanish. Worlds end.

Life goes on.


The stories in The Last Vanishing Man begin with the end of the world, as a narrator seeks to imagine how the actions of a terrorist ripple through a family. The stories end with a new beginning for an expatriot American living in the melting tundra of Siberia, where all that had vanished now returns. In between, hard-edged realism lives alongside ghost stories and weird tales, lyrical tragedies skip into wild romps, characters of various genders and sexualities get scarred by the wounds of manhood, and bleak futures deliver terror and grace.

With a literary sensibility cut with existential horror, these are stories of characters tormented by unfulfilled desires and unfathomable violence—but also stories of compassion, of community, of humor, and of infinitely queer possibilities beyond the prison of the self.


“Matthew Cheney’s most recent book, The Last Vanishing Man, is first-rate! I can’t—as they say—recommend it highly enough.” 

—Samuel R. Delany

“An unforgettable collection of ghost-haunted memory and blighted futures, in the lives of people from the isolated and quietly paranoid to the criminally insane—brutal and beautiful.”

Franz Nicolay,
musician (The Hold Steady, etc.) and author of The Humorless Ladies of Border Control and Someone Should Pay for Your Pain

“Matthew Cheney’s stories in The Last Vanishing Man are fables of survival and community. His fully relatable characters are up against the same environmental, social, and political problems we all face today. Weird, dark, and wonderful visions and hallucinations from a wholly unique voice.”

—Jeffrey Ford,
World Fantasy, Nebula, Edgar, and Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of A Natural History of Hell

Available from

The publisher, Third Man Books

Barnes & Noble

Wordery International


and your local independent bookseller

distributed by Consortium

“Matthew Cheney’s stories know how to make a boy look around on the subway as if to ask people CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?!”

—Sam J. Miller,
Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Boys, Beasts, and Men