An essential Anders treasury.

EVEN GREATER MISTAKES

STORIES

Novelist Anders showcases the roots of her fiction with this wide-ranging set of short stories.

Although there are no stories original to this collection, there are plenty of delights for Anders' fans and those new to her writing, including the darkly frenetic, apocalyptic novella Rock Manning Goes for Broke (published as a stand-alone in 2018) and stories set in the worlds of her novels All the Birds in the Sky (2016) and The City in the Middle of the Night (2019). The mood of these works runs the gamut from the outrageously silly (the title “Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie” tells you almost everything you need to know except for the climactic karaoke battle) to exuberant (unearthly beings fulfill a lonely trans girl’s wish in an unexpected and beautiful way in “The Visitmothers”) to mournful tinged with hope (“Rat Catcher’s Yellows” concerns an online adventure game providing an unusual outlet for people suffering from early-onset dementia) to depressed and angrily frustrated (“Ghost Champagne” features an aspiring comedian haunted by her own ghost) to utterly wrenching (a trans woman resists a puritanical corporation’s gruesomely invasive attempt to “fix” her in “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue,” which was also selected for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018). Anders also explores the relationships of (literally) out-of-sync couples, such as in the Hugo Award–winning novelette Six Months, Three Days, in which the two psychic participants have diametrically and tragically opposed ways of seeing the future, and “Power Couple,” in which two ambitious people believe cryonics will help them balance their personal and professional lives. Some stories seem to be sheer “what-if” exercises—always a fruitful jumping-off point for SF—but the fully developed characters who carry out these thought experiments prevent these tales from becoming clinical, as they might in the hands of other writers.

An essential Anders treasury.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76650-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

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THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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