cover image When the World Wounds

When the World Wounds

Kiini Ibura Salaam. Third Man, $15.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-0-9913361-5-9

The second collection from Tiptree Award–winner Salaam (after Ancient, Ancient) assembles five speculative fiction short stories and a novella that explore themes of freedom and the challenge of coming to terms with foreign lives and alien worlds. The skillfully done second-person point of view of “The Malady of Need” emphasizes the protagonist’s double entrapment by prison and a very personal obsession. Salaam captures the intensity of alien perspectives and desires within the unfamiliar worlds of “The Taming.” “The Pull of the Wing,” a prequel to Salaam’s Of Wings, Nectar, and Ancestors trilogy, captures the ambition of youth even in the face of harsh punishment. The powerful “Hemmie’s Calenture” and “Volcano Woman” delineate a woman’s quest for freedom and exalt in the discovery of one’s personal strength and power. No less intense for its greater length, “Because of the Bone Man” finds supernatural forces gathering to save a city amid the chaos of post-Katrina New Orleans (Salaam’s home town). These passionate stories of personal revelation, rebellion, and discovery celebrate strong-minded, determined characters and the search for independence in worlds that offer no easy way forward. (Nov.)