In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World

Edited by Douglas Lain. Skyhorse/Night Shade, $15.99 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-59780-839-2
In this emotionally charged anthology of 18 stories and novel excerpts inspired by the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the smoldering rubble of ground zero suffuses the landscape like an unreal movie special effect. In James Morrow’s “Apologue,” written in 2001, cinema monsters apologize for the actual monsters. Ghosts both historic and contemporary roam the streets, allowed access because, as Richard Bowes observes, “There’s a Hole in the City.” In a curious inversion, it is the dead who plead for forgiveness in Susan Palwick’s “Beautiful Stuff,” a meditation on life’s simple pleasures, while Tim Marquitz describes how the living seek “Retribution.” The tragedy echoes across universes, affecting multiple versions of George W. Bush in Jeff VanderMeer’s “The Goat Variations” and fictitious radio reporter Sylvia Aloli covering the commemorations of a Celtic attack on Egypt in K. Tempest Bradford’s “Until Forgiveness Comes.” What echo loudest are the changes of post-9/11 life, chillingly drawn in the excerpt from Cory Doctorow’s 2008 update of Orwell, Little Brother. A few selections involve the attack only tangentially, somewhat undermining the theme, but this is still a powerful and interesting anthology of immediate reactions, later analyses, and lingering memories. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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