cover image Wicked Wonders

Wicked Wonders

Ellen Klages. Tachyon, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61696-261-6

Magical stories unfurl with marvelous subtlety in this delightful collection from Klages (The Green Glass Sea). Some are set in a variant of our own world, including “The Education of a Witch,” which builds a small girl’s fondness for Maleficent up to an ominous climax. Others transport readers elsewhere: “Friday Night at St. Cecilia’s” takes place inside several board games, where the player is at a fairy queen’s mercy. In “Amicae Eternum,” a young girl tries to absorb memories of Earth as she prepares to leave with her parents on a colony ship, and the astronaut in “Goodnight Moons” is already on Mars before she learns that her unexpected baby means she’s never going back home; both tales focus on the quiet moments and joy in life. The last two stories of the collection, “Woodsmoke” and “The Scary Ham,” are slices of life, not speculative at all. Queer characters appear often, warmly included without any fuss. The emotional impact of the stories is carefully managed in a way that’s meant to sweep readers up, not knock them down. The tie that binds these works together is humanity, lovingly and quietly explored no matter the genre. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (June)