cover image Space Is Just a Starry Night

Space Is Just a Starry Night

Tanith Lee. Aqueduct, $18 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61976-031-8

Lee’s powerful science fiction collection assembles 12 tales published between 1979 and 2011, plus two originals. All of them showcase her strong, entertaining, and often gorgeous writing. “The Beautiful Biting Machine” packs an irresistible wallop as it describes a sensuous sideshow at the Nightfair, a sort of giant carnival of dark desires. The werewolf myth takes on a deep space element in “Moon Wolf,” in which Lee’s prose is lovely: “The ocean came in, sigh on sigh, quintessential sea, to solace the onyx shore, under the solar light that did not glare any more but was smooth as the taste of cream.” The intriguing “With a Flaming Sword” puts an unusual spin on the story of Adam and Eve (in a manner that might fluster Biblical literalists). “Written in Water” also tackles creation myths, with a far grimmer outcome. This is a solid grouping of stories that deserves a broad audience. (July)