cover image Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction

Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction

Suzanne Church. EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (Ingram, U.S. dist.; Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Canadian dist.), $14.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-77053-042-3

The unassuming title conceals a debut collection that highlights the author's considerable skills. Between the two covers are 21 short stories plus an introduction by Sandra Kasturi. The collection ranges across the expanse of speculative fiction, from the humor of the author's three Couch Teleportation Universe stories to grimmer fare such as "Coolies," in which war forces inhumane decisions on its characters; from the melancholy "The Wind and the Sky" to an examination of futuristic gender politics on a frozen moon in "The Flower Gathering." As with "Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop," the author places well-intended draconian policies center stage to critique rather than endorse. Although Church's speculative fiction began appearing in print about a decade ago, winning her an Aurora Award in 2012 for "The Needle's Eye," her venues have, for the most part, been relatively obscure, the small presses in whose hidden gardens so much of the truly interesting speculative fiction blooms. As a result, readers may have missed the opportunity to enjoy her remarkable prose and the diversity of her visions. This collection will allow discerning readers to correct that oversight. (May)