cover image The Fate of Mice

The Fate of Mice

Susan Palwick, . . Tachyon, $14.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-1-892391-42-1

Spanning the past 20 years of Palwick's career, the eight previously published and three new stories in this outstanding collection (after her 2005 novel The Necessary Beggar ) display the author's versatility. The fine title story about an IQ-enhanced mouse named Rodney recalls "Flowers for Algernon." "Gestella" centers on a woman werewolf whose accelerated aging complicates her doomed marriage to a self-obsessed professor. In "Jo's Hair," Palwick imagines remarkable alternate fates for Louisa May Alcott's little woman, Jo March, and her chopped and sold chestnut braid. The quintessential fairy tale "Stormdusk" depicts a child worried about her mother, a trapped snow maiden; the wise, whimsical concluding gem, "GI Jesus," addresses friendship and sacred smalltown "miracles." Palwick's genre-bending short fiction defies categorization and blends humor with pathos. (Mar.)