cover image Fountain of Age

Fountain of Age

Nancy Kress. Small Beer (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (303p) ISBN 978-1-931520-45-4

Passions are magnified by age and the world only becomes more unpredictable in Kress’s new collection, anchored by the Nebula-winning title novella. The nine stories, published over the course of just two years, wrestle with themes of love, death, and transformation. A 90-year-old scientist shares a powerful and inexplicable experience with his fellow nursing home residents in “The Erdmann Nexus.” In “First Rites,” a neuroscientist tries to save and understand his cousin’s strange orphaned son. Relationships are complex and conflicted: in “Fountain of Age,” a crooked businessman is driven by his obsession with a woman whose genes hold the key to prolonged youth, and in “Safeguard” a woman raises four children who unknowingly carry a plague that could destroy the world. Kress’s depiction of science is much like her characters’ experiences with love: by turns glorious and terrible, and always a little disturbing, even in triumph. (Apr.)