Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World and Other Stories

Caroline M. Yoachim. Fairwood, $17.99 trade paper (298p) ISBN 978-1-933846-55-2
Yoachim’s reputation as an exceptional flash fiction stylist is founded on her work for Daily Science Fiction. Compiled, some of these brief works initially read as slight. “Betty and the Squelchy Saurus”—recounting treaty politics with monsters under the bed—works well early on, its context already familiar. Full appreciation of the more science fictional worlds takes time, as Yoachim circles back in successive stories to add layers to major themes: interchangeable or malleable bodies (“Temporary Friends,” “Stone Wall Truth,” “Grass Girl”), displaced consciousness (“The Philosophy of Ships,” “Do Not Count the Withered Ones,” “Pieces of My Body”), time warps (“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death,” “Harmonies of Time” “Honeybee”). She’s especially successful in skewing hackneyed horror tropes, such as a spore invasion launched by compassionate aliens in “Five Stages of Grief after the Alien Invasion.” “Everyone’s a Clown” showcases Yoachim’s ability to layer multiple themes in a very short space, picking up on the childhood perceptions of “Betty and the Squelchy Saurus” and refocusing them through the lens of an adult horror chestnut. Her gift for reshaping and polishing dulled old gems makes Yoachim’s collection truly noteworthy. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 08/16/2016
Genre: Fiction
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