cover image Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories

Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories

Naomi Kritzer. Fairwood, $17.99 trade paper (324p) ISBN 978-1-933846-67-5

Kritzer’s flawless collection taps deep wells of emotion and wonder. In the Hugo-winning title story, the internet becomes intelligent and decides that it will try to keep people from harming themselves—if they feed it pictures of cats. In “The Golem,” a Czech golem once again tries to save the Jews of Prague, this time from the Holocaust. In “What Happened at Blessing Creek,” a white girl with second sight is faced with a horrible choice when her parents decide to settle on Osage land in a dragon-filled Old West. In “The Good Son,” one of the Irish fair folk gets far more than he expected after following a mortal woman to Minneapolis. In “So Much Cooking,” a doughty food blogger cheerfully narrates cooking her way through a pandemic as her house fills up with stray children and the backyard rabbits start to look awfully tasty. Kritzer always focuses on ordinary people, whether they’re dipping one toe into weird waters or jumping in. Her work is indisputably speculative, but it’s a perfect entry point to the genre for readers who prefer fantastical and futuristic elements to stay more in the background, with human (and robotic) feelings always at the fore. This splendid treat is not to be missed. Agent: Martha Millard, Sterling Lord Literistic. (July)