cover image Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

Edited by Susan DeFreitas. Forest Avenue, $18 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-1-942436-48-5

DeFreitas (Hot Season) collects 31 impressive stories to honor Ursula K. Le Guin’s legacy. Some are directly inspired by Le Guin’s works—like Rene Denfeld’s “The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away,” a resonant spin on “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”—but most are loose thematic and philosophical riffs, often rethinking gender and social roles. Some are fantasy, such as Jessie Kwak’s “Black as Thread,” in which tailors sing curses into clothing for an occupying army, and Rachael K. Jones’s breathtaking “The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles,” about a repressive oasis and the women who consume reptile eggs to flee its confines in a new form. Others add speculative dimensions to the real world: in Fonda Lee’s “Old Souls,” a woman who remembers her past lives gets disastrously tricked by a being who claims to be ageless, and in Timothy O’Leary’s chilling “Homeless Gary Busey,” a recovering addict attracts the violent fixation of a homeless man. Homages to Le Guin’s dystopian and sci-fi works appear in Arwen Spicer’s “Let it Die,” about humans on a distant planet who reject technology, and Mo Daviau’s “Valuable,” featuring time-traveling feminist vigilantes, among others. Speculative fiction readers will find much to enjoy in this well-crafted celebration. (Nov.)