cover image Winter Well: Speculative Novellas About Older Women

Winter Well: Speculative Novellas About Older Women

Edited by Kay T. Holt. Crossed Genres (, $11.95 trade paper (183p) ISBN 978-0615777092

These four excellent novellas feature women older than fifty navigating cataclysmic and security-obsessed futures, life on other planets, and societies governed by astronomy and blood magic. Anna Caro's "This Other World" is especially breathtaking, featuring an autistic protagonist whose perspective is both nuanced and thought-provoking; "Copper" by Minerva Zimmerman is a fast-paced procedural that opens with a humorous hook before taking a turn for high-stakes seriousness. Though these two stood out, both "To the Edges" by M. Fenn and "The Second Wife" by Marissa James are accomplished and engaging: the former favors clear, solid prose with turns into startling beauty, while the latter portrays a lush, high fantasy Mesoamerican setting. In addition to the wonderfully realized speculative elements, these stories are all notable for the foregrounding of problems specific to their very different heroines without defining them: aging bodies, retirement, previous marriages, parenting to adult children, are all aspects of these women without defining their character. As a whole this collection is important and necessary, successfully demonstrating the many ways in which women's stories needn't end with youth. (May)