cover image Singing with All My Skin and Bone

Singing with All My Skin and Bone

Sunny Moraine. Undertow, $17.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-9950949-0-1

Beneath their eerie and fantastical elements, the 19 stories in this collection are fundamentally tales of individuals trying to cope in the wake of loss and trauma. Some tales take place in near futures where drones become physically satisfying but emotionally unfulfilling sexual partners or the world is still reeling from an unexplained epidemic of youth suicides broadcast over social media. Others visit fantasy worlds where grieving fathers can become bears, the dead come back as water, and the Little Mermaid seeks bloody revenge against the prince who scorned her. There are also stories set in the past but tinged with magic, such as “Across the Seam,” in which a young miner involved in Pennsylvania’s 1897 Lattimer Strike has visions of Baba Yaga while hiding her gender identity and dealing with the difficulties of being a new immigrant. The science fiction possibilities of a wormhole in “The Throat Is Deep and the Mouth Is Wide,” the most striking story, recede behind the drama of telephone therapy for those who can no longer cope with everyday life after passing through a hole in the universe. Even readers who don’t normally seek out genre fiction will be drawn in by the poetic way Moraine (Line and Orbit) blends the gothic, SF, and fantasy with incisive psychological portraits. (Sept.)