cover image Up the Rainbow: The Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper

Up the Rainbow: The Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper

Edited by Gardner Dozois. Fantastic, $34.99 (460p) ISBN 978-1-5154-1027-0

This collection of the late Casper’s work (edited by her husband, longtime anthologist Dozois) showcases both her talent and the potential (highlighted in Michael Swanwick’s introduction) that was lost when she abruptly stopped writing. The major unpublished piece, “The Blessed Damosel,” was intended as the first chapter of a novel, and though it doesn’t completely work on its own, it shows the promise she had. The completed short stories are worthy reading for any fan of science fiction or darker fantasy. Some are fluffier—the holographic Sherlock in “Holmes Ex Machina” is pure fun—but, when she got serious, Casper produced “Covenant with a Dragon,” in which a Vietnam vet realizes that his wartime affair had hidden consequences, and the horrific “Shadowman,” featuring terrifying man-eating rats that aren’t even the real monster. A few fall flat—the controlling Jewish mother willing to go to incredible lengths to keep her daughter in line in “Mama” is uncomfortably stereotypical, and only completists will care about the trip reports that comprise the final third of this large volume, but there’s a lot here for genre fans to enjoy. (July)