cover image Eclipse 4

Eclipse 4

Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Night Shade (, $14.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-59780-197-3

The latest volume in Strahan's unthemed anthology series has almost no weak links. The highlight is Rachel Swirsky's "Fields of Gold," a diabetic ghost's witty and melancholy tale of his life and death. Other standouts are Andy Duncan's folksy, Twainesque "Slow as a Bullet," Kij Johnson's metafictional "Story Kit," and Ca%C3%ADtlin R. Kiernan's uncommonly beautiful Lovecraftian "Tidal Forces." Even familiar tropes are handled elegantly by top talents like Michael Swanwick (whose "The Man in Grey" explores the idea that human reality is controlled by others), Jeffrey Ford (playing with doppelg%C3%A4ngers in "The Double of My Double Is Not My Double"), and Eileen Gunn (nicely twisting time travel and paradox themes in "Thought Experiment"), as well as relative newcomers like Peter M. Ball (whose "Dying Young" is a surprisingly fresh postapocalyptic western). Less successful contributions from Gwyneth Jones and Emma Bull are still entertaining but outshone by their companions. Strahan continues to raise the bar for original genre anthology series. (June)