cover image “Not So Much,” Said the Cat

“Not So Much,” Said the Cat

Michael Swanwick. Tachyon, , $15.95 ISBN 978-1-61696-228-9

Multiple Hugo Award–winner Swanwick (Chasing the Phoenix) returns with this superb collection of stories published between 2008 and 2014. Ranging across the various subgenres of fantasy and science fiction, the volume includes the Hugo-winning “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled...,” in which a space suit AI narrates how its owner escaped from a conquered alien metropolis with a burden of incalculable value. Other stories of note are “The Man in Grey,” whose title character is one of reality’s stage managers, in charge of making sure that the props and sets are in place for the 50,000 people who really exist in our universe, all others being mere illusion; “Tawny Petticoats,” in which swindlers Darger and Surplus are taken in by the dauntingly beautiful title character; and “The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin,” in which two poor little rich girls living on a grim colonial world discover their true alien heritage. Each of these 17 stories is a gem, beautifully written, expertly plotted, with brilliantly developed characters. This is as good as short speculative fiction gets. Agent: Martha Millard, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)