cover image Adam’s Ladder

Adam’s Ladder

Edited by Michael Bailey and Darren Speegle. Written Backwards, $15.95 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-62641-267-5

Human evolution, in its many possible forms, is the focus of this gripping anthology of spooky science fiction. In Lisa Morton’s “Eyes of the Beholders,” a group of space colonists who return to Earth after a failed and tragic mission find the planet, and humankind, profoundly changed. In Damien Angelica Walters’s melancholy, devastatingly lovely tale “Filigree, Minotaur, Cyanide, Bloom,” a lonely woman who can still speak lives in a world where most humans were rendered mute after a cataclysmic event. Tim Lebbon’s eerie “Strings” profiles a group of people who believe that humans have stopped evolving; their experiments with nanotechnology produce frightening results. “I Will Be the Making of You,” Rena Mason’s atmospheric clone tale set in deep space, is a mind-bending thrill ride. Brian Evenson’s “Nameless Citizen” imagines a world, and a survivor, forever changed by an unnamed disaster. Laird Barron’s rocket-fueled, noirish gem “Swift to Chase,” about a woman (who may be more than human) sent to dispatch a ruthless killer, caps off an anthology that effectively explores the human desire to advance and the hubris that holds us back. This thoughtfully curated anthology will appeal to horror and science fiction fans alike. (Dec.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated the book was a reprint anthology.