cover image Creative Surgery

Creative Surgery

Clelia Farris, trans from the Italian by Rachel S. Cordasco and Jennifer Delare. Rosarium, $14.95 trade paper (172p) ISBN 978-1-73263-883-9

This transcendent and deeply unsettling collection introduces English-language readers to Italian science fiction heavyweight Farris. “Gabola” and “The Substance of Ideas” anchor the collection with bittersweet meditations on history and devotion, and are the closest Farris gets to comfort reading. Though some stories, like “A Day to Remember,” suffer from underexplanation, readers who take the time to read between the lines will be richly rewarded. And the title story is a gruesome standout, chronicling the friendship between two misfit surgeons as they construct ever more elaborate chimera—and ends in a twist that demands the story be read again, and again. Across all seven marvelous tales, Farris effortlessly melds near-future settings, a fabulist tone, and magical, bizarre details: including sea urchins that can confer skills like knitting or poker playing; a university full of feral, borderline cannibalistic biologists; and a computer capable of editing human memory contained inside a marble. Farris has the gift of making her wildly imaginative worlds feel fully lived-in. Readers of literary science fiction will devour this collection. (Sept.)