cover image Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue

Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue

Edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, and Troy L. Wiggins. Third Man, $17.95 trade paper (404p) ISBN 978-1-73484-227-2

This ambitious anthology of 33 stories and poems aims to “evoke water in its myriad moods and modes,” and lays out an intriguing sampling of SFF subgenres. Kate Heartfield offers the medieval fantasy “Lilies and Claws.” Marie Vibbert delivers a space opera about an alien whale singer in “Juniper’s Song,” and editor Thomas imagines a disco-era siren in “Love Hangover.” Many focus on human relationships with aquatic, humanoid shape-shifters, among them Christopher Caldwell’s gender-bending “Deep Like the Rivers,” Shawn Scarber’s Southern gothic fairy tale, “At the Opening of Bayou St. John,” Lyndsay E. Gilbert’s Bluebeard retelling, “The Half-Drowned Castle,” Cecilia Quirk’s queer selkie story “The Weaver’s Tale,” and Rion Amilcar Scott and Jamey Hatley’s interlinked tales of woe and water women, “Numbers” and “Spirits Don’t Cross over Water ’Til They Do.” There are several entries, however, that seem only tangentially relevant to the theme, among them Andrea Hairston’s “Seven Generations Algorithm” and Mateo Hinojosa’s “Portal.” Though readers will be stumped by the inclusion of some of these pieces, the looseness of the organizational schema allows for wide variety. Not every piece will be a hit with every reader, but the diversity of contributors and contributions means that anyone can find something to enjoy. (Jan.)