cover image Many Worlds: or, The Simulacra

Many Worlds: or, The Simulacra

Edited by Cadwell Turnbull and Josh Eure. Radix, $24.95 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-73771-843-7

This excellent anthology delves into an unsettling shared multiverse in which individuals struggle to understand a world being constantly edited around them. Project creator Turnbull’s opening piece, “Notes on the Form of the Simulacra,” serves as an explanation of the setup in the form of an analysis of a forum in which people share their experiences of cities changing names and familiar people shifting roles, and posit the existence of an entity they call The Simulacrum behind it all. The remaining 13 stories, arranged to provide a smooth expansion of the reader’s understanding of the setting, take various perspectives. Some protagonists passively perceive the strangeness of the world, as in Theodore McCombs’s “The Phantom of the Marley Valley High Auditorium for the Arts,” in which students disappear each year during the high school’s spring show, and then, in K.W. Onley’s “And So, What Do You Know?,” are hounded by investigators trying to study them. Others, like the protagonist in Darkly Lem’s “Blink” are more aware of their identities as unwilling travelers between worlds. Taken as a whole, this exhibits the best of shared-world writing: diverse settings and distinctive voices grounded in a core worldbuilding concept that, in this case, provokes both paranoia and wonder. Readers will be wowed. (June)