cover image Depart, Depart!

Depart, Depart!

Sim Kern. Stelliform, $7.99 e-book (88p) ISBN 978-1-77709-171-2

Texas is shaken by an apocalyptic flood in Kern’s tense, entrancing debut novella. Noah, a trans man, takes refuge in a Dallas basketball arena-turned-relief shelter, rubbing shoulders with the full spectrum of Texas society, from members of the Austin queer community to conservative good ol’ boys. Noah finds his place with Elena, a trans woman, and nonbinary Malone as the shelter residents band together in small groups to help one another. Noah is also visited by a ghostly boy, Abe, who he believes to be the spirit of his great grandfather, who delivers warnings and doles out advice. Noah struggles in a world without privacy, grapples with his complex relationship with his Jewish identity, and, as tensions rise between factions and conditions in the arena deteriorate, his loyalty to his newfound friends is tested. Noah faces the same choice his great-grandfather once wrestled with: to save himself or die helping his friends. With high stakes and a solid emotional core, and a perfect balance of speculation and an all-too-real vision of climate apocalypse, Kern shows the necessity of compassion, empathy, and community in the face of crisis. Agent: Kerstin Wolf, D4EO Literary Agency. (Sept.)