cover image Weird Fishes

Weird Fishes

Rae Mariz. Stelliform, $14.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-77768-234-7

Mariz (The Unidentified) takes readers deep beneath the ocean for a strange and beautiful cli-fi fantasy. When Ceph, a many-armed, many-brained scientist, has a run in with Iliokai, a deep-sea whale rider with her finger on the ocean’s pulse, Iliokai confirms her deepest fears: the above-water beings are responsible for the slowing of the ocean’s currents, which will mean certain death for the denizens of the ocean if the tides stop supplying oxygen. Despite mutual distrust and cultural disconnects, Ceph and Iliokai work together to enlist the aid of every being—from hive-minded coral reefs to bureaucratic underwater councils to, impossibly, surface-dwelling aliens—to avert ecological annihilation. Mariz combines dense, realistic science with lush, fantastic description and provides abundant space for the story’s more outlandish elements to stretch out and breathe. The relationships at the heart of this tale manage to be both completely human and utterly unbeholden to the above-water dynamics readers might take for granted. The resulting novella feels entirely fresh and inventive. Fans of Caitlin Starling and Maggie Tokuda-Hall will be especially wowed. (Aug.)