cover image Out of the Ruins: The Apocalyptic Anthology

Out of the Ruins: The Apocalyptic Anthology

Edited by Preston Grassman. Titan, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-78909-739-9

Grassman’s hopeful postapocalyptic anthology showcases 21 stories in a panoply of styles, but does not always unify them. Atmosphere suffuses the standout pieces: wrecked ships and a lost Zora Neale Hurston novel collide in a remote seaside town in China Miéville’s tender yet ominous “Watching God.” A sideways poetry drives Nina Allan’s overwhelmingly kindhearted “A Storm in Kingstown,” in which a woman searches for a missing nun in her plague-struck Yorkshire estuary city. The grief of Alzheimer’s laces Ramsey Campbell’s “Reminded” as an app-reliant elderly couple scrapes together missing memories ahead of a dystopian driver’s exam. And Emily St. John Mandel’s gentle “Mr. Thursday” reconsiders time travel in glowing prose. Weaker entries privilege style over substance: Nick Mamatas’s snarling, overclever “The Man You Flee at Parties” significantly underloads its payoff, while Grassman’s stiff, formulaic collaboration with Chris Kelso, “Like the Petals of Broken Flowers,” fails to convince. Though uneven, there’s enough here to make this sampler of salvaged futures worthwhile. (Sept.)