cover image All Worlds Are Real

All Worlds Are Real

Susan Palwick. Fairwood, $17.99 trade paper (322p) ISBN 978-1-933846-84-2

The 15 inventive stories in the heartfelt second collection of speculative fiction from Palwick (Mending the Moon) are connected by themes of death and recovery. In “Weather,” grieving parents wrestle with whether to have the ghosts of their dead children uploaded into computers. In “Ash,” a magical tree brings back beloved objects that were thought to be lost in a house fire. Among the most touching tales are “Remote Presence,” in which a hospital chaplain struggles with a lonely ghost’s reluctance to move on; “Lucite,” about a melancholy man who finds beauty in a visit to Hell’s gift shop; and “Hodge,” a tearjerker in which a rescue dog helps a woman cope with the hallucinations that follow her. “Homecoming” and “Recoveries,” which grapple with gender roles and addiction, respectively, are less successful. Despite the weaker stories, Palwick’s mastery of vibrant, immersive storytelling is never in doubt. Readers will be thoroughly transported by these achingly beautiful tales. (Nov.)