cover image Soul Jar

Soul Jar

Edited by Annie Carl. Forest Avenue, $18 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-1-942436-57-7

The 31 speculative shorts in this cathartic anthology centered on disabled characters written by disabled authors range from dark and dystopian to colorful and joyous. Raven Oak’s grounded sci-fi tale, “Weightless,” in which a large woman with a knee replacement takes charge after a routine space flight goes awry, explores generosity and community in the wake of disaster. Other defiant, realistic tales use a speculative twist to tackle ableist institutions face-on. In Evergreen Lee’s “The Definition of Professional Attire,” for example, extraterrestrials face discrimination at a majority-human security company (“Employees are only allowed to display two eyes each, and they should be in the traditional locations”), while in Lane Chasek’s “Which Doctor,” a woman looks for medical assistance in a world where therapy is considered the only “real science” and physical remedies are taboo. In Nisi Shawl’s “The Things I Miss the Most,” an epileptic teenager falls in love with the other half of her own brain after brain surgery, while Eirik Gumeny’s “A Balanced Breakfast” leans even further into absurdity, as a breakfast blogger summons an unexpectedly horrifying cereal mascot to feature on her podcast. Fans of space opera, fairy tales, and postapocalyptic stories will revel in the reinvention of beloved tropes and the wealth of eye-opening creativity—and disabled readers will be especially moved. (Oct.)