cover image Calvaria Fell: Stories

Calvaria Fell: Stories

Cat Sparks & Kaaron Warren. Meerkat, $17.95 trade paper (218p) ISBN 978-1-946154-82-8

This joint collection from Australian writers Sparks (Lotus Blue) and Warren (Into Bones Like Oil), including both new and reprinted stories, showcases the authors’ thoughtful takes on futures wracked with environmental challenges. Warren, a Shirley Jackson Award winner, impresses with “68 Days.” The ex-con narrator, still haunted by her mother’s death by suicide, is diagnosed with a terminal illness and applies to join a special Mars mission heading to a colony entirely made up of others like her with limited time to live; the final reveal about why such a group was put together is both horrifyingly logical and disturbingly plausible. Sparks equally wows with “Some Kind of Indescribable,” set in a “Post-Net” future. Against this apocalyptic background, heroine Mila desperately searches for hope for her daughter, Lily, who is afflicted with the newfound “plastic cancer.” The plotting is consistently original, and the stories evoke recognizably human responses to adverse conditions. Even with the duo of authors, this collection achieves remarkable coherence. (Apr.)