cover image Dreams for a Broken World

Dreams for a Broken World

Edited by Julie C. Day and Ellen Meeropol. Essential Dreams, $20 (304p) ISBN 978-1-955360-05-0

The 24 impressive stories of healing and rebuilding that make up the second Dreams anthology (following Weird Dream Society) draw inspiration from the Japanese tradition of kintsugi, where broken ceramics are repaired with the addition of precious metals to create a whole even more beautiful than before. Though the concept may initially strike some as cheesy, the strength of these stories make it work. In “How the Demon War Was Won” by Benjamin Parzybok, protagonist Lauren travels through a portal into the world of demons in an effort to create peace between realms. “La Gorda and the City of Silver” by Sabrina Vourvoulias follows a Guatemalan woman who subverts gender norms as a masked luchadora protecting the women of her community from patriarchal violence. Zig Zag Claybourne’s “Finding Ways,” set against the backdrop of a pandemic that “closes off the world,” and Nisi Shawl’s drone-centric “Fourth and Most Important” take things in a more sci-fi direction. Other stories are concerned with internal rebuilding rather than external. In “The Persistence of Memory” by Jan Maher, elderly Marie reconnects with her inner child by borrowing her great-granddaughter’s bike. With a wide range of genres and styles, these hopeful stories offer something for any speculative fiction reader. (Nov.)