Synopses & Reviews
Unconventional and deep, this dynamic collection of 26 stories offers a wealth of fantastical and horrifying settings. Several perspectives on life after death are exploredreincarnated swarms of nanobots with digital personalities and a spirit wandering a bleak and violent city in search of lost loveas well as dynamic themes of alien invasion and Lovecraftian horror. In "Life on the Preservation," the Earth has been devastated, but Seattle has been preserved in a time loop taking place one day before world destruction, and a young girl who has never known such opulence is sent to destroy the city. A man injured by a terrorist's bomb discovers that he can relive the event, but if he chooses to save the woman at the table next to him, there will be dire consequences to himself in "Rewind." In the title story, a parapolice detective in hot pursuit of a serial killer receives help from a responsive memory module of the killers mother, but soon discovers that he might be falling in love with the module. Edgy and surreal, each tale reflects on familiar, emotional issues and complex relationships from new and imaginative angles.
"This edgy and dark collection revels in sorrow and loss. Alien invasions (of Earth in 'Life on the Preservation' and one human at a time in 'Double Occupancy') and future tech (body hopping in 'Overlay,' holographic projections of downloaded personalities in 'Scatter') sit side by side with a magical little boy in 'The Apprentice' and an evil spirit that corrupted the original Tree of Knowledge in 'The Tree.' The strongest stories are the ones where struggles with pain take center stage and the speculative setting fades away, such as 'Thank You, Mr. Whiskers,' in which an aging woman tries to escape paranoia and joint pain. There are no pat endings, especially when death is only a pause en route to a haunting or digital immortality, but readers braced for powerful emotions will find this collection more than worthwhile." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Skillingstead ably maps the landscape of humankind's presentgrowingconfusion." Locus Magazine
These 26 stories could have been dictated by demons from The Twilight Zone, they're so odd and so distinctively uncommon. They're also that good, that funny, and that outrageous. Edge
About the Author
Jack Skillingstead is an author whose short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Fast Forward 2, The Mammoth Book of New SF, The Years Best Fantasy & Horror, and The Years Best Science Fiction, as well as numerous periodicals, including Asimovs Science Fiction, F&SF, and Realms of Fantasy. He lives in Seattle.