This debut collection from Nebula-nominated author Caroline M. Yoachim showcases a wide-ranging selection of dark and beautiful stories, fiction that explores human nature against vividly imagined speculative backdrops. Here you'll find time travel, alien invasions, Japanese mermaids, and more—stories of struggle, heartbreak, and hope. The book features twenty-five of Yoachim's most popular published pieces, and two brand new stories exclusive to the collection.
"Yoachim’s reputation as an exceptional flash fiction stylist is founded on her work for Daily Science Fiction. Compiled, some of these brief works initially read as slight. 'Betty and the Squelchy Saurus'—recounting treaty politics with monsters under the bed—works well early on, its context already familiar. Full appreciation of the more science fictional worlds takes time, as Yoachim circles back in successive stories to add layers to major themes: interchangeable or malleable bodies ('Temporary Friends,' 'Stone Wall Truth,' 'Grass Girl'), displaced consciousness ('The Philosophy of Ships,' 'Do Not Count the Withered Ones,' 'Pieces of My Body'), time warps ('Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death,' 'Harmonies of Time' 'Honeybee'). She’s especially successful in skewing hackneyed horror tropes, such as a spore invasion launched by compassionate aliens in 'Five Stages of Grief after the Alien Invasion.' 'Everyone’s a Clown' showcases Yoachim’s ability to layer multiple themes in a very short space, picking up on the childhood perceptions of 'Betty and the Squelchy Saurus' and refocusing them through the lens of an adult horror chestnut. Her gift for reshaping and polishing dulled old gems makes Yoachim’s collection truly noteworthy."
“I’ve always loved the workings of Caroline M. Yoachim’s creative mind. Her stories are full of surprises, both little and large. Tales can be charming and evocative and chilling and disturbing. Caroline perverts technology, crunches math’s hard truths, builds intriguing alien worlds, and hides love in odd places. Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World gives us lucky readers a chance to enjoy many aspects of her thoughtful imagination.”
—Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov's Science Fiction
"An astonishing collection from a writer of boundless imagination—full of heart, intelligence, and sense of wonder."
—John Joseph Adams, Series Editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy
"Caroline M. Yoachim is a master of flash fiction. She has impeccable control of the written word, which is reflected in every world she writes. Her stories transcend their length, with characters that resonate long after the final word has been read."
—Jonathan Laden, Daily Science Fiction
“The work collected here is a sublime distillation of whimsy and deep melancholic thought, darkness, sorrow, and the occasional ray of laugh-out-loud light, with moments of beauty that will stab you—very, very precisely—so that it hurts the most. This is a bloody good collection that deserves a lot of attention.”
—Ian McHugh, Writers of the Future Grand Prize Winner
"With beauty and clarity, Yoachim brings these worlds to life. From monsters to aliens to extraordinary humans, her characters explore problems both strange and familiar. Yet every time, we recognize ourselves in their hopes and their choices. These stories are lovely."
—Vylar Kaftan, Nebula Award-winning author
“Touching and sad, revealing and sublime, beautiful and innovative—these are the stories of Caroline M. Yoachim. There’s more truth in one of her short stories than in the entire avalanche of cookie-cutter novels which pass for fiction these days. Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World will remind you why short stories are still the powerful heart and soul of the speculative fiction genre.”