From the Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin comes Tina Connolly’s first full-length collection, with two dozen stories spanning a decade of writing. These inventive and compelling stories contain tales of transcending cyborgs, shapeshifting bears, sentient hands, rogue GPSs, superhero moms groups, zombie chipmunks, and a story told from the point of view of a paddle in Pong. Her stories have been described as original, charming, delightful, unexpected, poignant, mystifying, beautiful, horrific, intricate, darkly funny, imaginative, fascinating, and just plain weird. The 25 stories and 3 poems include her prequel story to her YA Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen, as well as one new story exclusive to the collection.
"The 28 fantasy stories, vignettes, and poems in this enticingly varied first collection range in mood from the giddy to the somber, but all are distinguished by their author’s skill at pursuing ideas to their logical extreme. 'Standard Comfort Measures in Earthling Pregnancies' is written as a 'what to expect when you’re expecting' guide for human women and men who unexpectedly become hosts to alien embryos. 'Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day!' is a succession of online chat group posts from mothers coping with children who have outrageous superhero powers. At the opposite extreme of these comic flings are 'Selling Home,' set in a Ballardian world of endlessly overarching bridges where the disenfranchised struggle to reach the upper decks of the wealthy, and 'Old Dead Futures,' whose damaged protagonist reveals that his ability to mentally alter reality is more a curse than a blessing. Connolly writes with a vividness that immerses the reader in her scenarios and makes their unpredictable endings all the more fulfilling."
"Frequently profound, sometimes bizarre, and at other moments, laugh-out-loud hilarious: this collection of Tina Connolly's eclectic stories packs the full range of the human experience into one book."
—Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger series
“Tina Connolly’s stories resonate at a human emotional core. Those in this collection, which span worlds of stratified future dystopia, bleak outer-planet illness, fantasy gods compelling humans, or contemporary backyard pool-party for a grandmother’s birthday, often touch on family, whether at-hand or previou'ly lost, and the characters’ struggle for them. The science-fiction stories will engage fantasy fans, and the contemporary pieces will engage fans of other worlds, because they’re all about people and what they care about. Connolly’s writing is equally deft across varied narrative formats—flash, email epistolary, stage-play, poem—and voices—space-thief jargon, weird Western, contemporary teenage daughter of a witch, a programmed GPS—and always leaves an emotional impact, whether laughter or hard-won relief or a ray of hope for characters and family.
—Scott H. Andrews, Three-Time World Fantasy Award Finalist Editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“Connolly tells mesmerizing, emotional stories through a range of voices that is as varied as it is impressive. She is consistently engrossing across lengths, tones, and genres, and like a great character actor she makes this masterful variety seem effortless.”
—Alex Shvartsman, author of Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma
"The title story is a representative example of what to expect from Tina Connolly—a little gruesome, a little humorous, with characters who can be counted on to approach life with a certain degree of obsession...[These stories] bear out her ability to weave a credible plot with believable, if sometimes very strange, characters."