This first collection of Jessica Reisman’s stories roves the liminal spaces between now and not-quite-now, dream and waking, futures far flung and fantastic. Here are tales of adventure and transformation, clockwork detectives and polar bears, a wild sea on a space station, alien salvage and revenants. Featuring 16 previously published works and one unique to the collection, these stories open obscure doors into fantastic otherwheres and whens, conjuring worlds with deft and evocative lyricism.
INTRODUCTION BY MARTHA WELLS
"Reisman showcases her mastery of immersive worldbuilding in these 17 speculative short stories, which range from fable to space opera . . . [Reisman’s stories] all center around a theme of connection, whether between lovers, friends, gods, or animals. Readers will enjoy sinking into the strange and lovely landscapes of this collection."
"Jessica Reisman’s The Arcana of Maps and Other Stories is a night garden seeded with moon-blooming hybrid blooms, nightshade roses and cornflower jasmine, each flower a secret turnkey into another world. Sensual, dreamy, and teeming with fantastical beings, these stories will take you down rain-kissed alleys and haunted oceans, searching for answers to the questions you haven’t dared to ask yet."
—A.M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea
"Jessica Reisman's stories are lush, luscious, vivid, and visceral, catching her characters mid-transformation and sending them spinning in the light. Stories to read and savor and read again."
—Sarah Pinsker, author of Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea
"The Arcana of Maps should be at the top of everyone's must-read lists. Jessica Reisman's unique lyrical voice powers some of the finest short fiction of this (and really any) century."
—Richard Klaw, editor of Rayguns Over Texas and The Apes of Wrath
“Every piece a chorus of fresh voices, charged with authentic joy and beautiful melancholy, the stories of Jessica Reisman have always been ahead of their time, or of another time entirely—glimpses through that shimmering portal you have long wanted to step through, into a world where aesthetics really matter, the romance of little things charges the wonder, and the architecture of the world is built on a foundation of real community. All powered by the euphonic jazz of one of SF’s greatest living stylists.”
—Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
"It's wonderful to finally have so many collected in one edition instead of scattered to the winds of magazines and anthologies. I hope this allows many new readers to discover Jessica Reisman. She is a writer you can trust with your brain and more importantly, your heart."
—Martha Wells, author of the Murderbot Diaries
"Texan Jessica Reisman is quiet and funny in person, but when I finally started to read her work, I realized that she is the love-child of Jorge Luis Borges and Ursula K. LeGuin. I don't now when or how they met, but these fictions are the perfect union of Borges's subtle and mysterious intertextuality and LeGuin's blend of the subversive and the sensual. Her work needs to be read three times—once for plot, once for the deft poetry of sensory images, and once for the ideas. She will appeal to both the young first time reader of speculative fiction and the older deeply sophisticated reader. Her work is haunting and funny, full of shadows and of light. I am glad to recommend The Arcana of Maps because it shows I have flawless taste. When you read it and recommend it to your friends, you will understand my feelings. And then you will know I am smart."
—Don Webb, author and reviewer
"These are the stories that are set in front of you, each in a container unlike any of the others, each a different color (some of which you don't have a name for); you know that some of those things contain joy, some sorrow, some that you can drain to the dregs seeking the last taste of understanding that doesn't—QUITE—come but which is all the more alive because you aren't given it freely. These are the stories that can give you wisdom, give you comprehension, give you life. They can transform you. They can hurt you. They are wonderfully dangerous. You will never stop wanting them, wanting more."
—Alma Alexander, author of Midnight at Spanish Gardens
“Stories that cut like a knife. Incandescent prose. Highly recommended."