A collection of SF short stories, novellettes, and one novella. The first in an SF anthology series.

58231576

Format: ebook

Publisher: WMG Publishing

Wordcount from GoodReads: 506

Publishing year: 2021

The theme of the collection is cities. The stories are quite varied, including a terrorist’s manifesto, a detective story, and romances. Three are set in the Seeders universe from Smith which deals with survivors living after most of humanity has died. Rusch has also one survivor story. Most are set on Earth but a couple are set in alien worlds and one is on a space station.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The City’s Edge (2016), a novelette: Petras’ wife is dead. To cope with her death and to continue to be a father to their two children, Petras needs to see her body and see where she died. He also tries to understand why she died.


Dunyon (2011): The story is set in a remote outpost that is a resort for the very rich. But now it’s also the last stop for desperate refugees. The main character runs a bar and hears all sorts of things. Then one customer claims that the MC knows how to get to Dunyon, a safe haven. But the MC has never even heard about it. When more people demand to be taken to Dunyon, she investigates before things get out of control.

One Small Step (2008): Nyalou is the newest member of the Tranquility Base’s Council on the Moon. The others intimidate her. But when the richest member starts to say that the Arrival Monument and the footprint must go so that the land can be sold for huge profit, Nyalou disagrees, to her own surprise. She hasn’t gone to the Monument since she was a kid. But she agrees to find out if people still go to see Armstrong’s footprint.


Earth Day (2013): The main character’s mother was obsessed with Earth Day and saving the planet. The MC is obsessed with his mom and in her memory, he will save the planet.

Snapshots (2014): When Cleavon was ten years old in 1955 Chicago, he saw for the first time a murder victim, a black boy just like himself. Years later, he fled the city to raise his family in peace. But to his horror, his daughter gets a scholarship and is returning to Chicago despite his objections.

Voyeuristic Tendencies (2014), a novelette. Maggie keeps herself invisible because of her talent and because of the money she makes using her talent. She’s a telepath who can only read minds, not influence them in any way. She uses the information she gets, usually about cheating spouses, and makes good money. But when an old man approaches her claiming he had the same talent, he says that she will go insane when she’s forty.


Coolhunting (1998), a novella: Steffie Storm-Warning is a coolhunter, searching for the next trend. It’s lonely work but she loves her independence and anonymity. The trend is a human doing something cool or wearing something cool. The trend can last a couple of days to a few weeks. Steffie has a honed sense of what would be cool. She records the subject and sends the recording to companies that can use them. She had a strange and difficult childhood which is the reason why she prefers to be anonymious but now her family needs her.

Story Child (1990): Michael was left behind in the Abandonment. Every child and many adults just disappeared overnight, including his wife and child. The people left behind are plagued by unknown illnesses. For two years Michael has been the only doctor in town, fighting to keep people alive and fighting against his exhaustion and helplessness. Then, the story child appears hovering in a skimmer.


Sing (1987): The nameless main character of the story is a native of her planet. One day a human tells her that he wants to record her singing. But she doesn’t know what that means. Her culture has no words for music or anything related to music. She’s suspicious.


Dancers Like Children [Alien Influences] (1991) a novelette: Dr. Justin Schafer specializes in both alien and human psychology. However, ten years ago he made a horrible mistake and hasn’t been practicing since. He’s been called to the Bountiful colony on an alien planet because someone is brutally killing children inside the colony dome. The locals are convinced that the killers are the local aliens called Dancers because the kids had been murdered in a way that mimics a Dancer ritual. Justin takes the job reluctantly, hoping he won’t make mistakes this time.

Dean Wesley Smith

Playing in the Street (1995) a novelette: In 2030, Moscow, Idaho is a dead town. People died instantly. The main character returns there in protective gear to look at his dead parents. He knows what happened to the town and it all started back in 1913.

Keep Hoping for a New Tomorrow (2017): Martin Knight runs a popular talk show Here and Now where he interviews people stuck in time. And there are a lot of people to interview: everyone on Earth. For 7,987 times everyone on the planet has been experiencing the same 66 minutes over and over again. However, their minds have not been affected. They know it’s happening so they can change what they do after the time loop starts repeating again.


A Bad Patch of Humanity [The Seeders Universe] (2015): Four years ago, an electromagnetic pulse killed off every human who wasn’t underground. The survivors have rebuilt a few cities. Angie Park is looking for survivors and telling them that other humans still live. Most people she meets are first afraid but then relieved. But the small group she meets this time is quite different.


Nostalgia 101 (2006): A thousand years ago, humanity used nanites to prolong their own lives. When the sun started to cool, humans built domes. Now, a group of relatively young humans is looking to pass Nostalgia 101 class. Because boredom isn’t the threat. Nostalgia is.


Out of Coffee Experience (2013): Arrington is a time-artist: he goes back in time and captures a split second of a split second so that people from his time can come and view the moment as art. He also hates coffee so he decided to make his newest, and no doubt most popular, piece of art in a coffee shop in 2004.


Remember Me to Your Children (2014): Part of the Seeders universe, this is also a story about people who survived the Event. Tammy and Hal are part of Respect project, looking into homes so that they can record the names and lives of people who lived there and lay the bodies to rest in a new cemetery. This time Tammy and Hal find something unexpected.


Neighborhoods (2013): Big Ed is a self-made millionaire who is used to solving problems nobody else can. But living in Chicago he can’t help but hear all the time about gun violence and children dying. Nobody seems to be able to do anything about it. But Big Ed comes up with a crazy plan.


To Remember a Single Minute (2015): Mike Hanley has lived a full life but now he’s facing a disease that will take his memories from him. However, Remember Incorporated will guarantee that he will always remember one minute of his life.


He Meant No Harm [Bryant Street] (2016): Dennis Phipps’s grandmother has passed away and he returns to the old family house on Bryant Street, to clean it up. The other houses seem to be abandoned, too. He finds something that reminds him of his childhood and wants to try it out again.

Shadow in the City [The Seeders Universe] (2003): Carey has been living alone since the Event happened four years ago. She hiked from dead Portland, Oregon to the coast. Now, she’s returning to Portland with the faint hope that someone else might have survived, too. Hopefully someone still sane.

I’ve read two of Rusch’s stories before, Coolhunting and Dancers like Children. I enjoyed them again and I enjoyed all the stories.