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by Catherynne M. Valente
Release date: December 2010
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, short stories

Cover art by Rima Staines. Introduction by Lev Grossman.

In this, her first story collection, six years of multiaward winning Catherynne M. Valente’s acclaimed short fiction comes together in a single volume. From Mars to ancient India, from the interstellar deeps to post-war Leningrad, from selkies and gingerbread houses to zombies, noir detectives, and video games that never were, these stories leap from genre to genre, voice to voice, outer reaches to inner hearts. Here you will find strange secret histories, backalley deals between steampunk and pirate stories, between fairy tales and moon colonies, Antarctic cartographers and interplanetary documentary filmmakers. Here an author throws her voice — and a family of strange dolls speaks, as if by magic.

“She writes with a casual and ruthless grace, like a lioness or the sea. Calling her work simply delicate does it an injustice. Delicacy implies frailty, and her work is powerful. The precision of her words is not done in brushstrokes but in engraving: the line may be fine and is certainly fair, but it bites deep. her voice is not dewy cobwebs, but stars and steel.” – The Green Man Review


  • Introduction by Lev Grossman
  • Reading Borges in Buenos Aires
  • Urchins, While Swimming
  • A Dirge for Prester John
  • Bones Like Black Sugar
  • Ghosts of Gunkanjima
  • The Anachronist’s Cookbook
  • La Serenissima
  • A Delicate Architecture
  • A Grey and Soundless Tide
  • Mother Is A Machine
  • The Days of Flaming Motorcycles
  • Fifteen Panels Depicting the Sadness of the Baku and the Jotai
  • Proverbs of Hell
  • Milk and Apples
  • Thread: A Triptych
  • The Ballad of the Sinister Mr. Mouth
  • Killswitch
  • The City of Blind Delight
  • The Maiden-Tree
  • The Psalm of the Second Body
  • The Hanged Man
  • The Secret History of Mirrors
  • Palimpsest
  • How to Build a Ladder to the Sun in Six Simple Steps
  • The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew
  • Oh, the Snow-Bound Earth, the Radiant Moon!
  • Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Elegy)
  • Secretario
  • The Harpooner at the Bottom of the World
  • How to Become a Mars Overlord
  • A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica
  • 13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time
  • Acknowledgements
updated 2010-12-23

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