Another outstanding collection of science fiction stories by Karen Heuler, whose previous collection, THE INNER CITY, blew me away. This is sf that focuses on character, predicament, and absurdity rather than science and technology, and as such it may not be to the taste of all sf enthusiasts, but if you like the weird, fantastical, and occasionally irrational literary-speculative hybrid fiction of authors like Kelly Link, you’ll like Heuler’s work, too.
Of the nine stories and one poem collected in OTHER PLACES, my favorites include “The Apartments,” a surreal tale about a woman who discovers all the apartments in which she used to live in New York City are occupied by people from her past (this story was also nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award); “What They See on Nox,” in which colonists on a distant planet encounter creatures that might be ghosts; and “The Moons of Martle Hart,” which plays with suspicion and paranoia as an astronaut begins to wonder if her only crewmate on a spaceship is human or something else. I want to give a special shout out to the story “Which Side Is the Other Side?” as well for being the funniest story in a collection where there’s often a deep well of humor lurking just beneath the surface.
Heuler’s work continues to impress and amaze me. If there’s one writer working in speculative fiction today who isn’t getting the attention she deserves, it’s Heuler. I hope more people will discover her work soon. If they do, I have no doubt they’ll become a fan like me.