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Beautifully crafted, unfailingly strange, and always moving, Susan Palwick's stories shift effortlessly between fantasy and science fiction, magical realism and horror. Here you will encounter aliens, ghosts, and robots, along with a colorful assortment of eccentric and vulnerable humans. You will see souls trapped in lucite, witness the operations of a magical measuring t Beautifully crafted, unfailingly strange, and always moving, Susan Palwick's stories shift effortlessly between fantasy and science fiction, magical realism and horror. Here you will encounter aliens, ghosts, and robots, along with a colorful assortment of eccentric and vulnerable humans. You will see souls trapped in lucite, witness the operations of a magical measuring tape, and watch the oldest woman on a generation ship bequeath a precious Terran relic to a young friend. Collecting tales published in markets such as Tor.com, Asimov's, F&SF, and Lightspeed, All Worlds are Real also includes three new pieces exclusive to this volume.


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Beautifully crafted, unfailingly strange, and always moving, Susan Palwick's stories shift effortlessly between fantasy and science fiction, magical realism and horror. Here you will encounter aliens, ghosts, and robots, along with a colorful assortment of eccentric and vulnerable humans. You will see souls trapped in lucite, witness the operations of a magical measuring t Beautifully crafted, unfailingly strange, and always moving, Susan Palwick's stories shift effortlessly between fantasy and science fiction, magical realism and horror. Here you will encounter aliens, ghosts, and robots, along with a colorful assortment of eccentric and vulnerable humans. You will see souls trapped in lucite, witness the operations of a magical measuring tape, and watch the oldest woman on a generation ship bequeath a precious Terran relic to a young friend. Collecting tales published in markets such as Tor.com, Asimov's, F&SF, and Lightspeed, All Worlds are Real also includes three new pieces exclusive to this volume.

30 review for All Worlds are Real: Short Fictions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gabi

    A short story collection with surprisingly even, high quality! I'm used to collections having some jewels for me and several bummers that leave me with a shoulder shrug. But not with this one by Susan Palwick. There was no story that would have been 5 stars for me, but most of the stories get easily 4 stars. Palwick focuses on human condition in her writing in often quite weird, bordering on horror, scenarios. She has this understanding for being the odd one out that I dearly love in SF short stor A short story collection with surprisingly even, high quality! I'm used to collections having some jewels for me and several bummers that leave me with a shoulder shrug. But not with this one by Susan Palwick. There was no story that would have been 5 stars for me, but most of the stories get easily 4 stars. Palwick focuses on human condition in her writing in often quite weird, bordering on horror, scenarios. She has this understanding for being the odd one out that I dearly love in SF short stories. All of the works in this collection are moving and thoughtful, presented in an agreeable prose - exactly like I want my readings to be. Immersing in her stories felt comfortable like visiting an old friend, each tinged with melancholy as well as with the notion of 'I know how you feel.' Definitely an author I have to read more of. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    My review is solely for the three stories listed. I may get to the others, if I see the book, or find more online. My reaction to other Palwick stories I've read over the years has been mixed. ● Here's the Matisse-loving singing space-cucumbers story, "Cucumber Gravy" (2001): http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Light (mostly) and fun. 3.7 stars, recommended. The first two stories in the collection are in the free Kindle sample you can get at Amazon: ● "Windows" (2014): a woman is visiting her s My review is solely for the three stories listed. I may get to the others, if I see the book, or find more online. My reaction to other Palwick stories I've read over the years has been mixed. ● Here's the Matisse-loving singing space-cucumbers story, "Cucumber Gravy" (2001): http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Light (mostly) and fun. 3.7 stars, recommended. The first two stories in the collection are in the free Kindle sample you can get at Amazon: ● "Windows" (2014): a woman is visiting her son in prison. Her daughter, a crewman on a generation starship, has sent a recorded birthday greeting to play for her brother. Then Mom gets some bad news. Well-written but depressing: 2.7 stars ● "The Shining Hills" (2017). An unhappy young woman is looking for a portal to Faerie. A well-meaning policeman tries to help her. Good but gloomy, 2.5 stars. Also online, not read yet: "Homecoming" (2013, novelette): https://www.tor.com/2013/07/10/homeco... "Recoveries" (2018, novelette): https://www.tor.com/2018/06/20/recove... TOC and story histories are here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?7... That's where I saw the online copy of "Cucumber Gravy" Gary K. Wolfe's review at Locus: https://locusmag.com/2020/02/gary-k-w... Excerpt: "In her introduction to All Worlds are Real, Jo Walton correctly notes that Susan Palwick is “definitely not as well known as a writer this good ought to be at this point in her career.” While one reason for this is that she’s not been especially prolific – four novels and one prior collection in a career dating back to 1985 – I suspect another is that Palwick’s deeply moral fictions don’t really emerge from the traditions of SF and fantasy so much as they kidnap those traditions for their own purposes. Palwick describes herself “a proud member of the Christian Left,” and while there are themes of faith and spirituality in her fiction, that’s in no way indicative of a Sunday school imagination: few other writers I can think of would begin one story in the gift shop of Dante’s hell (“Lucite”), or set another in a BDSM dungeon after the Rapture (“Sanctuary”), or feature Matisse-loving singing space cucumbers haunting a Nevada drug dealer’s home (“Cucumber Gravy”)."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Berni Phillips

    Susan Palwick doesn't publish often, but when she does, it's worth the wait. These are stories that will make you think, that will touch your heart and your soul. We can all identify with the feeling of not fitting in or with feeling like others are willfully denying reality. Palwick explores these topics and many others, giving us perfect little gems that we will return to, over and over.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindy

    I would retitle this one Chicken Soup for the Granola Christian Soul.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hanscom

    Good collection of bittersweet and thoughtful short stories that often left me pausing to consider one before moving on to the next. Particular favorites are “Cucumber Gravy”, “Lucite”, “Homecoming”, “Remote Presence”, and “Recoveries”.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    Susan Palwick is a wonderful writer. Period. Full stop. I put it that way because the way she writes is deceptive: it is so fluid and well structured and so easy to read that you don't realize all the craft that's in it, unless you slow down, pay attention, look for the foreshadowing and notice the way she's leading up to the main point. The brief introductions she gives to each story usually tells the idea that came to her that started her off, but the craft of the story is all her own. Ideas ar Susan Palwick is a wonderful writer. Period. Full stop. I put it that way because the way she writes is deceptive: it is so fluid and well structured and so easy to read that you don't realize all the craft that's in it, unless you slow down, pay attention, look for the foreshadowing and notice the way she's leading up to the main point. The brief introductions she gives to each story usually tells the idea that came to her that started her off, but the craft of the story is all her own. Ideas are, basically, a dime a dozen. Every author has a quip about a friend or acquaintance who said to them “I've got this great idea for a story – I'll tell it to you, then all you have to do is write it out.” As if ideas were all that there was to storytelling. Reading a collection of stories like this shows an author's ongoing concerns. With Palwick, it seems to be the vital role that connections between people serve to mitigate the rolling disaster that humans can do. Family, including those who don't share a blood tie, is important. Resolve to care for others is critical. Her characters feel real, and their dialogue rings true. They tell wonderful stories, even the ones that are heartbreaking. Highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    It took me a long time to read this collection of stories because I needed to give each one a bit of space to settle. Many of them ended with me being a bit teary, yet more understanding of how life can be so hard, yet tempered with kindness and hope. This is not a common reaction to science fiction. My most succinct description of SF is that it's an exploration of what it means to be human. Maybe that describes all literature but SF is mostly what I read. And these stories are deeply about what It took me a long time to read this collection of stories because I needed to give each one a bit of space to settle. Many of them ended with me being a bit teary, yet more understanding of how life can be so hard, yet tempered with kindness and hope. This is not a common reaction to science fiction. My most succinct description of SF is that it's an exploration of what it means to be human. Maybe that describes all literature but SF is mostly what I read. And these stories are deeply about what it means to be human. Very much worth reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shel

    Fun, quirky, and compassionate stories. Every story pulls you in and makes you feel. Reminds me of Karen Joy Fowler's "What I Didn't See, and Other Stories" another collection where every story grabs attention. Also, in the vein of Carol Emshwiller. I'd previously read --and loved-- some of these stories in Lightspeed Magazine, "The Shining Hills," and "Remote Presence" and was happy to revisit them here. I particularly love "Remote Presence." "Hideous Flowerpots" was also a standout for me as I Fun, quirky, and compassionate stories. Every story pulls you in and makes you feel. Reminds me of Karen Joy Fowler's "What I Didn't See, and Other Stories" another collection where every story grabs attention. Also, in the vein of Carol Emshwiller. I'd previously read --and loved-- some of these stories in Lightspeed Magazine, "The Shining Hills," and "Remote Presence" and was happy to revisit them here. I particularly love "Remote Presence." "Hideous Flowerpots" was also a standout for me as I find myself in quite the Hideous Flowerpots stage of life. Completely agree with Jo Walton's introduction and will echo her, "Look, look, she's so great, look over here!" If you're reading science fiction and not reading Palwick ??? you're missing out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Warren Dunham

    I'm usually not a big fan of anthologies. I like short stories just not them bundled together they often don't mesh well together and will very widely in quality. This was different the stories had consistent quality, felt coherent and felt like they went with each other.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelley George

    Not my style. Didn't grab my attention.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Coggin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Foley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ardis

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joseph J

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leith H. Eades

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Folk-Williams

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Duncan Coulter

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jthack

  21. 5 out of 5

    BOB RUST

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Dennis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ccaracal

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt Hunt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wordweaverlynn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark Schebel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alan Oehler

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zoey M

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Hardin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonny

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