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About Karen Heuler
Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Tin House to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction, and others. She has published four novels and a novella, and her fourth story collection, The Clockworm and Other Strange Stories, was published by Tartarus Press in 2018. She also teaches fiction writing at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.
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Featuring Joyce Carol Oates, Josh Malerman, Carmen Maria Machado, Paul Tremblay, Richard Kadrey, Stephen Graham Jones, Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Cassandra Khaw, Karen Heuler, Benjamin Percy, John Langan, Laird Barron, Jeffrey Ford, M. Rickert, Seanan McGuire, Gemma Files, and Genevieve Valentine.
In the state of Liberty, water is rationed at alarming prices, free speech is hardly without a cost, and Texas has just declared itself its own country. In this society, paranoia is well-suited because eyes and ears are all around, and they are judging. Always judging. This terrifying (and yet somehow vaguely familiar) terrain is explored via Eleanor – a young woman eagerly learning about the gifts of her magic through the support of her coven. But being a white witch is not as easy as they portray it in the books, and she’s already been placed under ‘house arrest’ with a letch named Stan, a co-worker who wronged her in the past and now exists in the form of a cat. A talking cat who loves craft beers, picket lines, and duping and ‘shooting’ people. Eleanor has no time for Stan and his shenanigans, because she finds herself helping another coven locate a missing witch which she thinks is mysteriously linked to the shortage of water in Liberty.
Hallie’s mother, Dale, goes to Manhattan to search for her. She drives in from rural New Jersey, passing abandoned cars and trucks, to make her way to the jammed George Washington Bridge, rejoicing with hymns and gospel and rock and opera.
The plague moves swiftly, and the city’s survivors form new communities, dealing with the rotting corpses, trying to re-establish a new infrastructure for the new order.
And odd things happen—angels come to earth, Christ drags his crucifix around Rockefeller Center, the Indian god Ganesh runs for mayor—but it doesn’t seem remarkable to the survivors. A man falls in love with a mermaid and decides to throw in his fortunes with hers, only to be attacked by an animal liberated from the zoo. Politics begins to assert itself, as does real estate issues, and it matters what—and who—you believe. It’s time to choose sides.
When Alyson Salky finds that a) her lover is having an affair with her best friend, b) he takes the dog with him when he moves out, and c) a man with worse credentials is hired over her at work, it’s time to make some major life decisions. The neighborhood fortune teller, Madame Hope, has promised she can make Alyson’s wishes come true—any wish, so why not a big one? As far as Alyson can determine, the problem with her life is that she’s getting all the crap that women get, and none of the free passes that men get. It’s time to switch—it’s time to see what life is like as a man—and while Madame Hope can get that done for her (in exchange for her soul), nothing really goes as planned. The devil, it turns out, has a sense of humor. But who will have the last laugh?