Dark Fiction Reviews: Fireside Fiction Company # 36 & 37

Turned in what will be December’s edition of my Locus review column. Squeezed in 27 stories.* (Wow, that’s three already!) I ran out of room to cover these tales below, but I also had been intending to recommend some new dark fiction for the witching season, so here you go!
Like many publications, Fireside Fiction Company celebrates the Halloween spirit with dark stories for October (Issue 37). Guest editor Daniel José Older hits home runs with all three. (Hey, live with some baseball metaphors! The Cleveland Indians** are in the World Series.)

firesideMelissa Moorer offers a creepy urban-legendesque tale with “The Get-Get Man.” The eight-year-old narrator is too young for her eloquence, but this is forgivable as her attitude is spot on and the descriptions of the titular character are both poetic and frightening.

Cassandra Khaw cuts close to the bone of dark reality in the near-future fictional world of “Speak” where editors have neural ports and the media doesn’t cover mere murders. (Although if a 19-year-old widow had been killed by a “self-propagating, self-modifying virus named Sutee” rather than “roasted alive in a crematory” by her family, it would make tech news.) Very scary future; very scary reflection on now. (BTW: Khaw’s become one of my favorite newer writers. I cover her “Hammers on Bone” for Tor.com and a story in The Dark in the Locus column.

Takes a really good piece of flash fiction to impress me, and Alyssa Wong (another new-ish favorite) impresses in the third, quite dark, October story. She does more than tug the heart strings with the encapsulated tragedy and mad science of “Rabbit Heart”—she wrenches those strands without mercy.

And as long as we are looking at Fireside Fiction Company… let’s catch up with September’s issue (#36):

In the near-future “Emergency Management Protocol,” C. C. S. Ryan imaginatively combines a relationship, how we can be isolated even though/because we are well networked, AIs, and a rescue attempt facilitated in part by a technologically advanced dildo. Excellent characterization of the narrator and, all-in-all, quite enjoyable.

“Delta Child” by Malon Edwards is another piece of flash. It’s shock-fiction about a guy, child of an experiment gone wrong, turned monstrous. For something so short, it depicts the narrator and even his the briefly seen baby mama well. Still, I’d like to have seen it developed as a more-nuanced, longer tale.

Not exactly horror but certainly gonzo weird: “Homesick” by Sarah Gailey. Crab-like, fortune-telling aliens that freeze as they tell your fortune (“She’s staring back at me with those ancient iridescent bug-eyes of hers. They’re starting to frost over—her eyelashes are limned with white and it’s spreading. She’s grinning at me.”)… Humanity at home on an alien planet… Earth abandoned… One desperate woman. This story by Gailey is awesomely weird. It twists the whole “alien invasion” trope inside out AND then tips it on its head.Cool stuff.



  • The Dark (10/16 & 11/16)
  • Tor.com (9/11/16 & 10/11/16)
  • Uncanny #12 (9-10/16)
  • Black Static #54 (9-10/16)
  • Nightmare #48 (9/16)
  • Nightmare #49 (10/16)
  • And stories from:
  • Shimmer #33 9/16
  • Apex Magazine #89 (10/16)
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #209 (10/16)
  • Strange Horizons (10/3/16)

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**Go Tribe! The kids are all right! This team! Wow!

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The Quest for Library/Librarian Short Speculative Fiction


I am working on Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore, a reprint anthology for Prime Books.

I’ve compiled the following lists of stories. (No, I have not read all of them yet. Some I may not be able to track down at all. Some may not fit the theme. Some are probably not genre. Etc.) But if you have or know of another speculative fiction (SF/F/H) short story/novelette/novella about a librarian (or librarians) or a library (or libraries)—let me know! Email paula@prime-books.com Deadline September 16!

(Art above is by Julie Dillon)

[Alphabetical by Author; ignore notations]

NEWER Stories

  • Edoardo Albert, “The Last Librarian, Or a Short Account of the End of the World” (Daily SF)
  • Therese Arkenberg, “The Storms in Arisbat”
  • Alec Austin, “Blood Remembers”
  • Kage Baker, “The Books”
  • Kelly Barnhill, “The Taxidermist’s Other Wife”
  • Elizabeth Bear, “In Libres”
  • Gregory Benford, “The Sigma Structure Symphony”(SETI Library)
  • Matthew Bey, “The Secret of Pogopolis”
  • Richard Bowes, “There’s a Hole in the City” (librarian protag)
  • Jon L. Breen, “The Adventure of the Librarian’s Ghost”
  • Gary A. Braunbeck, “Paper Cuts” (just books, no library?)
  • Damien Broderick, “Time Considered as a Series of Thermite Burns in No Particular Order” (destroy Martian plague in library)
  • P.D. Cacek, “The Grave” (about?)
  • Jason K. Chapman, “Brief Candle”
  • Amal El-Mohtar, “The Green Book”
  • Ruthann Emrys, “Those Who Watch”
  • Esther M. Friesner, “Death and the Librarian”
  • Shaenon K. Garrity. “Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel” (Borges take-off)
  • Glenn Lewis Gillette, “She Called Me Sweetie” (library enough?)
  • Erin M. Hartshorn, “Matchmaker”
  • Xia Jia (translated by Ken Liu), “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”
  • Naim Kabir, “On the Origin of Song”
  • Ellen Klages, “In the House of the Seven Librarians”
  • Yoon Ha Lee, “Effigy Nights” (about library?)
  • Yoon Ha Lee, “Architectural Constants” (only one a librarian?)
  • Thomas Ligotti, “The Library of Byzantium”
  • Kelly Link, “Magic for Beginners (TV show/magic librarians)
  • H. P. Lovecraft, “The Shadow Out of Time”
  • Scott Lynch, “In the Stacks”
  • Ken Macleod, “The Vorkuta Event”
  • Jennifer Mason-Black, “In the Library of Souls”
  • Sarah Monette, [Kyle Murchison Booth]
  • Sunny Moraine, “It Is Healing, Never Whole” (enough?)
  • Steven L. Peck, “A Short Stay in Hell” (novella 106 pp) ?
  • Steven Piziks, “Hoard”
  • Steven Piziks,“A Quiet Knight’s Reading”
  • Tim Pratt, “The Fairy Library”
  • Tim Pratt, “Care and Feeding (DSM)
  • Robert Reed, “A Woman’s Best Friend”
  • E. Saxey, “The Librarian’s Dilemma”
  • Ken Scholes. “Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise”
  • Carrie Vaughn, “The Librarian’s Daughter”
  • Joshia Viola, “The Librarian”
  • Connie Willis, “Nonstop to Portales”
  • A. C. Wise, “With Tales in Their Teeth, From the Mountain They Came”
  • Caroline Yoachim, “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death”

* * * *


  • Poul Anderson,“Wolfram” (nongenre?)
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “Book of Sand”
  • Ray Bradbury, “Exchange” +
  • Grant Burns, “A Note from Senora Sector” ?
  • L. Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt, “No Forwarding Address”
  • Ramsey Campbell, “The Enchanted Fruit”
  • Ramsey Campbell, “In the Shadow”
  • Ramsey Campbell, “Call First” (library porter ?)
  • Orson Scott Card, “The Originist”
  • Fred Chappell, “The Lodger” +
  • Richard T. Chizmar, “Like Father, Like Son”?
  • August W. Derleth, “The Sandwin Compact”
  • August W. Derleth, “The Slayers and the Slain”
  • Hal Draper, “MS Fnd in Lbry” (fluff)
  • Mircea Eliade, “Nights at Serampore”
  • Elizabeth Emmett, “Enchantment +
  • Carol Emshwiller, “The Circular Library of Stones” +
  • Carol Emshwiller, “The Word Was to the Wise” +
  • Neil Ferguson, “The Second Third of C.” +
  • Michael Flynn, “Mammy Morgan Played the Organ; Her Daddy Beat the Drum” +
  • Gerald W. Gabbard, “More Things” (fluff)
  • Nikki Giovanni, “The Library” +
  • M. R. James, “The Tractate Middoth” +
  • David H. Keller, MD, “The Cerebral Library” (1931)
  • S. King, “The Library Policeman” (Four Past Midnight)
  • Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Phoenix” +
  • Ursula K. LeGuin, “True Love” (nongenre) -
  • Martin Loran, “An Ounce of Dissension”
  • Jack McDevitt, “The Fort Moxie Branch” +
  • Mary C. McKinlay, “Like a Diamond in the Sky” –
  • Steven Millhauser, “The Library of Morpheus” (Excerpt from novel?)
  • Hector H. Munro (Saki), “The Story of St. Vespaluus” +
  • Margaret Oliphant, “The Library Window” (1896)?
  • Edmund L. Pearson, “Their Just Reward” +
  • James Tiptree, Jr., The Starry Rift (3 novellas: Librarian Moa Blue, Chief Assistant Librarian used as framing device?)
  • “Lizard Lust” Lisa Tuttle ? /
  • Warren W. Wager, “A Woman’s Life” ?
  • Augusta Walker, “The Day of the Cipher”
  • Harold Wooster “Machina Versatalis: A Modern Fable”-

Locus Looks at Short Fiction: Paula Guran

If you subscribe to Locus, and flip (digitally or with a digit) to page 19 of the new June issue, you will notice “Locus Looks at Books: Paula Guran”…well, that is what it says in my PDF version… Oops! My assignment was not to look at books, but at periodicals—specifically periodicals with short dark fiction. We’re on a trial run for now, with the column running every other issue. First up, this time around:

LOCUS June 2016

LOCUS June 2016

  • Nightmare 4/16, 5/16
  • The Dark 5/16
  • Cemetery Dance 4/16
  • Black Static 3-4/16
  • Strange Aeons #19

And no, contractually, I can’t republish the reviews here (or anywhere) for a while. Read Locus.*

My next deadline is in mid-June (for publication in the August issue). I am trying to be as current as possible considering the six+-week gap, so I would appreciate getting original fiction for any upcoming (June-July-August) issues as soon as possible.

For the last seven or so years, I’ve been looking at dark fantasy and horror fiction from an annual P.O.V. for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror series, i.e. I haven’t been looking at WHEN anything was published as long as it fell within the year I was covering, nor was I paying all that much attention (initially) to what was a periodical and what was an anthology.

Now it matters! At least for these purposes.

So, if you edit or publish a periodical (or what is supposed to be a periodical) heads up! I need to see your original fiction on a timely basis. Online, print, whatever. Edited, yes, but it doesn’t need to be the final final version or publication lay-out. Nor do I need the entire issue, just the original fiction. Word docs or rtf will do.

For now, at least, I’m looking only at periodicals for Locus. Anthologies and collections I still need for “year’s best,” but for the next deadline—only periodicals.


  1. I may not be able to cover your publication. I have limited room. (But I definitely can’t review it if I never see it at all. This holds true for Year’s Best, too) No promises.
  2. I don’t know what the hell “horror” or “dark fantasy” or “dark fiction” is either. I have broad definitions. Try me. You can get some idea of what I think from What the Hell Do You Mean by “Dark Fantasy and Horror”?, the first introduction for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010.
  3. I regularly find great dark stuff in periodicals that are not necessarily all dark. So, I may review just the dark stuff. Don’t really know.
  4. Authors: Sorry, but for this I need the material from the editor or publisher of the magazine.
  5. I’ll try not to duplicate the efforts of Gardner Dozois or Rich Horton, who both review short fiction for Locus, but that may happen.
  6. Reviews are opinion. I strive to be a fair, professional reviewer. I am not a cheerleader.
  7. Yes, I am qualified: I reviewed regularly for Publishers Weekly for over a decade, was review editor for the original print incarnation of Fantasy for a few years (returning in 2009 to edit reviews for its online version), a columnist for Cemetery Dance for five years, and editor for the print section (reviewing, interviewing, and writing articles about sf/f/h) of CFQ (Cinemafantastique) Magazine (2004-2006) I served as nonfiction editor for Weird Tales magazine in 2011. I am a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Email material (or ask questions): paula@prime-books.com or paulaguran@paulaguran.com.

Spread the word!


*If you are one of those folks who don’t feel Locus pays enough attention to the dark side…hey, obviously they are trying to do something about it or I would not have this gig.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu by Paula Guran

The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu

by Paula Guran

Giveaway ends June 20, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Call for Submissions: Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2017

YBDFH(Thought I posted this in February when I posted on Prime Books site, but evidently not…)

As the editor of the anthology series The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (Prime Books) I am reading for the 2017 edition, which will cover material published in 2016. (The 2016 edition—seventh in the series—will be published this July.)

We define “dark fantasy” and “horror” broadly; it can also include dark science fiction. Try reading the previous previous volumes or read: www.prime-books.com/intro-ybdfh2010/

Guidelines: The work must be published during the calendar year of 2016. Publishers and Editors: You need not send a physical book/issue; a PDF emailed to me will be fine. (Ebook if there’s no other alternative.) Authors: Direct submissions to the editor can be made, but try to get your publisher to send the entire volume if possible. (PDF, Word doc, or RTF are preferred.) Readers: Sincere suggestions are always appreciated, just email me. Send submissions to: paula@prime-books.com, subject: YBDF&H. If a physical copy is submitted please email me for mailing address.

Deadline: December 1, 2016. If your work/publication is being published in December, please try to get it to me in some form by that date. Overall: The earlier I get the material the better.

Please post and/or pass this on to others.



CthulhuCover-300UK: 16 April 2016
Publisher: Robinson(14 April 2016)
496 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1472120035
ISBN-13: 978-1472120038
UK Kindle Ebook

US: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Running Press
ISBN-10: 0762456205
ISBN-13: 978-0762456208

An outstanding anthology of original stories inspired by H. P. Lovecraft from authors who do not merely imitate, but re-imagine, re-energize, and renew his concepts in ways relevant to today’s readers. Fresh new fiction that explores our modern fears and nightmares. From the depths of R’lyeh to the heights of the Mountains of Madness, some of today’s best weird fiction writers—both established award-winning authors and exciting new voices—THE MAMMOTH BOOK of CTHULHU collects tales of cosmic horror that traverse terrain created by Lovecraft and create new eldritch geographies to explore . . .


  • “In Syllables of Elder Seas” by Lisa L. Hannett
  • “The Peddler’s Tale, or, Isobel’s Revenge” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • “It’s All the Same Road in the End” by Brian Hodge
  • “Caro in Carno” by Helen Marshall
  • “The Cthulhu Navy Wife” by Sandra McDonald
  • “Those Who Watch” by Ruthanna Emrys
  • “A Clutch” by Laird Barron
  • “Just Beyond the Trailer Park” by John Shirley
  • “The Sea Inside” by Amanda Downum
  • “Outside the House, Watching for the Crows” by John Langan
  • “Alexandra Lost” by Simon Strantzas
  • “Falcon-and-Sparrows” by Yoon Ha Lee
  • “A Shadow of Thine Own Design” by W. H. Pugmire
  • “Backbite” by Norman Partridge
  • “In the Ruins of Mohenjo-Daro” by Usman T. Malik
  • “Legacy of Salt” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • “I Do Not Count the Hours” by Michael Wehunt
  • “An Open Letter to Mister Edgar Allan Poe, from a Fervent Admirer” by Michael Shea
  • “I Dress My Lover in Yellow” by A. C. Wise
  • “Deep Eden” by Richard Gavin
  • “The Future Eats Everything” by Don Webb
  • “I Believe That We Will Win” by Nadia Bulkin
  • “In the Sacred Cave” by Lois H. Gresh
  • “Umbilicus” by Damien Angelica Walters
  • “Variations on Lovecraftian Themes” by Veronica Schanoes


  • There is an earlier version of the cover on display in various places online (including US Amazon). This is the correct cover. You can click the image here to see larger version.
  • I do not have copies as yet (and neither do the authors). There are no ARCs. I should be receiving some UK print editions to send out as review copies. Right now I can currently provide an unproofed PDF to bona fide reviewers only. Email me at paula@prime-books.com
  • Yes, it is over 150,000 words of ORIGINAL FICTION not REPRINTS.
  • It seems as if this were finished aeons ago...

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas: 2016 ToC and Cover

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas: 2016
Edited by Paula Guran

2016YBSF&FNovellasThe second volume of Prime Books’ annual anthology series collecting some of the year’s best novella-length science fiction and fantasy. Novellas, longer than short stories but shorter than novels, are a rich rewarding literary form that can fully explore tomorrow’s technology, the far reaches of the future, thought-provoking imaginings, fantastic worlds, and entertaining concepts with all the impact of a short story as well as the detailed depth of a novel. Gathering a wide variety of excellent science fiction and fantasy, this anthology of “short novels” showcases the talents of both established masters and new writers.

“The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 2015)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale” by C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans, Mythic Delirium Books)
“Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor (Binti, Tor.com)
“The Last Witness” by K. J. Parker (The Last Witness, Tor.com)
“Johnny Rev” by Rachel Pollack (F&SF, Jul/Aug 2015)
“Inhuman Garbage,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s, March 2015)
“Gypsy,” Carter Scholz (F&SF, Nov/Dec 2015)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman Malik (The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Tor.com)
“What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Bao Shu, translated by Ken Liu (F&SF, Mar/Apr 2015)

The cover of this year’s edition features original art by Julie Dillon!


The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 ToC

Computer designed grunge border and aged textured backgroundThe Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2016
Edited By Paula Guran

Macabre meetings, sinister excursions, and deadly relationships; uncanny encounters; a classic ghost story featuring an American god; a historical murderer revived in a frightening new iteration; innovative Lovecraftian turns; shadowy fairy tales and weird myths; strange children, the unexpected, the supernatural, the surreal, and the all-too real . . . tales of the dark. Such stories have always fascinated us, and modern authors carry on the disquieting traditions of the past while inventing imaginative new ways to unsettle us. Chosen from a wide variety of venues, these stories are as eclectic and varied as shadows. This volume of 2015’s best dark fantasy and horror offers more than 500 pages of tales from some of today’s finest writers of the fantastique—sure to delight as well as disturb.

Alphabetical by Author Last Name:

  • “The Door” by Kelley Armstrong (Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong, Tachyon)
  • “Snow” by Dale Bailey (Nightmare, June 2015)
  • “1Up” by Holly Black (Press Start to Play, ed. Adams, Vintage)
  • “Seven Minutes in Heaven” by Nadia Bulkin (Aickman’s Heirs, ed. Strantzas, Undertow)
  • “The Glad Hosts” by Rebecca Campbell (Lackington’s #7)
  • “Hairwork” by Gemma Files (She Walks in Shadows, eds. Moreno-Garcia & Stiles, Innsmouth Free Press)
  • “Black Dog” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, William Morrow)
  • “A Shot of Salt Water” by Lisa L. Hannett (The Dark #8)
  • “The Scavenger’s Nursery” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Shimmer # 24)
  • “Daniel’s Theory About Dolls” by Stephen Graham Jones (The Doll Collection, ed. Datlow, Tor)
  • “The Cripple and Starfish” by Caítlin R. Kiernan (Sirenia Digest #108)
  • “The Absence of Words” by Swapna Kishore (Mythic Delirium #1.3)
  • “Corpsemouth” by John Langan (The Monstrous, ed. Datlow, Tachyon)
  • “Cassandra” by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld # 102)
  • “Street of the Dead House” by Robert Lopresti (nEvermore, eds. Kilpatrick & Soles, EDGE)
  • “Mary, Mary” by Kirstyn McDermott (Cranky Ladies of History, eds. Roberts & Wessely, Fablecroft)
  • “There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire, The Doll Collection, ed. Datlow, Tor)
  • “Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills (Nightscript 1, ed. Muller, Chthonic Matter)
  • “The Deepwater Bride” by Tamsyn Muir (F&SF Jul-Aug)
  • “The Greyness” by Kathryn Ptacek (Expiration Date, ed. Kilpatrick, EDGE)
  • “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson (Clarkesworld # 101)
  • “Those” by Sofia Samatar (Uncanny #3)
  • “Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma (Tor.com)
  • “Windows Underwater” by John Shirley (Innsmouth Nightmares, ed. Gresh, PS Publishing)
  • “Ripper” by Angela Slatter (Horrorology, ed. Jones, Quercus)
  • “The Lily and the Horn” by Catherynne M. Valente (Fantasy #59)
  • “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars, Apex)
  • “The Body Finder” by Kaaron Warren (Blurring the Line, ed. Young, Cohesion)
  • “The Devil Under the Maison Blue” by Michael Wehunt (The Dark #10)
  • “Kaiju maximus®: “So various, So Beautiful, So New” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Fantasy #59)

Warrior Women

So I just realized I never posted the cover (click the image below for a larger version of the cover; art by the fabulous Julie Dillon) or contents of Warrior Women and now wanted to mention the starred Publishers Weekly review. So, first things first:

Warrior-200Warrior Women, edited by Paula Guran

From fantastic legends and science fictional futures come compelling tales of powerful women—or those who discover strength they did not know they possessed—who fight because they must, for what they believe in, for those they love, to simply survive, or who glory in battle itself. Fierce or fearful, they are courageous and honorable—occasionally unscrupulous and tainted—but all warriors worthy of the name.

Content (alphabetical by author last name):
• “They Tell Me There Will be No Pain” by Rachel Acks
• “Love Among the Talus” by Elizabeth Bear
• “The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile” by Aliette de Bodard
• “Anukazi’s Daughter” by Mary Gentle
• “England Under the White Witch” by Theodora Goss
• “Soul Case” by Nalo Hopkinson
• “Not That Kind of War” by Tanya Huff
• “Wonder Maul Doll” by Kameron Hurley
• “Joenna’s Ax” by Elaine Isaak
• “The Sea Troll’s Daughter” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
• “Eaters” by Nancy Kress
• “Northern Chess” by Tanith Lee
• “The Knight of Chains, The Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee
• “In the Loop” by Ken Liu
• “Dying With Her Cheer Pants On” by Seanan McGuire
• “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” by George R. R. Martin
• “Naratha’s Shadow” by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
• “Hand to Hand” by Elizabeth Moon
• “And Wash Out by Tides of War” by An Owomoyela
• “Prayer” by Robert Reed
• “The Application of Hope” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
• “Boy Twelve” by Jessica Reisman
• “The Girls From Avenger” by Carrie Vaughn
• “Become a Warrior” by Jane Yolen

Now, for the review…

Publishers Weekly Starred Review:

Two dozen stories of women warriors form this epic anthology of stories about those forced to fight, those who chose to fight regardless of odds, those who ran from their destiny as warriors, and those who will end war at any cost. In Caitlín R. Kiernan’s “The Sea Troll’s Daughter,” the titular daughter of a fearsome beast reluctantly confronts the woman who slew her father. In Carrie Vaughn’s nonspeculative “The Girls from Avenger,” a WWII pilot tries to determine the cause of her friend’s mysterious crash. An immortal wandering warrior meets an immortal prisoner in George R.R. Martin’s hopeful but bleak “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr.” Spaceship captain Tory Sabin must battle bureaucracy and physics to locate a missing friend in “The Application of Hope” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The warriors include girls as well as grown women: young Thien Bao is offered the chance to end a cataclysmic war at an unimaginable cost in Aliette de Bodard’s “The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile,” and a girl who discovers her father is a “monster” grows into a woman who tries to save others from his fate in Ken Liu’s “In the Loop.” Each story contains strength and compassion, even when the personal cost is high. The depictions of battle and trauma are rarely graphic, but they’re as hard-hitting as the subject demands. This is a truly impressive accomplishment for Guran and her contributors.