Easthampton, Massachusetts: Small Beer Press, 2011; $16.00 tpb; 200 pages
This is a collection of stories—nine in all, 6 reprinted and 3 original—that share a common theme, the effects of the apocalypse from the small end of the telescope. Or they demonstrate how large causes can have small, if very important, effects. Or they are comedies (and tragedies) of manners for the end of the world, as if Jane Austen really had written about zombies or pandemics or dirty bombs or economic collapse. And just like a Jane Austen heroine (or like Gloria Gaynor), people will survive. I read one of the stories in the volume, “Useless Things,” three years ago, and it has stayed with me. Many of the rest of these stories will stay with me, too. Strong characterization, vivid description, emphasis on the mundane courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances: these things make all the stories in the volume ring true.