"A meticulous craftsman in the demanding short-story form, as well as a tactful, scalpel-wielding veteran of many a writers' workshop, Hugo-winner James Patrick Kelly (Wildlife) delivers 15 tight, deceptively simple tales with complex, often delayed reverberations."
Publishers Weekly, 8/12/2002



Fiction is stranger than reality especially when explored through the imagination of multiple-Hugo winner James Patrick Kelly. Consider a lad learning to "duck and cover" in the bomb shelter era, who discovers that he is the only chance Earth has to avert a nuclear holocaust—if only he can bring himself to commit an unspeakable act. The twelve-year-old's chances of success are very long indeed. Or what about a pair of hard-working coed medical students taking a break from the study grind to look for neuroromance? How do they end up with a lion-tamer and a banana salesman? Picking one of the Greek muses for a one-night stand can be hazardous—especially when you disobey her. And what is the greatest architect of his generation to do when mysterious aliens try to hire him to build a tomb for a goddess? Imagine a time traveler forced on a one-way trip millions of years into the future to find all she cared about—friends, family, civilization—undone? Mix contemporary fantasy with far out science fiction with cold horror with warm humanity with lovestories with candy artists and top with an alien chicken that doesn't like fruitcake. In this collection of fifteen stories, including one previously unpublished, enter the strange but oddly familiar worlds of James Patrick Kelly.

With an introduction by multiple-award-winner Connie Willis.
Cover art by Bob Eggleton.



"The overall effect of these tales is that while Kelly is something of a dark romantic with a fondness for getting his characters into tragic circumstances of isolation and alienation, he's also someone in love with the sheer narrative possibilities of SF, and with its old-fashioned capacity for wonder."
— Gary K. Wolfe, Locus, September 2002


Cloth, ISBN 1-930846-12-6
Book #22

$25.95 postpaid for U.S. orders only  

For non-USA orders, please read shipping fees information.


  • Read the James Patrick Kelly interview by Nick Gevers on SciFi Weekly

  • Read the New York Times Book Review

  • Read the CNN.com Entertainment News review

  • Read the Publishers Weekly review

  • Read the Locus Magazine review

  • Read the Rambles.net review

  • Read the SciFi Weekly review

  • Read the SciFi Dimensions review

  • Read the SFSite review

  • Read the review on Stephen Hunt's SF Crowsnest

  • Read the Albedo One review

  • Listen to the James Patrick Kelly interview on SciFi Dimensions (Requires RealPlayer)

  • Read an online excerpt of the James Patrick Kelly interview in Locus Magazine


  • View the full wraparound dust jacket art by Bob Eggleton




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