This is one of those rare books of short stories that can challenge your view of reality. You should be able to hear a diverse collection of voices, values, designs and beliefs. Other Places does in 136 pages what few books can approach in many times that number of pages; it makes you think. Not each tale may be your proverbial cup of tea but whether you find yourself in “Nox’ pondering the nature of the inhabitants of a twilight world who seem to be an extension of humanity but then again…maybe not. Or viewing in “How to Be a Foreigner” the way we people of Earth might be seen by genuinely alien tourists. You will find your mind stretching a bit more than is called for in the everyday life we live. “Respite” is very likely the most frightening story I have read in ages. Frightening because the people who are doing the most harm are convinced they are doing the most good. It cuts too close to reality to ever allow you to feel comfortable. In all there are ten little gems here that are worth your time and the purchase price.
Prolific fantasy and horror writer Heuler continues defying convention and categorization in her latest collection of stories. The first tale, “The Rising Up,” wherein a young woman unexpectedly realizes she has a penis while engaging in dream combat, sets the stage for the weirdness to come. There is fairy tale opulence in “Twelve Sisters, Twelve Sisters, Ten,” in which a dozen sisters spend their evenings dancing in an underwater house. “The Apartments,” in which a woman visits her old haunts and discovers some unsettling personal information, is as much a stroll down memory lane as it is a meditation on narrative. Each story is as inventive as the last. Heuler’s prose illuminates the strangeness of both her characters and her settings. Establishing elaborate themes and morals is no easy feat in such short narrative arcs, but Heuler does it admirably, quickly laying the groundwork for her myriad of worlds, cultures, and travelers. There is no doubt as to Heuler’s creativity, but some of the stories have less pull than others, though the collection as a whole does not feel unbalanced. Exploring difficult questions with imaginative prose, Heuler leaves readers with much food for thought.
"Heuler manages to create a parody in this beautifully designed novel - a poke into all the religious versions of the end of the world and in doing so supplies us with human interest and the grand human comedy in the Greek sense. This is a glorious `what if' novel, told with such conviction that it seems entirely possible. Can the apocalypse be like this? The way things are going at present it is not outside the realm of possibility. How I would love to see the creators/producers/directors/audiences that constantly applaud every variation of Marvel comic book stories and related absurdities get hold of this book. Now THERE is entertainment."--Grady Harp, top Amazon reviewer
"This quirky and smart postapocalyptic novel works brilliantly ... " --Publishers Weekly
Check out the first chapter, up on Tor.com