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Novels and Novellas

The Splendid City

Heuler veers her speculative fiction toward the absurdly surreal here, introducing the ostensible protagonist only to have her get shot by a talking cat on the first page. The trigger-happy cat's name is Stan, and he and a witch named Eleanor have infiltrated a walled-off section of the former U.S., where constant spectacle keeps the masses locked in to the president's cult of personality, and where citizens search state-sponsored Wiggle, since everyone knows Google is biased. Stan and Eleanor each have a mission (hers is to find a missing witch; his is a treasure hunt) that send them into a bewildering landscape of misinformation where even the maps are "open to different perspectives" and the president is always watching. Whether readers find this closer to Orwell's Animal Farm or the film Don't Look Up probably depends on their capacity for commentary on the current moment. The dialogue is clever and the satire spot-on. The social commentary hits the nail on the head even if, occasionally, it lands a little on the nose as well.--Booklist

Texas has seceded from the US and named itself Liberty, ruled over by a president who gives the people what they want: daily parades, free nougat and plenty of surprises. Even being approached by a large talking cat named Stan doesn't seem too surprising to most citizens; maybe he's really a man with a strange skin disease? Eleanor, a young witch from the east, knows more about Stan's background than she likes to admit. She's been banished to Liberty and obliged to share a house with this annoying creature as penance for misusing a magic spell. She longs to be a good witch. Maybe, if she can prove her worth by helping the local coven find a missing member, she'll be allowed to return home – with or without Stan. A sharp, lively, funny contemporary fantasy with the feel of an up-to-date, more adult version of L Frank Baum's Oz books.--The Guardian








In Search of Lost Time

 "That aura you see? It's time. And I can sell it for you,  as much as you can steal"


Struck by a nasty disease, Hildy begins to see auras around people, and when she starts sampling them, she sees memories. Good, bad, used and unused, she learns that she has a unique talent—she can see and take other people’s time. And, she discovers, there’s an underground market for it. After all, who has enough time? The dying, especially, want to get more of it, but giving it to them means taking it from someone else. How moral is she? How will she juggle the black market’s strong-arm tactics, her own quandaries, and the surprising appearance of a figure who may be at the center of the market system that is time?

Glorious Plague

Who Says An Apocalypse Has to Be All Bad?

When a virus leaps the species barrier, people all over New York and New Jersey start singing and climbing to the rooftops, to the bridges, to lamp post and road sign, steeple and water tower, singing gloriously, triumphantly, tirelessly—and dying. When it’s all over, Manhattan has to rebuild a new society, and it seems to be having a lot of help in the form of angels, gods, and walking myths. What’s real? And does it really matter? It does to Dale, searching for her missing daughter, and to Omar, an entomologist searching for the cure, if there is one, with little interest from those in the grip of the new order.


Journey to Bom Goody

Why wouldn't you go there?

 Armed with televisions, VCRs, and generators, Forbes provides villagers in remote corners of the Amazon with the chance to study American culture through the videos he provides. Forbes is a well-intentioned yet foolish and grief-stricken man, trying to find some way to make a mark in the world.


He meets Tina, a scientist searching for medical cures she hopes to collect before the local medicine men and women disappear. They end up in the mystical village of Bom Goody, whence many cures are known to come, and where strange occurrences begin to happen,  mystifying both of them. The results of Forbes' experiment and the outcome of Tina's investigations are both far from what they expected.


The Made-up Man

Bargains with the Devil Can Be a Little Tricky


Alyson Salky is feeling trapped by her gender. She lost her boyfriend, and perhaps worse, her dog, to her "best friend" and was passed over for a promotion at work by a sniveling manipulative man who doesn't have an original thought in his head. Someone must be blamed! Someone must pay! These thoughts lead her to a seedy storefront where she encounters Madame Hope, a fortuneteller with strange abilities. Alyson ultimately makes a pact with this woman for a single wish: to change her gender. All Madame Hope asks for in return is her soul.


 What would you do to get what you want?


The Soft Room

What If You Couldn't Feel Pain?

*Booklist Starred Review* This absolutely stunning novel is told from the perspectives of twin girls, one of whom is born without the ability to feel any physical pain. The mesmerizing prose and deep characterizations nearly render the plot--while excellent in and of itself--almost unimportant. Meg, born with congenital analgesia, is in constant danger of sustaining some fatal injury that she would be unable to detect until too late for safety. Her "normal" twin sister, Abby, falls quickly into the role of protecting Meg from injury. Each is fascinated by the other's vastly different physical interactions with the world, and, at the same time, they face the normal struggles of growing into adults in the expected unique ways. Meg becomes a voyeur, always on the outskirts of sensation, both physically and emotionally, eventually driving Abby to seek her own life away from Meg. The two separate, but they find, as twins are known to do, that their very essence lies in their similarities and codependences. In the end, they are made to experience life as it seems to have been predetermined for them, with one caring for the other's life--but in a surprising fashion. This novel does not find its strength in the cliche "what does it mean to feel pain?" but, rather, in the wonderfully expressed self-examination by both women on ethics, values, and, indeed, love. Debi Lewis
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