Five Autobiographies and a Fiction

Lucius Shepard. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $45 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59606-555-0
Nebula winner Shepard (Life During Wartime) often steers his fiction toward faraway shores, but the bulk of this collection directly targets the American heartland. A painfully confessional introduction sets the stage for five “autobiographies”—might-have-been stories exploring facets of the author’s personal journey. In one, he’s a reluctant high school football star faced with an inexplicable supernatural eruption (“The Flock”); in another, he’s an author so self-absorbed as to be incapable of true evil (“Dog-Eared Paperback of My Life”). Some work better than others—the fever dream “Ditch Witch” packs a fuzzy-edged punch, while the revenge fantasy “Vacancy” is weakened by its inability to build enough of a case against its protagonist. But the collection closes strongly with the one true “fiction” it contains: “Rose Street Attractors,” an unflinching steampunk tale of obsession and lust. This honestly titled collection deals well and satisfyingly with deep truths. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
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