Brewer’s narrator recounts his past while hurtling through the Italian countryside on the Frecciarossa (the eponymous Red Arrow, an Italian high speed train) to a meeting that will alter his future. Plagued since youth by severe depression, which manifests as a haunting, ubiquitous Mist, he has recently undergone a novel treatment which has radically changed his perspective, allowing him to come to terms with his history and envision a life free from his crippling burden. But first, he must deal with the lone remaining thread tying him to his previous self. Written with elegant, painterly sentences and light touches of humor, Brewer’s tale examines memory, perception of time, the meaning of originality, and how these forces shape identity and self-perception.
The objects found on the planet New Discovery are at once fleshily repellent and strangely magnetic, and they are driving those aboard the Six-Thousand Ship slowly insane. Told in darkly funny and sometimes dreamlike statements from the fracturing crew, The Employees melds outer space psychological horror with perceptive commentary on the future of work. Like all great speculative fiction, Ravn's narrative asks us to consider what it is to be human and demonstrates what we might lose in the process of definition.
Alemán's collection of stories gives color and texture to a full tapestry of the Ecuadorian experience. Featuring a wide cast of memorable characters--from murderous spies to treasure hunters (who are literally out of their depth), and luchador movie stars to an American about to learn that the Amazon is not to be trifled with--these brief pieces elicit from the reader not just basic empathy, but emotions ranging from melancholy to laughter, demonstrating Alemán’s talent and confirming her status as an ambassador of Ecuadorian literature.