Tor.com is thrilled to reprint “The Bookstore at the End of America” by Charlie Jane Anders, as featured in her forthcoming short fiction collection Even Greater Mistakes, out on November 16, 2021.
The story first appeared in the anthology A People’s Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams.
In the words of the author:
Bookstores are my favorite places to hang out. Browsing through shelves and shelf-talkers never fails to cheer me up, even when the world is bleak AF—everything about a bookshop lets you know that you’re in a place where stories are celebrated, and you can never run out of discoveries. So when Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams asked me to contribute to A People’s Future of the United States, an anthology of stories set in a future USA, I knew I wanted to write about a bookseller struggling to hold things together. “The Bookstore at the End of America” came just a few months after I wrote “Don’t Press Charges,” and it’s another story that grapples with political nightmares—in this case, the slow dissolution of the United States into two countries that despise each other. But this story ended up being a lot less scary, because I can’t write about bookstores without nurturing a spark of hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Heads up: this story contains racism, violence, and implied transphobia.