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Ann VanderMeer

This Place Is Best Shunned

Allie and Rooster are heading down to Asheville for Rooster’s new gig, a cushy stint as artist-in-residence at UNC. Rooster is more of a con artist than maker of art, but Allie doesn’t mind, because he’s good-looking, charming, and values what she is: a girl with a keen eye for abandoned places and a knack for getting into them. But when they stumble upon an old backcountry church—the perfect backdrop for Rooster’s latest project—they discover that some “abandoned” places have a knack for keeping themselves occupied.

Arbitrium

Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. If Vashti is successful, she and Arena will reach a diplomatic agreement; if not, the Arenavirus infection will continue to spread, and humans will have to race to try to find a vaccine or treatment. As she navigates the diplomatic discussions, Vashti is also trying to connect with her daughter Alma, who lives on the other side of the country in a technology-averse commune. By the time the negotiation ends, Vashti discovers that Arenavirus have learned some impressive and deadly tricks from their interactions with humans.

Sword & Spore

This is how magic left the Kingdom and made room for democracy. Three supernatural beings created by an Omnipotent Mushroom God travel the multiverse until they are abandoned on a planet of stunning ecological diversity. They use their magic to rule over humans, but as their powers wane and a climate disaster looms, a young illiterate man is able to take the throne.

The Tale of Ak and Humanity

Citizens are distraught to learn of the latest decree from their leaders: each person is to be evaluated as to whether they deserve to live. Those found "unnecessary for life" will be asked to "leave life within 24 hours." Panic is alleviated when citizens learn that Ak, "a luminous person," will be in charge of the panels that are to evaluate citizens. Surely, only the "human rubbish" would be eliminated.

The Future Library

More than a hundred years from now, an arborist fighting to save the last remaining forest on Earth discovers a secret about the trees—one that changes not only her life, but also the fate of our world. Inspired by the real-life “Future Library,” a long-term environmental and literary public art project currently underway in the Norwegian wilderness.

Aptitude

Alena has momentarily escaped her world and its imminent gravitational collapse by cheating her way into the selection process of the Board of Cosmogamy. By passing this stringent exam, she may finally learn the secrets of building a universe from first principles. But the competition is smarter and better prepared, and even Alena’s cunning and mathematical talents may not be enough to uncover the answers she has been looking for. The appearance of a strange competitor reveals that Alena may not be the only candidate with hidden motives.

An Easy Job

Graff's official role is muscle for the Visigoth - but his personal mission is internally cataloguing all of his experiences to relay to the other beings from his home planet when they cross paths. His professional life rarely clashes with his identity, but when he realizes his newest mission is to take down one of his kind, everything becomes a bit less simple.

Masquerade Season

Pauly is a good son. When he brings home three beautiful Masquerades, he's expecting that his mother will be proud of him. But when his mother begins asking favors of his Masquerades, he realizes that being a good son sometimes means disobeying.

The Ashes of Around Twenty-Three Strangers

The world doesn't make sense. All rain has moved indoors, wrecking houses from the inside out while the skies remain cloudless. With ever greater devotion, people worship giant, inert, humanoid bodies as gods as civilization falls apart. Lucy, who has never been religious, has no way to properly mourn her brother after his untimely death. Now, a year later, she will travel south on a makeshift pilgrimage with the help of her best friend Carve, who was once himself a believer, trying to find peace and some better means of understanding the world.

Flight

As a girl, Maggie dreamed of joining the Sisters, a group of women who enjoy the status and attention afforded by their beautiful wings. Now, years later, she has wings of her own. But an encounter in the woods forces her to reckon with her past—and the painful price her wings demanded.

Everything’s Fine

Eric’s day is off to a rough start: his regional managers are in town, he’s running late to work, the moon seems to be falling apart, and he just can’t seem to get his tie right. At least he has his priorities straight: it’s the little things that matter. The world may be plunging into chaos, the neighborhood children might be mutating into abominations, but that doesn’t mean he can let his standards slip. If he and his co-workers can survive their nightmare walk to the office, then Eric has a plan for success...

The Night Soil Salvagers

The Night Soil Salvagers no longer need to perform the service they have provided for longer than memory can account for. Instead, they pass the nights in playful and profound acts of artistry, music, trickery, gardening, and honoring the city they know and belong to more so than anyone. Uncover the heart of this mysterious community through the tales they tell each other, the tales that others tell of them, and the scores of their Dadaesque nocturnes, as they strive to lessen the burden of the city on the Earth.

The Tourist

A young academic has been granted permission to travel to a mining outpost on a small planetoid far from the sun to study the culture of a small squatter population that lives in total darkness.

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