China Mieville

Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville

You'll find this book in science fiction but these stories truly transcend the genre. When extraterrestrials do appear, they do so in unlikely ways, such as remnants to be rediscovered in an archeological dig. More commonly, Miéville's tales traffic in the uncanny—card games disrupted by the appearance of "hidden suits" (cards that don't exist in the standard 52-card deck), a guardian of religious objects who addresses the idols in his care as if they were alive, the sudden appearance and disappearance of what Hogarth called "shapes of horror." One highlight is "Polynia," a story about the arrival of icebergs floating above London and how this bizarre event affects the lives of a group of schoolboys. Each story offers a glimpse into a different kind of world but Miéville's gift is to keep even his strangest stories rooted in the human experience—his characters are as striking as his inventive plots. Call it speculative fiction, call it weird fiction, call it what you will, this is a remarkable book of literary invention that brings to mind the work of Daphne DuMaurier and J.G. Ballard. – Kenneth Loosli