Imagine a world populated by hideous trolls, time-traveling scientists, and intergalactic freighter captains—with smartphones and social media.
The World of Dew and Other Stories, chosen by Michelle Pretorius as the 2020 Blue Light Books Prize winner, invites readers into 18 different universes that have unexpected resonances with our own modern life. While these tales are unabashedly sci-fi and fantasy, Julian Mortimer Smith approaches each at a curious angle. Ghosts are cataloged using a Pokémon Go–like app, a soldier has to get enough upvotes on social media before he is allowed to take a shot, and a golden age of cooperation begins as societies around the world prepare for a looming pandemic of blindness. In addition to featuring stories that have appeared in some of the world's top speculative fiction outlets, The World of Dew and Other Stories also includes five new stories published here for the first time.
These tales are sometimes terrifying, sometimes touching, sometimes provocative, and occasionally very silly. They function both as windows through which readers can glimpse vast universes waiting to be explored and as mirrors reflecting our own reality back at us in a strange and unfamiliar light.
2. The World of Dew
3. Barb-the-Bomb and the Yesterday Boy
4. The Fumblers Alley Risk Emporium
5. The Mugger's Hymn
6. The Washerwoman and the Troll
7. Professor Jennifer Magda-Chichester's Time Machine
8. Joey LeRath's Rocketship
9. The Visible Spectrum
11. Anxiety Boy and the Confidence Men
13. The Monster
16. Keeping It Real
17. An Oral History of the City Beneath
18. The Surface of the Moon
Julian Smith's first collection is a box of umpteen delights: startling, magical, tender-hearted stories, from an imagination that seems endless. I was spellbound.~Sean Michaels, Giller Award-winning author of Us Conductors
Smith's enjoyable debut collection brings together 18 science fiction and fantasy stories, though the fantasy far outshines the sci-fi. . . . Fantasy lovers should seek this out.~Publishers Weekly
A dazzlingly imaginative and deftly crafted collection that runs the gamut of speculative fiction. The fresh, surprising worlds created in The World of Dew and Other Stories linger in the mind long after the covers have been closed.~Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's Daughter
Julian Mortimer Smith's The World of Dew and Other Stories enchants, delights, and terrifies, whether conjuring a violin that stops time, a gambling hall of impossible wonders, or an anxiety disorder so profound it has the potential to stop nuclear annihilation. Smith writes with crackling wit, tender emotion, and a knack for concocting complex moral quandaries that will stick with you long after the last page.~Anca L. Szilágyi, author of Daughters of the Air
The uniquely visualized tales of The World of Dew and Other Stories place traditional human struggles with mortality, love, and belonging into a panoply of new worlds.~Michele Sharpe, Foreword