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Pain. Pleasure. The sensation of touch...we feel everything through our skin, that delicate membrane separating "I" from "other," protecting the very essence of self. Until it breaks. Or changes. Or burns. What would you do if you were the one called on to save humanity, and the price you had to pay was becoming something other than human? Or if healing your body meant losing the only person you've ever loved? Wander through worlds where a woman craves even a poisonous touch...a man's deformities become a society's fashion...genetic regeneration keeps the fires of Hell away...and painted lovers risk everything to break the boundaries of their caste system down. Separate your mind from your flesh and come in. Welcome...Table of Contents "For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great" "Big Sister/Little Sister" "Immortal Sin" "Flood" "The Call" "Captive Girl" "Last Bus" "The Last Stand of the Elephant Man" "Songs of Lament" "Firebird" "Brushstrokes" "Pelland handles difficult topics with assured storytelling chops, bringing us to the brink of tears, fear, desire, and beyond. Worth your time AND money AND sincere attention."
-Steven Gould, author of Jumper "Her already-glowing reputation may still be just a hint of promising light on the horizon of those who like their fantastic fiction smart, imaginative, and driven by the mysteries of the human spirit, but each new story as brilliant as 'Brushstrokes' and 'The Last Stand of the Elephant Man' brings her inevitable future even closer. Trust me on this: Jennifer Pelland's star has only just begun to rise." -Adam-Troy Castro, author of Emissaries From the Dead "Jennifer Pelland is a very good writer. She can evoke a setting, an environment, a mood in just a few sentences. And she does it so intensely that the reader really feels the fear of touching any potentially diseased subway riders; feels the thirst of a world without water; feels the aloneness that comes behind the metal mask." -Ian Randal Strock, SFScope.com "Jennifer Pelland is addicted to writing short stories. She's written an essay about this addiction but you don't need to read the essay to know it's true. Each of the tales in this collection is a testament to her love of story-telling, and her imagination.
She has a keen sense of irony, and a gift for juxtaposing images and events in a way which enables her to extract emotion at crucial moments from her characters and from the reader." -Sarah Hilary, theshortreview.com