In his first story collection, sf newcomer Scholes displays a rare gift for inventive storytelling that already invites comparisons with the genre’s leading practitioners. His crisply minimalist prose paradoxically gives rise to an abundance of cleverly original ideas and is often permeated by black humor. At a nursing home for retired superheroes, the caped residents harass the nursing staff and reminisce about the old days. The intelligent chimpanzees trained to work on a moon-based mining colony make a sudden evolutionary leap and begin killing off their human hosts. Meriwether Lewis crosses paths with D. B. Cooper after the lost hijacker from the 1970s becomes stranded 200 years in the past. In the volume’s standout tale, “Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk,” Scholes’ homage to A. A. Milne recounts the fate of the lone survivor of a colonization effort on a hostile planet: an intelligently programmed toy bear. Scholes’ lucidly written afterword sheds light on the genesis for all those crazy ideas and provides a fitting warm-up for what will doubtless become an illustrious career. –Booklist

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