New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov's Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.

Publications from The Chicago Tribune to Booklist have included her Kris Nelscott mystery novels in their top-ten-best mystery novels of the year. The Nelscott books have received nominations for almost every award in the mystery field, including the best novel Edgar Award, and the Shamus Award.

She also edits. Beginning with work at the innovative publishing company, Pulphouse, followed by her award-winning tenure at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, she took fifteen years off before returning to editing with the original anthology series Fiction River, published by WMG Publishing. She acts as series editor with her husband, writer Dean Wesley Smith, and edits at least two anthologies in the series per year on her own.

To keep up with everything she does, go to and sign up for her newsletter. To track her many pen names and series, see their individual websites (,,,, Her latest release, Escaping Amnthra is available now.

The End of the World by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Small-town detective Becca Keller must struggle with her own demons when her ex-husband calls her to help with a mass grave unearthed at the site of his resort-restoration project in the Oregon desert. Her investigation unearths more questions than answers—about the bones and about the past.

Winner of the UPC Special Award, The End of The World explores the complexities and range of the human condition.


The End of the World won the UPC Special Science Fiction Award, Europe's top science fiction award. The story explores the complexities and range of human conditions when faced with real aliens as only Kristine Kathryn Rusch can do. – Dean Wesley Smith



  • "Kristine Kathryn Rusch ventures into (darker than) Zenna Henderson territory in her effective and atmospheric two-track story 'The End of the World.'"

    – SF Site
  • "The End of The World" is a tale of reconstruction and an alien encounter that is one of the saddest stories I've ever read."

    – Barry Hunter, The Baryon Review
  • "[The End of the World is] a hopeful story that asks its audience to remember its better angels and defer to them whenever possible."

    – The Edge Boston



The air reeked of smoke.

The people ran, and the others chased them.

She kept tripping. Momma pulled her forward, but Momma's hand was slippery. Her hand slid out, and she fell, sprawling on the wooden sidewalk.

Momma reached for her, but the crowd swept Momma forward.

All she saw was Momma's face, panicked, her hands, grasping, and then Momma was gone.

Everyone ran around her, over her, on her. She put her hands over her head and cringed, curling herself into a little ball.

She made herself change color. Brown-gray like the sidewalk, with black lines running up and down.

Dress hems skimmed over her. Boots brushed her. Heels pinched the skin on her arms.

No spikes, Momma always said. No spikes or they'll know.

So she held her breath, hoping the spikes wouldn't break through her skin because she was so scared, and her side hurt where someone's boot hit it, and the wooden sidewalk bounced as more and more people ran past her.

Finally, she started squinching, like Daddy taught her before he left.

Slide, he said. A little bit at a time. Slide. Squinch onto whatever surface you're on and cling.

It was hard to squinch without spikes, but she did, her head tucked in her belly, her hair trailing to one side. More boots stomped on it, pulling it, but she bit her lower lip so that she wouldn't have to think about the pain.

She was almost to the bank door when the sidewalk stopped shaking. No one ran by her. She was alone.

She flattened herself against the brick and shuddered. Her skin smelled of chewing tobacco, spit and beer from the saloon next door.

She had shut down her ears, but she finally rotated them outward. Men were shouting, women yelling. There was pounding and screaming and a high-pitched noise she didn't like.

If they found her flattened against the brick, they'd know. If they saw the spikes rise from her body, they'd know. If they saw her squinching, they'd know.

But she couldn't move.

She was shivering, and she didn't know what to do.