Fourteen stories, ranging from science fiction to weird, mixing future scenarios (on and off-Earth) and alternate realities, but in fact, they are essentially about one thing: love and its malcontents.
A man who refuses to let death erase the memories of his loved ones; two time-travellers leaping through the aeons in a literal love-and-death relationship; a murderer in love with the ghost of his prey - and more.
What would you do for love? What lengths, in space and time, would you go to? These characters have done it all.
I've been very excited about this collection from Fabio, and got to reprint one of the stories in The Best of World SF: Volume 2! Genre fiction needs more Fabio Fernandes. – Lavie Tidhar
"This collection is pure ideas, pure imagination, it not only lives up to that promise, but exceeds it exponentially... It is such a joy to read something so surprising. I haven't felt this giddy reading anything in so long."– Paul Jessup
"Though the majority of the stories in the collection were written and published originally in English, they still exude an aura of being cultural hybrids. While the characters and plot do contribute, Fernandes' English also adds to that flavor. Though technically correct, he often turns his phrasing in a way that feels slightly off from that of a native speaker. And that is absolutely wonderful, fitting perfectly with the unexpected turns of his stories, and those moments of surreal wonder particularly found in his forays into New Weird.This is a debut collection that literary speculative fiction fans should not pass up, and I believe they will look forward to seeing more from him in the future as much as I do."– Reading 1000 Lives
"There are several absolute stand out stories in Love. An Archaeology and not a single dud. This is simply a wonderful collection."– Duncan Lawie for BSFA Review #16
"This is a strange and wonderful collection moving through themes of time, desire, family, and possibilities. There's a dreamlike quality to much of it, especially toward the beginning, but also lingering throughout, with characters trying to claw their way through, to survive, to strive for a better world, sometimes able to take control of their lives, sometimes not, but always revealed beautifully by the author. I definitely recommend checking out all of the stories in this one!"– Quick Sip Reviews 3/19/21
(Opening of Seven Horrors)
Nobody knows why the Time Traveler decided to kill himself. It was even more confusing when the other members of the Fellowship found out that the Assassin was scouring the ages after him.
First, because to kill a suicide seemed like a very ineffective—and futile—thing to do. Second, because the Time Traveler and the Assassin were deeply, madly in love.
When they got wind of this, the Traveler's friends (that is, all the members of his Fellowship, or pretty much all of them) thought he was going too far—literally—in his escape. That's because they thought the Traveler was running away from something. Not true.
He had really wanted to die. Just not by the hand of the woman he loved.
The first confrontation between the Assassin and the Time Traveler happened in the Permian, 254 million years ago. Not long after the eruption of the Siberian megavolcano that put an end to millions of species you never knew anything about, nor will ever know.
But it was a tiresome, ludicrous, pathetic event: the Assassin materialized before a tired, depressed Traveler, facing him through a swirl of falling ashes and the heat of smouldering woods around them.
It was the beginning of the end—of one of the ends, actually. The history of those two time-crossed lovers was very far from ending.
Without trying to get closer to him, the Assassin vanished in the Time Corridors as quickly as she had gotten in there. That's why that first contact, so to speak, could in all honesty be called an event. A meeting, a metaphor at the same time simpler and more powerful than that famous song of the 20th Century: two ships that pass in the night.
Or a warning: Brace yourself. I am coming for you. A loving warning, if such a thing can be said of a death sentence.
Until the early twenty-first century, five big extinction events were recorded on Earth, namely: the process of glaciation in the Ordovician, the meteor impacts in the Devonian, the Siberian megavolcano in the Permian, the greenhouse effect in the Triassic and the Yucatán impact in the Cretaceous. The sixth is beginning right now as you read me: it's your Anthropocene. But it doesn't matter, not now.
Every other one of those extinctions, as you can see, is much more catastrophic than anything else that had ever happened to humankind in its comparatively short, so short, journey upon the Earth.
The Fellowship has another name to call extinction events: Horrors. Definitions of what would exactly constitute a Horror don't necessarily encompass size, but intensity. The history of humankind, for instance, is chock-full of never-ending horrors. That said, the Traveler's list was strictly personal, and was based on his grieving.
His idea was to use each and every one of those in his very unusual suicide.
Let's be brutally honest: anyone can kill him or herself very easily. The evolution of technology was very helpful to human beings in this sense.
Naturally, not everyone needs such elaborate help. Really brave people just cut their wrists and wait for death to come by massive blood loss. It's a slow, painful process (which can be expedited if you cut along the veins rather than transversally). They can also hang themselves. A shot in the head, if correctly administered, can kill instantly—but if it doesn't, the would-be suicide might spend the rest of his probably long, hard life wishing he or she was very dead.
To throw oneself under a vehicle (preferably a bus, or, better yet, a high-speed train) should be enough. Also taking an overdose of pills, especially sleeping pills. Psychotropics may not have the desired effect, and they also can confuse the user in such a way that he or she can't know the difference between being alive or dead (this might be good, actually).
But I digress. The important thing, regarding this narrative, is that the Traveler wanted to kill himself. And, despite all the evidence to the contrary, he really wished that. But it wasn't that simple.
Time traveling has apparently only one side effect. To live forever. This is not a figure of speech. This is not a philosophical wordplay with paradoxes or some such. According to the Inventor, the Cherenkov radiation emitted by time traveling affects directly the aging processes.
She doesn't know why that happens. In millennia of temporal exploration, no one ever found out the reason.
What is known (and this is just because there's one recorded case in the Fellowship, of the individual known as the Cadaver) is that immortals can die if they absorb an amount of Cherenkov radiation larger than the average in a very short time. For that to happen, though, one must travel almost nonstop through the Time Corridors.
The Time Corridors are exactly that: corridors. More about them in a while. Patience, please.
Something which the Traveler got used to during his stint at the Fellowship: traveling to uncomfortable places. Phobotopias, the Chronicler named those oh-so-likely places, of quite difficult description even for this member of the Fellowship, who had centuries (or more) to hone his skills. But some of those places are impossible to imagine because no one who hadn't been there is even remotely aware that they exist.
Imagine the Seven Wonders of the World. Now imagine their opposite.
The Seven Horrors of the World is the name the Chronicler gave them.
The Chronicler is not the bad guy in this story, but it's a damn big bastard.