A Sinister Reality: Elizabeth Hand’s Waking the Moon

So there I was, rummaging through the offerings at my favorite bookstore—the local Goodwill thrift store. Most customers head directly for the quirky used furniture, funky clothes and vinyl albums, but for me, nothing beats the rickety shelves in the back corner that hold the castoff books. I’ve made some major finds there, from classics (Fahrenheit 451) to kitsch (Valley of the Dolls).

My attention was snagged by a battered gray paperback titled Full Spectrum 2. It turned out to be an anthology of science fiction and fantasy tales. I forked over the asking price of a quarter and raced home, whereupon I gobbled up one great story after another, each more delectable than the last.

One story, by a writer totally unknown to me, grabbed me like nothing has grabbed me since my sister jumped out of my closet when I was nine and she ...