As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St., Fort Collins

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What Moves the Dead

By T. Kingfisher
Tor Nightfire
$19.99
July 12, 2022

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From the publisher: When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves. Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

From Elliot, bookseller: Kingfisher modernizes this “Fall of the House of Usher” retelling and manages to surpass the original in both atmosphere and sheer creeping dread. With a non-binary main character that arrives on the scene fully fleshed out and sympathetic, and a setting that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, the grotesque has never been so engrossing. This perfectly paced slice of horror was gothic at its best. I’ll never look at a rabbit without suspicion again.

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Borne

By Jeff VanderMeer
MCD
$17
Feb. 27, 2018

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From the publisher: In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. As Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk.

From Heather, bookseller: This post-apocalyptic novel follows scavenger Rachel in a world destroyed by the mysterious Company who’ve left behind their disturbing biotech creations who rule the landscape. On her scavenging mission, Rachel finds the abnormal Borne and decides, despite the probable danger, to keep the creature…whatever it is. Perfect for anyone looking for hope in the post-apocalyptic, “Borne” makes us question what makes one human, inhuman, or animal.

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Never Say You Can’t Survive

By Charlie Jane Anders
Tordotcom
$26.99
Aug. 17, 2021

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From the publisher: This is one of the most practical guides to storytelling that you will ever read. The world is on fire. So tell your story. Things are scary right now. We’re all being swept along by a tidal wave of history, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But we’re not helpless: We have minds, and imaginations, and the ability to visualize other worlds and valiant struggles. And writing can be an act of resistance that reminds us that other futures and other ways of living are possible. Full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish during the present emergency, this book is the perfect manual for creativity in unprecedented times.

From Nicole, marketing manager: This book made me want to write again, after years of feeling creatively tapped out and exhausted by the mere thought of opening a blank document. Anders gives fabulous tips for how to plot, how to character, how to write, with humor, wit, and a tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Her advice is honest, but gentle, and she deeply understands how stupid it feels to write about spaceships while the world is on fire—but she also tells you why you should do it anyway. And it’s incredibly encouraging.

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