"Sci-fi at its intelligent best." - David Anthony Durham, author of the Acacia Trilogy
"The Bottom of the Sea is incredible. 5/5 stars" - Bookworm Blues
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The Bottom of the Sea is Zachary Jernigan's first collection, an e-book composed of five short stories, one of which is a previously unpublished work. (The others made their appearances in Asimov's Science Fiction, Theaker's Quarterly Fiction, and pax americana.) At close to 30,000 words, these narratives span the whole range of speculative fiction:
"The War is Over and Everyone Wins" is a near-future tale of racial and familial conflict.
"Fear of Drowning" features a young woman on the cusp of love, on the cusp of betrayal, in a science fantasy universe of gods and angels.
In the low fantasy "The Bottom of the Sea," an old blind man discovers just how far he'll allow himself to be led by his adopted son.
"Pairs" (read and/or listen for free), a far future story, chronicles the revenge of one of the two living human beings left in existence.
The contemporary fantasy "All My Ghosts" follows an immortal man as he makes his way across a frozen tundra to save his mortal son. All the while, he is plagued by ghosts...
"Zachary Jernigan can't write a bad story. He couldn't even if he tried. Each and every time I start one of his inventive, carefully crafted, thoughtful and mind-bending tales I know I’m in for a treat. This collection is sci-fi at its intelligent best."
- David Anthony Durham, Campbell Award-winning author of the Acacia Trilogy
"The diversity in this collection is impressive but it is Jernigan’s writing that really knocks my socks off. The worlds are incredibly well developed. All the details I love are naturally woven in. Each story is different, and therefore each story will provoke new and unique thoughts in readers. Not only has Jernigan written a powerful collection, but it is a powerful collection that is strangely intimate. The Bottom of the Sea is incredible. [...] 5/5 stars"
- Sarah Chorn, Bookworm Blues
"When Zachary Jernigan's debut novel No Return came out earlier this year, I wished that I could review it as part of Short Story Review; alas, I could not find any justification for reviewing a novel on a website devoted to bringing more attention to short stories. Thus, when I heard that he would be releasing a short story collection, The Bottom of the Sea, I immediately asked for a copy. I'm glad I did, because it's one of the most original collections I've ever read."
- Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Short Story Review
"Zachary Jernigan's short stories are in deep conversation with the history of the genre while maintaining a thoroughly modern sensibility. Here’s a new writer who has found his voice. Listen to him and enjoy!"
- James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards
"As a collection, I'd say The Bottom of the Sea fires on all cylinders. Fans of Jernigan's unconventional world building will not be disappointed, nor will those who were attracted to his carefully drawn and ultimately damaged protagonists. [...] The strength of the shorts ultimately rested on the excellent use of literary negative space, allowing the reader to fill in the gaps and trusting the reader to be smart enough to get it right. It's no mean feat to use ambiguity to your betterment, but The Bottom of the Sea makes it look easy."
- Matt Gilliard, 52 Book Reviews