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Rise Up collects two dozen short stories that span nearly thirty years of C.S. Fuqua's career, featuring ghosts and faeries, the macabre and mundane, rich and poor, and distraught and jubilant. From the dark fantasy of "Rise Up" and science fiction comedy of "The Garbler" to the science fiction satire of "Big Daddy's Fast-Past Gadget," each story in Rise Up explores the motivations, actions, and consequences that force ordinary people to become extraordinary.
Rise Up's stories intertwine good and evil and how we waver between condemnation and redemption: the cold-heartedness of a president in "All the Brave Soldiers," the pity of a ghostly girl for a dying general in "Grace," modern society's propensity for foolish restrictions in "The Addict."
The title piece, "Rise Up," explores second chances when a mandolin player uses music to resurrect his fiancée following her tragic death, only to bear even greater tragedy in the long run.
In "Demons," an Iraqi War veteran suffering PTSD mines the depths of compassion when he befriends a phooka, tortured and starved to the brink of insanity.
Evil comes in many guises, from the man who saves children from life's heartaches, to the mechanic who grossly overcharges clients for unneeded repairs, to the politicians who deceive countries into war to torture and maim in the name of a plethora of gods.
Sometimes we recognize evil's approach; sometimes we don't. Rise Up explores the consequences.
Listen to an old fart: It doesn't usually take six centuries for a boy to grow up.
Josh wants only to get along and help his grandfather, Big Daddy, with the old man's odd gadgets like the time gadget installed in the 1966 Mustang. But simply getting along is more difficult when you're the son of a federal arms negotiator who renounces her U.S. citizenship to become an official of the New Republic of Hawaii, hoping ultimately to negotiate world peace.
When tiny African country Durban explodes a weapon into the atmosphere that changes the earth's racial makeup, other nations gear up their own not-so-passive artillery, bringing on Armageddon.
Seeing no other chance for survival, Josh uses Big Daddy's time gadget for him and Keala, his Hawaiian-Japanese girlfriend, to escape to the future, landing in an alien world centuries later that ends up looking a lot like home.