The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado

Dominican-American author Brenda Peynado’s short story collection, The Rock Eaters, is perfect for readers who enjoy magical realism, fabulism, speculative fiction, and social commentary.

The collection begins with the shocking “Thoughts and Prayers,” a story about the fruitless ways adults react to school shootings that have become all too common. This story is a provocative way to start off a book, and sets the stage for Peynado’s no-holds-barred approach to satire. You can read an excerpt on Literary Hub.

“The Touches” felt like Wool meets The Matrix meets a plague. It was published on Tor.com November 2019, where you can still read it, and boy did this hit hard now that we’re all experiencing a pandemic. This story was so intriguing, I wish it had been its own novel.

Short story collections can often feel hit or miss, but every single story—all sixteen!—in this one was fantastic, holding readers in rapt attention. The Rock Eaters is bold and imaginative, and Brenda Peynado is certainly now on my list of auto-buy authors.