The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound

The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound

“This is overall a strong collection . . . make it worth reading.” –Publishers Weekly

“. . . definitely consider buying a copy, if not for yourself, then for someone who is serving as a caretaker. Hopefully the stories can serve as comfort to them. At the very least, it should make us all appreciate caretakers for all they do.” –Lightspeed Magazine

“This anthology was one of the better ones, with no ‘howlers’ and several thought provoking page-turners.” –Tangent

This book is available now.

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Hardcover: 978-1-988140-03-2
Paperback: 978-0-9939696-9-0
ePub: 978-1-988140-00-1
PDF: 978-1-988140-01-8
Kindle: 978-1-988140-02-5

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Project Objectives

A portion of Laksa Media’s net revenue from this anthology will go directly to support one of the programs provided by Canadian Mental Health Association.

Laksa Media will donate CAN$1,000 upon the publication of this anthology.

Bulk Purchasing

For Canadian inquires on bulk purchases for bookstores, libraries, corporate use, sales incentives, or non-profit sales, please email us.

The world of caregivers and unsung heroes, the province of ghosts . . .

Who are THE SUM OF US?

Children giving care. Dogs and cats giving care. Sidekicks, military, monks, ghosts, robots. Even aliens. Care given by lovers, family, professionals. Caregivers who can no longer give. Caregivers who make the decision not to give, and the costs and the consequences that follow. Bound to us by invisible bonds, but with lives, dreams, and passions of their own.

If we believe that we are the protagonists of our lives, then caregivers—our pillars—are ghosts, the bit players, the stock characters, the secondary supports, living lives of quiet trust and toil in the shadows. Summoned to us by the profound magic of great emotional, physical, or psychological need, they play their roles, and when our need diminishes . . .

The caregivers fade.

These are their stories: a henchman looks after a supervillain, the soldier in charge of the governor's children, a cat helps his patients pass on, an android tends to a terminally ill patient, a service dog looks after an ice hockey player, a young apprentice guides a blind welder, an old couple with diminished capabilities depend on each other to survive an earthquake, an aging tutor overcomes the reservation of her pupil to build a submersible vessel, a hospice director trying to do the right thing, a pious monk makes the final decision, and many more.

Twenty-three science fiction and fantasy authors capture the depth and breadth of caring and of giving. They find insight, joy, devastation, and heroism in grand sweeps and in tiny niches. And, like wasps made of stinging words, there is pain in giving, and in working one’s way through to the light.

Our lives and relationships are complex. But in the end, there is hope, and there is love.

Foreword-----------------------------------------------------	Lucas K. Law
Introduction-------------------------------------------------	Dominik Parisien
The Dunschemin Retirement Home for Repentant Supervillains---	Ian Creasey
Bottleneck---------------------------------------------------	A.M. Dellamonica
Mother Azalea's Sad Home for Forgotten Adults----------------	James Van Pelt
Things that Creep and Bind-----------------------------------	Christie Yant
The Gift-----------------------------------------------------	Bev Geddes
The Gatekeeper-----------------------------------------------	Juliet Marillier
The Healer's Touch-------------------------------------------	Colleen Anderson
The Crystal Harvester----------------------------------------	Brenda Cooper
The Burdens We Bear------------------------------------------	Hayden Trenholm
A Mother's Milk----------------------------------------------	Heather Osborne
The Mother's Keepers-----------------------------------------	Edward Willett
The Oracle and the Warlord-----------------------------------	Karina Sumner-Smith
The Beautiful Gears of Dying---------------------------------	Sandra Kasturi
The Gardener-------------------------------------------------	Amanda Sun
Number One Draft Pick----------------------------------------	Claire Humphrey
Orang Tua Adventure Home Academy-----------------------------	Charlotte Ashley
Sunshine of Your Love----------------------------------------	Nisi Shawl
Good-bye is that Time between Now and Forever----------------	Matt Moore
Ambassador to the Meek---------------------------------------	Alex Shvartsman
Gone Flying--------------------------------------------------	Liz Westbrook-Trenholm
Am I Not a Proud Outlier?------------------------------------	Kate Story
Blinders-----------------------------------------------------	Tyler Keevil
Dreams as Fragile as Glass-----------------------------------	Caroline M. Yoachim
Afterword----------------------------------------------------	Susan Forest
About the Contributors
About the Editors
Copyright Acknowledgements
Appendix: Mental Health Resources & Caregiving and Caregivers Resources 
Book Cover and Interior Design by Samantha Beiko

Who is a caregiver?
A caregiver--whether paid or unpaid--provides direct care for children, or elderly people, or those who have disability, cognitive condition, injury, mental illness, chronic life-limiting illness, or terminal illness.

For more information:
National Alliance for Caregiving: Resources for Caregivers
Carer Facts in Canada

What is mental illness?
Mental illness affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. It includes depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders.

For more information:

Read an Excerpt.
The synopsis of each story can be found here.

Sell Sheet/Tip Sheet for The Sum of Us

Book Cover image for The Sum of Us:

Publishers Weekly

"This is overall a strong collection . . . make it worth reading." More...

Lightspeed Magazine

". . . definitely consider buying a copy, if not for yourself, then for someone who is serving as a caretaker. Hopefully the stories can serve as comfort to them. At the very least, it should make us all appreciate caretakers for all they do." More...


"This anthology was one of the better ones, with no ‘howlers’ and several thought provoking page-turners." More...

Speculating Canada

"These stories take a broad exploration of what care can mean, looking at parental care, long term care homes, social responsibilities for care, foster care, maternal care, elder care, medical care by doctors and nurses, the care relationships of pets, and even the care roles of insectile species’ (since care isn’t just a human trait). These stories examine complexities of care that are critical to this culture moment such as what is the value of care?, what difference does quality care make?, what is quality of life?, is care the role of home or the state? . . . These are all critical questions that are in need of complex and creative answers and The Sum of Us invites readers to think critically about them. It doesn’t introduce easy answers about care-giving, but instead invites readers to explore often contrary ideas about care, asking readers to come up with their own critical questions and creative answers to the meaning of care." -- Derek Newman-Stille


"I started reading for Juliet Marillier...I kept reading because so many stories were too good to stop. I found many new authors to check out--every passage was well-written and I loved most of them!" --Jennifer A. (Librarian)

"strong work. enjoyable. will be recommending to readers across all genres" -- Marisa G. (Bookseller)

"The most brilliant diversity of this anthology, though, is the staggering range of caregivers. A part of me expected a smattering of heroic nurses and mothers with romanticized experiences. Those roles are important in life, of course. It’s just that gushy repetitiveness is probably the most boring thing I could ever read. This anthology brings out the real over the romanticized and the strangely relatable over the repetitive. Some of these stories, such as “blinders” by Tyler Keevil and “sunshine of your love” by Nisi Shawl, dive right into the grittiness of existence. The former takes some time to explore how union-versus-company struggles can affect workers, while the latter examines the strange ways of genetics, sisterhood, attraction, and society."--Sarah K. (Reviewer)

We recognize that not everyone has the resources to buy this anthology, The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound. Since caregiving is such an important subject, please help us to reach as many readers as possible. Our dream is to have every library in the world having this anthology available for its library users.
One easy way you can help us is to submit or suggest this title to your local library (if this book resonates with you). It takes only a few minutes to complete online.
What you need for the library:
Title: The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound
Author: Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
ISBN: 9780993969690
Publisher: Laksa Media Groups Inc.
Notes/Comments: The anthology (delves into the world of caregiving and caregivers) has been recommended by Publishers Weekly, Lightspeed magazine and Tangent.

Help Us to Change the World, One Book at a Time

August 13, 2017 – 1 PM
Calgary, AB (Fireside Room, Delta Hotel Calgary South, 135 Southland Drive SE)
When Words Collide (Pre-Book Launch)
Miki Dare, Susan Forest, Bev Geddes, Calvin D. Jim, Lucas K. Law, Fonda Lee, Heather Osborne, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Edward Willett with special Guest, Vanessa Cardui

October 11, 2017 – 7 PM
FREE EVENT! Co-sponsored with The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy
Toronto, Ontario, Canada ((Lillian H. Smith Library Branch, 3rd Floor, 239 College Street)
The Friends of the Merril Collection at The Lillian H. Smith Branch, Toronto Public Library (Book Launch)
Learn the Stories behind the Stories with Charlotte Ashley, A.M. Dellamonica, Susan Forest, Sandra Kasturi, Lucas K. Law, Karin Lowachee, Derwin Mak, Rati Mehrotra, Tony Pi, Melissa Yuan-Innes

October 13-15, 2017
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, 150 Albert Street)
Can*Con 2017 Ottawa (Book Launch)
Charlotte Ashley, Susan Forest, Lucas K. Law, Derwin Mak, Rati Mehrotra, Matt Moore, Dominik Parisien, Kate Story, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Edward Willett
Laksa Presents: The Making of An Anthology 12 NOON (Salon E)
Laksa Presents: Learn the Stories Behind the Stories 3 PM (Salon D)

October 22, 2017
FREE EVENT! Co-sponsored with Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (McNally Robinson Grant Park in the Atrium, 1120 Grant Avenue)
McNally Robinson (Book Launch)
Bev Geddes