A series of single author collections by outstanding writers. The Polestar, or North Star, is defined as the brightest star in Ursa Minor; since every author chosen for this series is a star in their own right, Polestars provides the ideal banner under which to unite such exceptional works.
The second release in our new series of cutting-edge single author collections unveils the first full collection from Teika Marija Smits, one of the finest short story writers to emerge on the genre scene in recent years. Her storytelling relies on keen observation of the world and people around her interpreted through the lens of her imagination, dancing between science fiction, realism, and horror. Umbilical features selected stories from her output so far alongside several new stories, published here for the first time.
An AI repairman keeps his true purpose hidden; Baba Yaga sets up home close to a black hole; a mother and daughter share a unique bond which none can sunder; a painter literally invests body and soul in her work; a plague of flies search for their Madonna; Sherlock Holmes calls upon his psychic cousin Isadora for help with an intriguing case...
Death of the Grapevine
The Wife That Never Was
How to Honour a Beginning
Delphine as Daedalus
The Case of the High Pavement Ghosts
Girls’ Night Out
ATU334 the Wise
Our Lady of Flies
The Green Man
A Piece of Fabric the Size of a Pin
Machina in Deo
The Eyes of the Goddess Herself
A Survival Guide for the Contemporary Princess
This Little Piggy
The Sun is God
Star Making at Sellafield
The November Room or Leaving the Labyrinth
High quality stories that defy both genre and gender boundaries.
“The contents range in genre over SF, fantasy, myth and horror, with stories sometimes crossing over their borders… Their telling requires a comprehensive array of authorial registers and Smits handles them all well, with very few infelicities. She is a talent to watch.” – ParSec
“Smits’ versatility, poetic sensibilities, and her playful
approach to fairytale storytelling, all point to Tanith Lee as an influence.
But her philosophical approach is all her own... These stories are hopeful,
philosophical, and above all, human. Very much recommended.” – IZ Digital
“This story works on several levels and I am most inspired that I have been allowed to read it by whatever power presiding from within it.” – Des Lewis of “The Sun is God”
“I was bowled over by the high quality and variety of the tales within Teika Marija Smits’ collection Umbilical… An incredibly strong lyrical and powerful collection that I was very very impressed with and strongly recommend you seek out.” – Runalong the Shelves
“The short stories are beautifully conceived, occur in a future or past timeline, recounting human or AI experiences, and take you through all emotions as you traverse the author's creation… I thoroughly enjoyed the voyage.” – LibraryThing reviewer
“Umbilical has swiftly become one of this writer’s favourite books to have on hand this month – we might even say an essential read.” – Leftlion
“Umbilical is an astonishingly pleasurable read, what a find!” – Eugen Bacon in Aurealis
“Teika Marija Smits's answer is to explore issues from quirky angles, thereby offering unique, enthralling perspectives. A thoroughly engaging and enjoyable collection.” – Everybody’s Reviewing website
“There is plenty to enjoy here, and given the thematic and/or literal connections between many of the stories, I expect it is a collection that would reward rereads.” – goodreads reviewer
“Smits’ background as an artist and poet enrich the language and concepts… Smits may be a new star, but believe me, she’s going to shine and shine and shine. Snaffle some of that starlight for yourself. It’s brilliant.” – Amazon reviewer
“There is an almost futuristic fairy tale quality to many of the stories and although they may appear benignly different initially there are threads and themes running through the entire collection which offers the reader a pleasing cohesion.” – Bookphace
Available as a paperback, an ebook, and a special edition hardback signed by the author and limited to just 50 numbered copies.