“After all, why rippers kidnapped people was the only question worth asking in today’s world.” This is how Jason Sanford’s tales work, it seems: strip the world down so that the sfnal intervention demands an answer. Like “When Thorns are the Tips of Trees”, “Here We Are …” is set in a near-future crippled by disaster. The rippers are aliens that live in darkness (“light can’t remove every shdaow”) and prey on humans, either killing them, or taking them to a terrible fate Elsewhere. Its characters are, as ever, well-sketched but cast in familiar roles, even as they are defined by Sanford’s world: the firefighter (narrator) who must go out at night, the wife who has been killed or taken by the rippers, the teenage daughter alienated (ha) as a result. In “Thorns” these elements balanced each other quite nicely; here, I think, the trick is less successful. Understanding can cast its own shadow.