Cannonball Read III - Summer Reads: Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams is a man after my own heart. He has pulled together an anthology of dystopian literature titled Brave New Worlds that spans the genre from one of the earliest (and best known) stories, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," to recent works by authors like Paolo Bacigalupi and Genevieve Valentine. What caught my eye, besides the title that evokes my favorite novel, was the list of authors on the cover: Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, and so on--a veritable cornucopia of talent!
It's a huge book, with 34 stories that explore all sorts of different futures and worlds. Of course, some are better than others. I couldn't put down "Auspicious Eggs," by James Morrow, which envisions a future where reproduction is the law. S. L. Gilbow's "Red Card" is a clever little story about what happens when society gives a few select individuals a license to kill. And "Pervert" by Charles Coleman Finlay flips our society's obsession with sexuality and ponders a future in which heterosexuality is seen as a perversion.
There are a few stories that I didn't care for, like Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Lunatics," which just sort of droned on and on for what seemed like ages. But for the most part, this anthology is packed with fantastic stories with themes that range from religion to sexuality to how technology is shaping our lives - and the lives of those to come. It even includes such classics as Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Philip K. Dick's "The Minority Report."
I think that this book is an excellent choice for summer reading. The short story format is perfect for a day at the beach, or catching a chapter or two between cat naps in your hammock in your backyard. Some stories are only 2 or 3 pages long, so you can read an entire story and still get to enjoy the rest of your vacation. One thing's for certain for me--I will definitely be adding this collection to my library. Adams has done a wonderful job of collecting some amazing fiction in this anthology.
For more of MelBivDevoe's reviews, check out her blog, Impudent Strumpet.
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