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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse von [Adams, John Joseph]
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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse Kindle Edition

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Produktbeschreibungen

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This harrowing reprint anthology of 22 apocalyptic tales reflects the stresses of contemporary international politics, with more than half published since 2000. All depict unsettling societal, physical and psychological adaptations their authors postulate as necessary for survival after the end of the world. Keynoted by Stephen King's The End of the Whole Mess, the volume's common denominator is hubris: that tragic human proclivity for placing oneself at the center of the universe, and each story uniquely traces the results. Some highlight human hope, even optimism, like Orson Scott Card's Salvage and Tobias Buckell's Waiting for the Zephyr. Others, like James Van Pelt's The Last of the O-Forms and Nancy Kress's Inertia, treat identity by exploring mutation. Several, like Elizabeth Bear's And the Deep Blue Sea and Jack McDevitt's Never Despair, gauge the height of human striving, while others, like George R.R. Martin's Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels, Carol Emshwiller's Killers and M. Rickert's Bread and Bombs, plumb the depths of human prejudice, jealousy and fear. Beware of Paolo Bacigalupi's far-future The People of Sand and Slag, though; that one will break your heart. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kurzbeschreibung

An anthology of post-apocalyptic short fiction from some of the biggest names in science fiction and speculative fiction - including Stephen King, George R. R. Martin and Orson Scott Card

Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon - these are our guides through the Wastelands . . . From the Book of Revelations to The Road Warrior; from A Canticle for Leibowitz to The Road, storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity.

Gathering together the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today's most renowned authors of speculative fiction, including George R.R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King, Wastelands explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon.

Praise for Wastelands:

'Arguably my favorite anthology of all time - just packed with speculative masterworks' - Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble.com

'A first-rate anthology that quite convincingly represents the more recent SFnal view of the apocalypse' - Locus

'I can't help but give this collection the highest recommendation. I think this will be a cornerstone for most reader's shelves' - SFFWorld

'A well-chosen selection of well-crafted stories, offering something to please nearly every postapocalyptic palate' - Booklist


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1492 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 353 Seiten
  • Verlag: Orbit (13. Juni 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00CBFPPVQ
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.3 von 5 Sternen 4 Kundenrezensionen
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #72.305 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Von Lobo am 2. Februar 2009
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Bei "Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse" handelt es sich um eine Anthologie des Herausgebers John Joseph Adams, welche aus Kurzgeschichten, die in einem postapokalytischen Szenario spielen, besteht.
Es folgt eine Auflistung der Geschichten die ich bereits gelesen habe und ein paar Worte zum Inhalt:

"The End of the Whole Mess" -Stephen King
Eine schöne Kurzgeschichte und ein gelungener Auftakt.

"Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels" -George R. Martin
Viele Jahre nachdem die Erde durch einen Atomkrieg zerstört wurde, kommt eine Gruppe Menschen zurück um in den tiefsten Tunneln nach Überlebenden zu suchen.

"The last of the O-forms" -James Van Pelt
Trevin tour mit seinem fahrenden Zoo namens "Dr. Trevin's Traveling Zoological Extravaganza" durch Land. Seine Tiere sind ausschließlich mutierte Missgestalten.

Dieses Buch eignet sich gut für Leute die sich für postapokalytische Literatur interessieren. Im Anhang findet sich eine Bibliografie mit Werken des genannten Sub-genres und auch in der Einführung weißt der Herausgeber auf den ein oder anderen Klassiker hin.
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Somebody once said that after a disaster there is always at least one survivor to tell the story to others. But what if you are the sole survivor and there is no-one else on Earth to talk to?

Long ago I read a SF-story (or should I say a post-apocalyptic story? Oh well, what's in a name?) about a man who was not only the sole survivor of the human species but of all existing life including vegetation. Because of his injuries he could only crawl. After several months he finally reached the Ocean, crawled into the water and died. His decomposing body would provide the Ocean with atoms and molecules so that in a far future, new life could emerge from it.

Because of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Cold War, post-apocalyptic literature was popular. But the fall of the Berlin Wall meant also the end of post-apocalyptic literature.

Today there is a revival of this genre. Probably because adventure and the possibility of starting all-over have a kind of charm. Maybe the most notorious example is Cormac McCarthy who received the Pulitzer-Price for his novel 'The Road'.

In this collection, you won't find stories where an invasion by Aliens or an uprising of Zombies are responsible for wastelands all over the globe. The editor of this anthology, John Joseph Adams, says that they could be the subject for another anthology.
The best thing I can do right now is to give you the name of each author and the title of his/her story.

The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King
Salvage - Orson Scott Card
The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi
Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert
How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem
Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels - George R.R. Martin
Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Vielleicht liegt es nur daran, dass ich Kurzgeschichten oft nicht sonderlich viel abgewinnen kann, aber das Buch hat mich bisher eher entäuscht. Es gibt zwar durchaus die ein oder andere Story die sowohl ein schönes Setting hat als auch dramaturgisch gut aufgebaut und somit lesenswert ist aber zu viele der Kurzgeschichten sind einfach nur eine kurze Beschreibung des Settings ohne passende Geschichte oder gar Pointe und lesen sich teilweise wie das erste Kaptiel eines Buches bevor die Handlung losgeht. Andere sind einfach zu flach und langweilig für so ein fantistisches Thema wie die Apocalypse mit allen seinen erzählerischen Möglichkeiten.
Wenn man gewillt ist sich durch die Geschichten zu wühlen um die ein oder andere Perle zu finden ist das Buch sicher eine interessante Abwechslung, aber wer ein durchgend fesselndes Leseerlebnis erwartet wird - je nach Geschmack - hier nicht fündig.
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Mich persönlich haben Endzeitszenarien seit jeher fasziniert. Der Zusammenbruch der Gesellschaft, Neuanfang oder Untergang der Zivilisation? Mit dieser Frage beschäftigen sich in diesem Buch zahlreiche Autoren aus dem Bereich der fantastischen Literatur. Die Ergebnisse sind dabei durchwachsen, manche Geschichten konnten mein Interesse überhaupt nicht wecken, andere luden dazu ein, mehr der entsprechenden Autoren zu bestellen.
Das Buch ist also nicht nur an sich unterhaltsam, sondern auch eine schöne Einkaufshilfe, sowohl für das Genre des post-apokalyptischen als auch für Science-Fiction und Fantasy allgemein.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c365390) von 5 Sternen 185 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x9c378180) von 5 Sternen Stories of Life After Apocalypse 16. Januar 2008
Von Joe Sherry - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
What is in a name? A title? Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse suggests that the anthology will cover stories directly dealing with various versions of the apocalypse, the end of the world. That is not quite what this Wastelands anthology is about, though. The original title Wastelands: Stories of Life After Apocalypse was a bit more apt in describing the content of this anthology. The stories collected here by editor John Joseph Adams are not about the apocalypse, but rather about life after apocalypse. The wastelands made of our world is not the primary point of any individual story, but rather the survival of the species told in small human stories. In that sense the majority of the stories here are filled with beauty and not just the desolation of the landscape.

What is most remarkable about Wastelands is just how varied stories about living after the destruction of civilization is. Take Octavia E. Butler's Hugo Award winning "Speech Sounds", a story where humanity has lost the power of speech and must find other ways to communicate and society has broken down. Telling the story from the perspective of a woman named Rye, Octavia Butler is able to really give the reader a sense of the terror a woman may feel in such a situation and the emptiness of that life, of the snap anger and body language required to get by, and the barest hint of hope. "Speech Sounds" has been anthologized before, but is a truly outstanding story.

The range of stories collected in Wastelands runs the gamut from "Bread and Bombs" by M. Rickert, a post 9/11 story with kids feeling the fear of their parents, to the future history of "Dark, Dark Are the Tunnels" by George R. R. Martin, a post nuclear holocaust story with the remants of humanity living deep under ground, or Paolo Bacigalupi's "The People of Sand and Slag" where humanity is barely recognizable and a dog reminds the survivors of what life must have been like before, and filled with sadness of the setting and situation. Bacigalupi's story is especially surprising to me because of how negatively I reacted to his story "Yellow Card Man", but "The People of Sand and Slag" is a heartbreaking, beautiful, and painful story.

Other standout stories in Wastelands include Cory Doctorow's "When Sysadmins Ruled the World", "Artie's Angels" by Catherine Wells, and most surprisingly, the anti-Rapture and anti-religion "Judgment Passed" by Jerry Oltion. A spacecrew who were away from Earth return to find that Christ had returned and the Rapture occurred. I had expected that Oltion's anti-Rapture theme would overwhelm the story, but Oltion was very thoughtful and the way he had the characters respond seemed reasonable and plausible.

There are stories in the Wastelands anthology which did not quite work. Gene Wolfe's "Mute" is about as inscrutable as one would expect and despite Neil Gaiman's insistence on Wolfe improving with re-reading, "Mute" fails to connect. "Still Life With Apocalypse" and "Episode Seven" both did not seem to tell a coherent story.

"Episode Seven" is notable because John Langan was inspired to write the story in response, partly, by Dave Bailey's "The End of the World As We Know It", a very different story of "post-apocalyptic" fiction. In this story the survivor has a passive response to the end of the world, drowning it in alcohol rather than fighting actively for survival. Outstanding story, one of the best in the anthology.

Also notable are Elizabeth Bear's driven "And the Deep Blue Sea" and Neal Barrett Jr's "Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus".

The bottom line is that collectively the stories John Joseph Adams has put together here in Wastelands shows off the range of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre of fiction. Wastelands is an excellent anthology of short fiction and one that would easily fit on any collector's shelves. There are far more standout stories than there are misses, and even that is subjective.

Post-Apocalyptic fiction is a favorite sub-genre of mine, and getting the chance to see just how wide ranging the genre can be is a treat. As a bonus, Adams includes a bibliography at the end of the anthology of other prominent post-apocalyptic novels and short stories.

Reading copy provided courtesy of Night Shade Books.
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HASH(0x9c37b738) von 5 Sternen How social creatures deal with the loss of society... and gasoline 7. März 2011
Von 2theD - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
A collection of apocalyptic stories this is not, rather it is a collection of post-apocalyptic stories during a time when this is all the rage among readers of fiction, (thank you very much Cormac McCarthy). As a science fiction reader, I have read a number of post-apocalyptic novels in my time (Ballard's The Drought, Stewart's Earth Abides, Wyndham's Day of the Triffids, Frank's Alas Babylon and hearty handful of others). So, the material is nothing new to me but I haven't been exposed to the short story side of the sub-genre. Much like all other collections about plot specific stories, the stories are hit and miss.

If the reader is looking for entertaining ways in which humans will perish from the planet, this really isn't it. If the reader is looking for ways in which humans cope with the aftermath of mass tragedy, this book really isn't all that either. But like a good collection of stories, it DOES have the entertaining bits, the humanistic bits and also the humor of human folly.

The End of the Whole Mess (Stephen King) - 5/5 - Elder brother to a genius writes his parting words before he succumbs to the disease unknowingly beset by his brother with only the best intention at heart: to save the world. 19 pages

Salvage (Orson Scott Card) - 3/5 - Mormons assist a salvager in probing the temple for the legendary promise of golden riches, as the salvager was told by other reliable truckers along the highway stretch. 15 pages

The People of Sand and Slag (Paola Bacigalupi)- 5/5 - Heavily modified truly omnivorous humans in an animal-less world discover a dog amidst their chemical wasteland and adopt it as their own after debating on whether or not to just eat the nuisance. 15 pages

Bread and Bombs (M. Rickert) - 3/5 - Neurotic post-trauma small town is leery of the immigrant neighbors with their goat cart with bells but the local children see an invitation for learning the truth, albeit at the expense of their parents' worrisome hearts and conniving minds. 11 pages

How He Got in Town and Out Again (Jonathan Lethern) - 3/5 - A transient and his galfriend stumble upon and agree to enter in the trader's dealing, whose only service for sale is a city-wide tournament of will and endurance for thirty-two contestants who experience cyberspace, with its promises of fulfillment and its lure of alternate realities. 19 pages

Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels (George R.R. Martin) - 4/5 - A mutant subterranean human scouts the upper levels of the earth for secret passages while a excavation crew from Luna open a cave and find intriguing hints of an underground civilization, but when the two groups meet each others physical limitations, words have no meaning. 13 pages

Waiting for the Zephyr (Tobias L. Buckell) - 2/5 - Girl wants to leave the family wind farm for the hope for a better life aboard the ship of the traveling traders... the end. 5 pages

Never Despair (Jack McDevitt) - 4/5 - A duo of explorers traversing eastern America lose a fellow traveler and debate as to whether to return home or trek on when one of them is approached by a historic apparition in a derelict amphitheater, but to each of the dialoguers is a history of incomprehensibility. 9 pages

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth (Cory Doctorow) - 4/5 - The keepers of internet equipment outside of Toronto are hermetically sealed when bio-terror strikes the globe and the group strive to keep the net alive, form a cyber-government and come to terms with having to breach the seal and meet their fate on the earth. 31 pages

The Last of the O-Forms (James Van Pelt) - 3/5 - A post-global-bio-agent attack freak show conductor and his babyish 12-year old financer daughter stop in a town where the Mississippi holds a troublesome brew of its own. 11 pages

Still Life with Apocalypse (Richard Kadrey) - 4/5 - Menagerie of images from the dreamscape of the author: `The sky is mostly a swirling soup of ash... the government wants us to help gather up the remaining body parts... a dissatisfied citizen had gutted an auditor... they're dragging another horse from the canal.'3 pages

Artie's Angels (Catherine Wells) - 4/5 - Teenaged academic achiever is the leader and hero of a ghetto in a secluded bubble in Kansas, where the rich lead their lives to escape the Earth and the poor merely hope to live through the day. 11 pages

Judgment Passed (Jerry Oltion) - 4/5 - After twelve years on a space mission to visit another planet, the crew arrive back on Earth to read in the newspapers that second coming of Jesus and the great Judgement was held four years ago, with no one left on the face of the planet, which is mixed bag of blessings for the crew. 19 pages

Mute (Gene Wolfe) - 2/5 - Siblings take a bus to their father's house, only to find his TV on mute and his corpse in the basement. 9 pages

Inertia (Nancy Kress) - 3/5 - Communicable disease colony houses three generations of victims, the oldest of which is being interviewed by a doctor from Outside who is untouchable to the disease and also needs a promise from the younger victims to help the rest of the world bent of destruction. 21 pages

And the Deep Blue Sea (Elizabeth Bear) - 3/5 - Very reminiscent of Damnation Alley, a messenger must across a radioactively hot zone to deliver a medical parcel but is met midway by her debtor who tempts her to forget her mission in order to cancel her debt. 15 pages

Speech Sounds (Octavia Butler) - 3/5 - The mental center for language formation and language understanding have been destroyed by a plague, but some aspects of everyday life still manage albeit with difficulty, frustration and confusion. 11 pages

Killers - (Carol Emshwiller) - 2/5 - America is at war at her home turf and one village is only left with four men and where the women get on with getting' on except for someone, possibly the protagonists brother or perhaps not, is on a murder spree. 9 pages

Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus (Neal Barrett, Jr.) - 3/5 - An attempt at a humorous post-apocalyptic situation but really just a silly mix of silliness along the lines of `a taco and sex circus troupe take their wares to a village, keep their profit of gasoline and get a repair at the next town over but fail to adhere to the repairman's advice and find themselves at the mercy of underwriters. 15 pages

The End of the World as We Know It (Dale Bailey) - 5/5 - The one-in-the-same narrator and character has a knowledge of all the apocalyptic novels and avoids setting himself in-line with the cliché, misses his wife, likes a good gin and tonic, enjoys the country home he's squatting in and reflects upon all of our personal apocalypses. 13 pages

A Song Before Sunset (David Grigg) - 4/5 - Ex-pianist and now scavenger rediscovers his love for music as he searches out his old grand piano in the abandoned theater and later hears about an attack on houses of art by vandals but remains diligent as he tunes his piano for a grand return to the art. 9 pages

Episode Seven (John Langan) - 4/5 - A detailed account of two survivors of a pollen invasion/monster attack/deadly virus who, by night lead a normal life and sleeping and standing guard and by day they battle against the baddies in an epic struggle between good and evil. 21 pages
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HASH(0x9c378ce4) von 5 Sternen Wastelands certainly is not a waste of time! 19. Dezember 2007
Von Paul A. Cole - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I know if your like me you view "theme" books with a bit of skepticism. Assembling a collection of any size with only one "type" of story can be daunting. I have often found many of these types of books containing one or a few really top notch stories and the rest relegated to filler. Collections like Ellison's Dangerous Visions is a shining example of how to do it right. Is Wastelands in that league? Not quite, but DAMN close. The stories are not as "dangerous" as DV and it's no where near the size of DVs. However, don't take me wrong, the tales in Wastelands are the crème de la crème of this genre and for that matter science fiction as a whole. Often the editors choice of covers is their attempt to put their best foot forward, so by looking at just the cover of Wastelands, one might suspect that the author is attempting to snare you on name recognition alone. Believe me, this is not the case. Yes, notable names all, however the tales between those names are every bit as strong. A good example is one of my favorites in this book and appearances elsewhere - The People of Sand and Slag, by Paolo Bacigalupi, or better called a boy and his dog and an appetizer. An absolutely stunning story of the far future and an equal to any of the "names" on the front. The whole book is like this. One retina blasting mind numbing yarn after another. King's story alone is worth the price of the book. (a kind of sideways retelling of Flowers for Algernon) The only suggestion is that you read each story straight through and put the book down and walk away for a time. Each story deserves to be considered on it's own merit. The subject matter and the tales themselves are often so strong and different that you very well could miss the high point of one while recovering from the blast received from the previous reading. Wastelands is well worth the cost. The author has done his job in exemplary manner. Wastelands would make an excellent gift for the jaded science fiction fan.

Paul Cole
host Beam Me Up radio program & podcast
27 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c37d90c) von 5 Sternen DOOM! DOOM! DOOM! 11. Februar 2008
Von R. Friesel Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
A tightly themed, well executed collection: Wastelands captures our apocalypse fears and fantasies equally well and sometimes even simultaneously.

Adams wisely chooses Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess" as an opener and moves into all manner of exciting territory from there. Wastelands is the expected mix of strong (and some average) short stories; most of them have a high re-read score and there is an good mix of diverse ideas and themes that keep within the central focus.

THAT SAID: if you are considering this one, read the introduction before you make the purchase. This isn't about zombie plagues or alien invasions or black holes ripping through our space-time continuum. This is about somewhat more plausible apocalypses. Even when they're totally unexplained.

Most of these stories I enjoyed as much as I expected (e.g., "Speech Sounds") and some less so (e.g., "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth") and some more so (e.g., "Salvage"). I won't enumerate the themes you expect in an apocalypse-themed collection; they're all here and they're all in full force. I will remark on the following, however:

* I was a bit amused by how many of these shorts featured nomads;
** and more so by how often those nomads were of the carny folk variety.
* The stories seem to be pretty "current" in their bio-engineered plagues and their genetic fall-out and their post-Peak Oil crises and 9/11-kneejerks; the last star in my review would have been earned by but one thorough and explicit treatment of WW3-ish nuclear winter.
* Remember: you brought this on yourself.
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HASH(0x9c37dabc) von 5 Sternen a Must read 17. Mai 2008
Von John Ottinger III - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Man has always been fascinated with death. From Plato's lauding of Socrates' death to modern experiences of the "white light and tunnel", humans have always wondered at death. And this same dread fascination includes the death of Earth itself. Through warfare, natural disaster, neglect, or religious experience, humanity has predicted the end since recorded history, and in many forms. Post apocalyptic SF is the fictional descendant of the Book of Revelation or Nostradamus' predictions. It speculates about what life would be like for survivors of a cataclysm that rocks the Earth, changing the very fundamental nature of society. And we, as readers, read on with dread horror at what unfolds, for we know ourselves, and that we can be capable of deeds both heroic and ghastly.

John Joseph Adams has collected some of the greatest post apocalyptic SF from the last twenty years, from some of the greatest speculative fiction talents, all in Wastelands: Stories of The Apocalypse. Many of the stories have garnered awards like Nebula's or Hugo's or Locus'. Many more have been nominated or their writers have for other work. You cannot be disappointed by this collection, because the work evidenced here is some of the best story telling science fiction has to offer.

The very first story is a doozy, coming from the mind of horror fiction writer, Stephen King. King spins a tale entitled "The End of the Whole Mess" wherein a genius of uncharted proportions turns his mind to the problem of human violence. But passivity has a consequence, as the protagonist discovers. His story is unique from most of the others in this anthology in that it approaches the apocalypse from the untainted side. Most of the other stories in the volume look at what happens after the world ends, but King writes with his exceptional prose the tale of the end through the catalyst of that end.

Orson Scott Card explores his own religion of Mormonism in "Salvage". His protagonist, Deaver, seeks wealth in drowned Salt Lake City. But the story is really about how faith and reliance on one another, with hope, allows people to bring about a rebuilding of civilization. This is one of the first stories in the "Mormon Sea" series by Card.

"The People of Sand and Slag" by Paolo Bacigalupi is a strange one. Earth has become a hostile environment, but man has adapted through the use of technology, so much so that he can survive by eating radioactive rock. Without the need for animal meat, humans have left them to become extinct in the hostile world. But when three humans come across a dog, their humanity seems to return. This is a sad story about humanity's ability for empathy and what would be lost without it.

"Bread and Bombs" is truly horrifying. It is Mary Rickert's response to the events of 9/ll and our subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her ability to make something as innocent as snow into something horrifying and then make it a metaphor for the surprise ending was compelling. I'm not sure what point she was making, but it was still a tale both prosaic and chilling all at once.

Jonathan Lethem has a dislike of VR technology. In "How We Got into Town and Out Again" he explores what place VR would have after an apocalypse. The story is really a denouncement of those who would escape reality, and those who would profit from that desire.

"Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels" applies evolutionary theory to an apocalypse. How different would men be if some survived offworld from a worldwide cataclysm and some survived underground, but were separated by centuries? Would they be able to communicate or work together? George R. R. Martin's conclusions are sad, and remind me of colonialism in Africa, and the thoughts the conquerors must have had over about those they conquered who looked so different and seemed so primitive.

In a short and hopeful story, Tobias Buckell explores a technology that is little more than a hobby now, land sailing. "Waiting for the Zephyr" was a good story, but I felt that it was too short, and was more the seed of a story than a complete one. I like Buckell's writing a lot, but was disappointed by this one.

In "Never Despair" by Jack McDevitt one of the great leaders of history appears to one of the survivors of a cataclysm. In a clever weaving of leader's statements and the reactions of the protagonist, McDevitt reminds us that hope will be our greatest asset in the wake of apocalypse.

With his characteristic black humor, Cory Doctorow explores his own career in "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth". Doctorow's story pokes fun at geekdom, and at a strange and bizarre culture of those people who keep the internet flowing. There is a lot of techie speak that is part of the story, but Doctorow both humanizes and ridicules the scions of the Internet Age. Funny and sad all in on go.

In "The Last of the O-Forms" James Van Pelt finds that when the abnormal is normal, then normal becomes a thing of wonder and fascination. Using a traveling circus as his setting, Van Pelt reflects on what humanity takes for granted.

"Still Life with Apocalypse" is the shortest story in the anthology. At two pages, Richard Kadrey's story provides a picture of life for those left to clean up the world. A tale reliant on visual imagery, it is a painting of a moment in time.

Catherine Wells creates a neo-Arthurian story in "Artie's Angels". Although a little heavy-handed in its metaphor, it is still compelling and in a way celebrates the need for legend and the idea that a hero's death can be more world-changing than his life. It also delves into the effect on the poor that a mass exodus from a dying planet would have. People live in bubbles due to the radiation outside, and different sectors of the bubble are richer or poorer, with the rich able to get off planet. In a way, this is a look at the modern cityscape with its slums and its suburban areas all cordoned off, each from the other.

The only story not previously published elsewhere, Jerry Oltion's "Judgment Passed" is an anti religious screed. When a colony mission returns to earth to find that everyone has been raptured by Jesus, the leftovers struggle with whether to curse God and move on, or ask him to take them too. Oltion's villain is essentially a religious zealot and his heroes' agnostics. But I think his story backfires, because his heroes end up seeming shallow and selfish where he was trying to make them seem pragmatic and intelligent.

This was the first time I had read any of Gene Wolfe's work, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. In "Mute", Only two children are left at the end of the world. This one defies description and simply must be read; even then it probably won't make any sense. But it is still well-sculpted.

Nancy Kress explores identity in "Inertia". A horrible disfiguring plague causes governments to intern the victims into ghettos. Expecting them to devolve into violence, they are surprised when they create sustainable societies. A rouge group of scientists finds out why. Kress wonders at just what it might take for man to live peaceably with each other.

"And the Deep Blue Sea" has a word that comes before it in English idiom. If you know it, you'll have a leg up in enjoying this tale. Elizabeth Bear's story of a mail courier who is forced to choose between saving her own hide and that of an entire city is a sort of post apocalyptic Faust.

"Speech Sounds" has the most horrifying apocalyptic event of the entire anthology to my mind. Octavia E. Butler's humanity has lost the ability to communicate through speech, and are forced to rely and hand gestures. Add to that brain damage that makes males more primal, and women to lose their memory, and what you have is a truly frightening tale. But this one ends on a hopeful note, as many of the other stories in this anthology do not.

Carol Emshwiller wrote "Killers" as a follow-through to what we have been told about the war in Iraq. It thinks about what might happen if the war were to move to our shores. Yet really, it is more about feminine jealousy than anything else. In Emshwiller's world, most men are dead or insane from the sights of war, so good men are in short supply. If a woman were able to redeem one of these men, and then have him stolen from her, how might she react?

For those looking for a Mad Max type story, Neal Barrett Jr.'s "Ginny Sweethips Flying Circus" provides the action adventure element of post apocalyptic SF such fans are looking for. An interesting story with some interesting and unexpected plot twists, this one was just fun to read without being heavily philosophical.

Dale Bailey wonders why everyone at "The End of The World as We Know It" is always trying to rebuild civilization. A satire of the genre of post apocalyptic SF, Bailey's story is both a review of some of the favorites we all know and love, and a close look at our sick fascination with the end of the world.

David Grigg simply looks at the effect that a catastrophe would have on artists in "A Song Before Sunset". Since culture not longer exists, what would musicians, painters, and dramatists do? Grigg's effects are saddening.

"Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of the Purple Flowers" is John Langan's response to Dale Bailey's giving up mentality in his story in this anthology. Langan's protagonists fight desperately for their life, and seek the ability to find peace and solitude where they can rebuild. Unfortunately, they are being hunted, but ingenuity wins out in the end. This was a good story to wrap the anthology with, as it ends on a hopeful note, believing that man would strive on in the wake of apocalypse.

Wastelands is an exceptional anthology. In scope and vision it can only be compared to Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions. Like that famed anthology, Wastelands collects some of the best stories of a genre, each with an introduction by the editor that sets the stage for the events that unfold. The stories are full of depth, but are also so well crafted that they are not preachy. None of the stories will disappoint the reader who picks up this anthology.

John Joseph Adams has also gone a step further to give the reader a listing of some of the post apocalyptic science fiction novels we should read, if we enjoy the genre. Coupled with his introduction and the pre-story intros, the reader finds a well-crafted argument for why this subgenre of science fiction is one of the best for exploring the human condition.

I highly recommend this anthology for anyone who enjoys reading anything. A lot of these authors I had not read before and I now want to seek out their novels at the bookstore. Each story is unique, and while all share the same basic frame, each writer has been able to pull a completely different conclusion about or assessment of humanity. Some are chilling while others are hopeful, but each will show the reader a facet of himself or herself if they are willing to see it. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse is the best anthology of any kind I have read to date.
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