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Mass Market Paperback Wastelands - Stories of the Apocalypse Book

ISBN: 1783291486

ISBN13: 9781783291489

Wastelands - Stories of the Apocalypse

(Book #1 in the Wastelands Series)

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Book Overview

The definitive anthology of the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades. Featuring New York Times bestsellers Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Orson Scott Card, edited by award-winning anthologist John Joseph Adams. Prescient tales of Armageddon and its aftermath, by twenty-two of today's finest writers, including: Paolo Bacigalupi Neal Barrett, Jr. Tobias S. Buckell Cory Doctorow David Grigg Dale Bailey Elizabeth Bear Richard...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

This was incredible

I absolutely loved this compilation stories. I shouldn't say that I loved every single one of them... But who knows! Maybe the ones I didn't love, someone else thought were great. The point is is that they were as diverse as they were creative. And I was totally here for it.

Tomorrow never comes.

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. Buckell Never Despair - Jack McDevitt When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt Still Life with Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion Mute - Gene Wolfe Inertia - Nancy Kress And the Deep blue Sea - Elisabeth Bear Speech Sounds - Octavia E. Butler Killers - Carol Emshwiller Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus - Neal Barret, Jr. The End of the World as we Know It - Dale Bailey A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg

a Must read

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

A pure Joy to read (can the apocalypse be joyful?)

I love post apocalyptic literature. Given world events -- they may later be seen as great instructional manuals. Anyway, my advice: "Run don't walk to buy this book." I became so immersed in some of the stories that I needed to look out my window to assure myself there was no steaming wreckage outside in a destroyed city. Thankfully, my town was intact. What is great is the variety of the stories and various writing styles of the stories. I entered "new worlds" - my imagination soared through the gifted writing and plots. I love J. Langan's packs of humans scurrying around abandoned strip malls, in "Episode Seven" (perhaps a better use of the 'strip mall'). And Ocatavia Butler's poignant story -- sometimes you feel like crying for a world that is lost. Other times you are engrossed in man's struggle to survive in a doomed world. The eerie juxtaposition of commonplace life against a chaotic, wrecked world gives you gooseflesh. John Joseph Andrews -- Thank you for putting together this great collection. When is the next one? I look forward to it.

Stories of Life After Apocalypse

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

Wastelands certainly is not a waste of time!

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
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