ed. Jennifer Brozek
This was an absolutely fascinating anthology. Generally when I read those, they’re gathered around a single subject area or theme; in this case, though, they all took place in a shared universe.1 In a way, it reminds me of the concept of transformative works—a bunch of different people playing together in the same space, each putting their own twist on it.
And hey, if parts of the concept struck me as a bit ridiculous, it’s not like I’m always sticking to the most robust hard-science-fiction in my reading. Floating cities struck everyone as the best way to survive a global climate apocalypse? Y’know what, sure, why not. It’ll look cool.
Now, thoughts on a couple of the stories:
- Warriors of the Rainbow was a great choice for ending the book, and totally hits the solarpunk-hopeful vibe that I really like. Sure, there’s realpolitik and a Big Bad, but there’s people working simply on making things better. The kind of thing the world needs!
- The Flying Dutchman was my personal low point for the book. I just hate zombies. Sure, they followed the protocol to keep it from getting from the airship into the city, but… they found the zombie disease(?) on the ground somewhere. It’s a rather key point of how zombies work that they’re quite content to walk a long ways. That problem isn’t dealt with, and nobody knows what’s coming. Uh oh.
- Fatherhood was an excellent introduction, and while it has that “that problem isn’t dealt with, and nobody knows what’s coming” vibe to it as well, it’s at least a less-apocalyptic problem. Slightly.
- Bonsai was, I think, my favorite of the stories. It feels Pratchettian to me; certainly that amount of silliness. And, again, it’s hopeful! Sure, hopeful through a really tangled mess of espionage and high-tech weaponry, but that just makes it better.
- Well, within limits—clearly there wasn’t a single centralized authority making sure that everything perfectly respected everyone else’s additions to the canon, just look at the variety of names that Las Vegas gets. ↩
- Did I wind up stopping after The Flying Dutchman? Yes. Should I have continued after that? Also yes, because c’mon, Grey, load something other than nightmares into your short-term memory before trying to sleep. ↩
- This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do. ↩