Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Wastelands, #1)
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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Wastelands #1)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,378 ratings  ·  398 reviews
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 bes...more
ebook, 383 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books (first published December 25th 2007)
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Feb 10, 2008 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: DOOM! DOOM! DOOM!
Recommended to Rob by: Amy
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 y...more
The worst:

The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King: Reviewers keep talking about what a great story this was to open the collection. Nope. It's crap.

Waiting for the Zephyr by Tobias S. Buckell: This was a really short and seemingly inoffensive story about a girl trying to escape her family and get on a wind-driven landship out of town, but I hated it. I don't even really know why. It was like 4 pages long but it managed to infuriate me anyway.

Salvage by Orson Scott Card: Mormon propaganda.

A Son...more
I admit it, I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I think my fascination with the subject has a lot to do with a book I got through one of those Scholastic Book Club flyers when I was in elementary school. It was Daybreak 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton. I went on to reading Logan's Run and The Masque of the Red Death among other post-apocalyptic fiction that I no longer remember. Growing up in the Sixties and Seventies, apocalypse seemed like a very real possibility.

Naturally, a short story collection lik...more
El fin del mundo tal como lo conocemos, ese es el tema de esta antología de la editorial Valdemar. La civilización azotada y arrasada por la muerte, el hambre, la guerra y la enfermedad, que dan lugar a la miseria, el sufrimiento y el sálvese quien pueda. Y es que la humanidad se encamina a una perdición inexorable, donde el optimismo brilla por su ausencia. El artífice de esta antología es John Joseph Adams, editor de Lightspeed y Fantasy Magazine, especialista de prestigio en este tipo de reco...more
Some great stories about various post-apocalyptic scenarios. There's a wide range of causes for end-of-the-world scenarios, and how the survivors deal with them.
Dale Pearl
Overall 4 star review

Interesting collection of End Of The World Literature Many of these stories are top notch, unfortunately there are a few that also serve as filler material.

The End of The Whole Mess
Stephen King

I give it 4 stars. Interesting enough but could have been better. Super genius figures out what is wrong with anger in people and finds a cure in a source of well water outside of Waco. Turns out that the cure also leads to Alsheimers but that is not discovered until too late.

I don't really have much to say about this one. I bought it years ago and just now got around to reading it. I love post-apocalyptic stories, but some in this collection weren't the best, in my opinion. Some were fantastic, and I discovered a couple new authors to read, but for the most part, this collection was just good.

An excellent collection of short stories of how post apocalyptic survivors would cope with the environment they find themselves in. It's a good introduction into the genre and most of the stories have a more hopeful mood rather than utter despair.
Traci Loudin
This was a fantastic collection of post-apocalyptic science fiction stories. You might think that this many post-apoc stories in one place would make for a pretty dismal, depressing anthology, but you'd be wrong. There's plenty of hope and joy in some of these stories, too. I've read more depressing so-called "literary fiction" than I have depressing stories in this anthology.

In college, I was subjected to plenty of non-genre and genre short fiction, making me think I just preferred novels. But...more

Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels by George R. R. Martin
To quote Spock, "PAIN!"

And the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth Bear
Yes, I liked Damnation Alley, too. Still, I found it enjoyable and well-written short story.

Speech Sounds by Octavia E. Butler
I have never read her before, and I didn't expect to care for her style or content (since I am usually a male chauvinist pig with regards to fiction authors), but I was quite taken by this story.

Judgment Passed by Jerry Oltion
Parental neglect on a bib...more
So… I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I mean, I love it. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank changed my life in high school. Unfortunately many of the stories in this collection just fell flat for me. I really wanted to enjoy them more than I did.

Many of these stories were exactly the type I like, with protagonists with strong personalities, plausible or unexplained end-of-the-world scenarios, and a focus on the realities of day-to-day life after an apocalypse. My favorites were "When Sysadmins Ruled the...more
Fairul Asannan
Ever since i had laid my eyes on it, (while surfing through my favorite genres in amazon.com) i know i have to at least try it. Ignoring bad and discouraging reviews, i finally get my hands on it when I went to Borders last month.

Which, it turned out, was not a very good idea. The fact that i really looking forward to read it, with high hopes and all, left me very disappointed and stupid at the same time. The editor seems to cram all cheap stories he could find, as long as it resemble (even sli...more
Hands-down the best anthology of post-apocalypse stories I've ever read, INCLUDING zombie anthologies, which says a lot coming from me.

I usually don't enjoy short story collections very much because it seems like the stories end right when I'm really starting to like the characters and get into the setting. This book wasn't disappointing at all, though - there are 22 tales and only one of them was a flop (Mute, by Gene Wolfe). If you like abstract art, though, you may enjoy that story as well.

Being a voracious reader I have a special fondness for short stories. Usually such a collection can be hit or miss with such a variety of writers, even with sharing a common theme. Too often there is either not enough content to fill a volume or an editor that has a different viewpoint of what should go into a collection. John Joseph Adams seems to have mastered all the pitfalls without being full of himself and it shows. The introduction before each story is perfect; succinct notes about the au...more
Another good anthology put together by Adams. The man knows his subject and puts together an impressive collection. Nuclear holocaust, famine, plague, religious, they are all represented here. This will bring out the despair in anyone who picks it up.

Overall this is a thorough cross-section of the apocalyptic sub-genre. A few stories in you can see the general themes of the collection: bleakness, loss, betrayal, questioning the fundamentals of humanity, survival, and plucky characters. It's very obvious one person sifted through the apocalyptic stories out there and carefully chose ones that fit his mental image of what the end would be like. It's not positive.

This collection is heavy on the SF side compared to the fantasy, this isn't a n...more
Sep 16, 2011 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: post-apoc lovers

WOW! I loved this book! LOVED IT. I'm not usually one for story collections, (I find that the editor often includes some crappy stories as fluff to the good ones) but I can say that almost every single story in this anthology is well-worth the read. I'm going to actually go through and give my review of each story in the collection, because I loved this book that much. So, there are mild SPOILERS below! Not really, actually. I’m pretty good.

I'm going to list them by the author's last name, as I

Like a box of chocolates with too many coconut pieces – but still not altogether bad.

I almost gave up on this book. The first two stories were the weaker efforts from the most recognizable writers (Yes, I’m pointing at you Mr. Card). I’d read the Stephen King story before so I didn’t even bother with that one – it wasn’t his worst but definitely not his best. Those were followed by a couple more stories that I found to more or less “blah”/forgettable. Persistence paid off though, i.e. I worked m...more
Feb 08, 2011 Ed rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ed by: Steve F.
Shelves: quendi, sf-fantasy
As usual with collections of disparate authorship, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse varies in quality from story to story, author to author. Unfortunately, it varies rather wildy and unevenly. The first half of the book is quite disappointing in fact, but, fortunately, it picks up a good bit in the second half.

"The End of the Whole Mess" by Stephen King: King's depiction of a highly intelligent individual just seemed ludicrous, and the story was hackneyed. A major disappointment.

"Salvage" b...more
Wastelands is not a door-stop of an anthology. The weight of the book did not numb my fingers or weary my arms. It is still a substantial collection, however, heavy with authors whose names are more than familiar and stories with ponderous themes. But, unlike my experiences with similar anthologies, I did not feel utterly hopeless by the end. This is a very modern collection, most published within the last twenty years, and while every tale does, indeed, explore the end of the world as we know i...more
Reza Peigahi
I love the end of the world. No, really. Nothing fascinates me more than the destruction of what we have. In that vein The Stand is an all time favorite of mine. Other books, including The World Without Us, are interesting and blend a touch of realism to the genre.

So I picked up Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse after a recommendation from a friend. The book is a collection of short stories that run the gamut from Nuclear Apocalypse, to Viral, and on. A veritable litany of it's the end of th...more
Erik Erickson
Fantastic collection by Adams who has done a great job curating a strong lineup of diverse PA stories. My only complaint is that some of these will likely never be expanded and given the full exploration they're begging for.

In particular I loved George R. R. Martin's 'Dark Dark Were the Tunnels', which sparked a strong interest to seek out his other pre-Game-of-Thrones SF, and Gene Wolfe's 'Mute'. The latter is the crown jewel of this collection (and I'll be reading more from him, especially sin...more
For those who expect a compilation to include stories of varied quality, this one could be an enjoyable read. Those with more discerning tastes may want to steer clear. Beware of the classic unfinished story mislabeled as a short story; there are several of these. Beware also exposition-heavy tales that expend more effort in the explanation of a situation than the telling of the tale. Look forward, though, to some innovative and stylistically engaging, complete tales.

I recommend this collection...more
If, like me, you can never get enough of postapocalyptic stories, then this book is for you. In fact, I'm even in the midst of playing Fallout 3 right now; I'm having an absolute orgy of doom! There are lots of very well-written tales here, all in their own ways. For some, we have succumbed to nuclear war; in others, our undoing was environmental. One vivid story told of a deep space mission that returned to find that everyone on the planet had been raptured by Jesus while they were gone ("raptu...more
‘Wastelands’ is a strictly average set of short stories, each presented within an apocalyptic theme. If you enjoy such tales, there are a few gems in the collection, such as Carol Emshwiller’s ‘Killers’ and Dale Bailey’s ‘The End of the World as We Know It,’ which are worth wading through the other nonsense. Surprisingly, the shorts from the well known authors like Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Gene Wolfe, and George R. R. Martin failed to live up to their reputations (Jonathan Lethem being th...more
As with most compilations of short stories, some I loved, some I liked, and some bored me. So I just skipped the boring ones.

Most were pretty good though. The Stephen King was excellent. But I think my favourite was one where the Rapture occurred, and a group of astronauts who were in deep space return to Earth to find it deserted, and discarded newspapers full of stories about how Jesus appeared and lifted every living person off the face of the planet. And the astronauts appear to have been fo...more
Pamela Scott
I thought Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse was a great collection of stories. Every story is strong. I think this is one of the very few times when I’ve read a collection of stories and have enjoyed every one. There wasn’t one stinker in Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. Adams has put together an impressive collection.

Like all collections there were stories in Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse that stood out, that were a step or two above good and in some cases even higher than rea...more
I’ve always enjoyed post-apocalyptic fiction, even if I’ve gone off it a bit in recent years. I can’t remember where I had this book recommended to me, but it’s been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and eventually I got around to it. Adams has collated some impressive big names for this anthology, including Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Jonathon Lethem and George R.R. Martin. Unfortunately, aside from a few stand-out stories, this is a mostly forgettable collection.

Adams kicks the antholo...more
I enjoyed almost every story in this recent reprint anthology. They were almost all written by big name authors of the last 25 years, and are mostly sound science fiction with nary a magic-realism among them. Seriously, I miss this kind of writing.

Aside from my thoughts on each story, this anthology led me to consider a recurring aspect of the post-apocalyptic story. In a breakdown of civilization, we see a return to primeval behaviors - or more accurately an emphasis on those behaviors which co...more
Over 20 short stories by various award winning authors. Some futuristic, but most in modern day settings. My favorite was when SysAdmins ruled the earth. Control centers that run the Internet and major sites like Google are under tight security, and are impervious to an airborne plague. Interesting scenario. Lots of tech talk I could actually understand and believe! Some gory, some funny in a sarcastic way.
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John Joseph Adams—called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble.com—is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS: NEW ADVENTURES ON BARSOOM, ARMORED, LIGHTSPEED: YEAR ONE, BRAVE NEW WORLDS, WASTELANDS, THE LIVING DEAD, THE LIVING DEAD 2, BY BLOOD WE LIVE, FEDERATIONS, THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and THE WAY OF THE WIZARD...more
More about John Joseph Adams...
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Living Dead (The Living Dead, #1) The Living Dead, Volume 2 (The Living Dead, #2) Epic: Legends of Fantasy Brave New Worlds

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