Uniformly wonderful anthology of stories dealing with the time shortly before the apocalypse. Each author tackles the subject with his or her own uniq...moreUniformly wonderful anthology of stories dealing with the time shortly before the apocalypse. Each author tackles the subject with his or her own unique vision -- if you'd told me there would be so many different ways to envision the world ending, I'm not sure I would have believed you. Every single story is good, although some resonated with me more than others.
"Wedding Day" by Jake Kerr is a favorite for personal reasons -- I'm married to the author. That in no way takes away from the praise I'll be heaping on it, though -- it's a moving look at personal connection in times of chaos, as well as an exploration of how prejudice (especially the institutionalized kind) genuinely harms people. This one brings me to tears every time I read it.
I found "Love Perverts" by Sarah Langan and "Spores" by Seanan McGuire genuinely frightening -- Langan's story was disturbing due to the all too real sense of chaos and despair pervading it, while McGuire's protagonist is so fully realized that I couldn't help but panic with her as she sees the end coming.
I could really rave about nearly every story -- the ones that I didn't like (very few) weren't lacking in any way, they're well written and interesting, they just didn't really move me as much as the others did.
I believe some of these stories will be continued in the next book in this series, The End is Now -- I'm hoping to see what happens next in these various worlds.
3 stars for this edition, 4 stars and special mention for Jake Kerr's "Perspective". Full disclosure, Jake is my husband, but "Perspective" was the st...more3 stars for this edition, 4 stars and special mention for Jake Kerr's "Perspective". Full disclosure, Jake is my husband, but "Perspective" was the strongest piece for me. (less)
Editorial by John Joseph Adams "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin (fiction) Author Spotlight: Tom Godwin by Stacey Friedberg "The Cold Legacies" by Mike Brotherton (nonfiction) "The Old Equations" by Jake Kerr (fiction) Author Spotlight: Jake Kerr by Robyn Lupo "The First Step to Enlightment is Abject Failure" by Jeff Hecht (nonfiction) "Sweet Sixteen" by Kat Howard (fiction) Author Spotlight: Kat Howard by Robyn Lupo "The Superpowered Potential of Epigenetics" by Ekaterina Sedia (nonfiction) "Face Value" by Karen Joy Fowler (fiction) Author Spotlight: Karen Joy Fowler by Erin Stocks Feature Interview: Mary Doria Russell by Kat Howard (nonfiction) Coming Attractions
See that? Up there? Fifth from the top, "The Old Equations" by Jake Kerr, followed by Author Spotlight: Jake Kerr? Well, I don't want to brag, but that just happens to be my wonderful, talented husband! (He's also a super nice guy.)
I have to admit, I'm hard on the poor guy. I'm the horrible naysayer who peruses my beloved's writing, then sniffs "I'm pretty sure you need a comma there." Yeah, I'm that person. But he perseveres, and now we come to this -- this gorgeous, heartbreaking story of time and space and, most importantly, love.
Set in an alternate timeline, when Albert Einstein's theories were never fully developed, the story follows James -- an astronaut on a 10 year mission into deep space -- and Kate, the wife he leaves behind on Earth. We see their excitement in being part of this great undertaking, and their growing confusion as things progress NOT according to plan.
I love physics, but I don't really understand it, and I felt that the story did a wonderful job explaining what was happening (and what the consequences were) without talking down to me or going way over my head. I also felt a real connection between the characters -- there were a couple of moments that brought tears to my eyes.
Seeing Mister's brain in action moves me, and I was touched by the predicament faced by the protagonists. I can't say what their outcome will be, and I'm not sure what I would do in their situation -- and I wouldn't have it any other way. I like that there's some room for speculation here, I like that it isn't all spelled out for me.
I haven't finished reading this issue yet -- I'm eager to see what else is on offer here, and I'm especially eager to read "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin, which inspired "The Old Equations" (you can read all about the process in Jake's Author Spotlight) -- but I had to take a moment to beam proudly and say "well done!"
More updates as I work my way through this issue . . .
Full Disclosure: The author, Jake Kerr, is my husband. ( But, really, if anything that makes me a harsher critic.)
First of all, this is a short story....moreFull Disclosure: The author, Jake Kerr, is my husband. ( But, really, if anything that makes me a harsher critic.)
First of all, this is a short story. My preference is usually for a longer format, which I think provides more opportunities for the reader to learn about the characters, and more opportunities for the characters to grow. Having said that, it's always interesting to see what a good writer can do with a short story. I think that he's done a good job here -- we get all the information we need, and there's enough time for the reader to get to know and to connect emotionally with Deadeye, the main character.
I love steampunk, so I was definitely excited about reading this.
The bad news is that it's not really steampunk at all. The setting is an alternate history civil war, where there are airships and technology by Tesla, but the steampunk elements are really just window dressing and not big a part of the plot.
What I did like is that it is a very personal story with an examination of a soldier's relationship with his father. Deadeye is a man haunted by his past, and specifically by his belief that his father sees him as a failure. Even though he's hailed as a hero by everyone whom he meets, there is a part of him that refuses to accept his success until it's acknowledged by his father. This story is ultimately about someone who needs to make a very personal and horrible choice, and what happens when he makes it.
This story really seems to resonate with men, kind of like Big Fish or Field of Dreams -- I think there is a powerful need within men to reconcile their adult selves with the boy they used to be, and receiving that paternal approval seems to be a big part of that process.
I would recommend this for anyone interested in a very personal story. If you're a fan of steampunk, you'll probably love the setting and the airships, but the main draw here is proud and tragic Deadeye.,(less)