Traci Loudin's Reviews > Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

Wastelands by John Joseph Adams
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Aug 25, 12

bookshelves: favorites, borrowed, own-ebook, shorts
Read from July 26 to August 25, 2012

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 the truth is, a lot of that junk was "literary," i.e. no plot, no ending, no satisfaction. I didn't even like many of the stories in Gardner Dozois's "Best of" anthologies (e.g. The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection).

These stories all feature interesting characters in stories that have a beginning, middle, and end--imagine that! Some stories I liked best from Wastelands:
-"The People of Sand and Slag" by Paolo Bacigalupi - A unique look at some post-humans and their view of the world.
-"Bread and Bombs" by M. Rickert - Man, what an ending!
-"Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels" by George R. R. Martin - If you've read anything else by GRRM, you know better than to expect this to be a happy story, right?
-"Waiting for the Zephyr" by Tobias Buckell - A hopeful story.
-"Never Despair" by Jack McDevitt - Another hopeful story, with some interesting characters.
-"When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" by Cory Doctorow - An amusing fantasy, hah! :)
-"Artie's Angles" by Catherine Wells - Tugged on the heartstrings even more than I expected.
-"Inertia" by Nancy Kress - Brilliant, inspiring, sad yet hopeful.
-"Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler - AMAZING. I was blown away by this story. The idea is that a plague took away humankind's ability to form and understand words. The story that follows is awesome.
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Reading Progress

07/26/2012 page 18
5.0% "So this wasn't on my reading list, but when I heard about it on the Geeks Guide to the Galaxy podcast, I decided it had to be next. Sounds awesome."
07/31/2012 page 62
19.0% "All 3 stories so far have been amazing and vary widely in topic. These aren't always stories telling how the apocalypse came about, and their worlds are all unique."
08/05/2012 page 161
48.0% "College made me hate short stories, but I've read 10 of the stories in this collection so far and loved every one. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised--these are good, "Big Idea" stories with plots and interesting characters, not literary fiction."
08/24/2012 page 282
85.0% "So many amazing stories! "Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler really blew me away. Amazing idea: A plague eradicated humankind's ability to form, understand, or read words. Chaos ensues."

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