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The Future is Blue

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Thirteen stories unlike any others.

In the title story, Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning novelette “The Future Is Blue,” an outcast girl named Tetley lives on floating Garbagetown, in a world that dreams of the long lost land. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos is explored and reinvented in style in “Down and Out in R’lyeh.” In the novelette “The Limitless Perspective of Master Peek
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Subterranean Press
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Jul 23, 2018 marked it as to-read
This hardcover is copy 348 of 1250 numbered copies produced and is signed by Catherynne M. Valente .


007 - "The Future Is Blue"
029 - "No One Dies in Nowhere"
059 - "Two and Two is Seven"
081 - "Down and Out in R'lyeh"
103 - "The Limitless Perspective of Master Peek, or, the Luminescence of Debauchery"
127 - "Snow Day"
155 "Planet Lion"
175 "Flame, Pearl, Mother, Autumn, Virgin, Sword, Kiss, Blood, Heart, and Grave"
211 - Major Tom"
231 - "The Lily and the Horn"
245 - "The Flame After the Candle"
I'm always going to be a Valente fan: she just conjures such beautiful images and leaves them in my head, like the aftertaste of particularly vivid dreams. I had this collection saved up for my vacation, and I spent a few days lounging by the lake, eating farm fresh cherries and getting drunk on words.

Valente's prose is ornate and always surprisingly poetic, as usual. But I found this collection to be cleaner and less baroque than some of her other books I've read. I am beginning to find pattern
The Future is Blue is a collection of short fiction written by Catherynne M. Valente. She is of my favorite authors (I've read three of her novels and loved all of them), so I wanted to see if I liked her short fiction as much.
Valente's writing is unique and beautiful, but it's also very heavy and, I have to say, it's almost too much sometimes. There are so many layers and hidden meanings that you can't enjoy the story unless you're deliberately looking for them, and this seems to become more bl
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reviewing a short story collection is not easy at all. It would be far too easy to fall into the trap of reviewing each and every story.

One of the standouts for me is the titular story, "The Future is Blue." I'm also going to focus a bit more on this story than some of the others because, joy of joys, a sequel is coming out next year! This was easily one of my favorite stories. Tetley, the heroine, is so lovable and optimistic, despite the trials that she faces in her everyday life. The story it
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The future is blue. It is now. It is, or rather was, the past. Today it is blue. Perhaps #416ec6. Do you know what else the future is? It is beasts roaming around like dinosaurs who can’t see a comet spiraling toward them. It is a place where robots fight it out with fairies. Where green lions who mate in threes eat the past of their victims. In a word, the future is stories.

Have you ever seen a Picasso? Perhaps Pablo? You might have heard of the many stages he went through in his painting caree
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
*Clarification: my review applies to the novelette "The Future is Blue" contained in this collection of the same name.*

Brilliant novelette - mesmerizing, beautiful, heart-breaking story that I don't want to spoil for you. It's the kind of story that stays with you for a long time.

I'm definitely going to read more by this author!
Kenya Starflight
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
Catherynne Valente is one of my favorite writers for a variety of reasons. She has a gorgeous gift with words and a spectacular, dreamy writing style; her imagination is vivid and colorful, incorporating well-known myths and fantasy/sci-fi tropes while giving them her own unique twists; and she's able to make subtle but powerful statements about the world, humanity, and common problems and tropes in fiction without being heavy-handed about any of them. I've already devoured her novel that came o ...more
I tend to find Valente’s work hit or miss. I cannot emphasize enough how much I adore In the Night Garden, but then I wasn’t able to finish The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland. The Future Is Blue thus represents a microcosm of my feelings about Valente’s work: some stories I enjoyed, others left me cold.

As it turns out, I’d also already read a number of the stories in this collection. I only reread two of these here (“Snow Day” and “Badgirl, the Deadman, and the Wheel of Fortune”), both becau
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-net-galley
For me, reading Cat Valente's work has always been a wonderous submersion into language, one in which she allows you to revel in lush, excited prose and then socks you a punch with some point she wished to make that is poignant or powerful and, while not unexpected, she always catches you slightly off-guard. This is a collection of short stories largely dedicated to that experience. A gathering of some of her recent shorter work packaged in a stunning hardcover with a beautiful cover illustratio ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I had completely forgotten what this was about to be honest. So I went into this thinking it was 1 story. Turns out this is a book with multiple little stories in it. This is the first thing I have read by Catherynne M. Valente and I can say that I liked some of the stories in the book but did DNF other stories. Some stories I felt were really awesome while others I couldn't read past the first couple pages because it was just... I don't even know what word to use to describe it. So I am gonna g ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
So hard to rate a book of short stories without feeling like you’re doing a disservice to the great ones among the collection. The ones I loved I truly did, but as there were only two of those (the rest being 5 Likes, 4 Meh and 4 Unreadables) it has to be a two star overall.
As with any compilation of stories, an overall review is difficult. The tales bear no relation to one another, and other than sharing the same spine they cannot be readily compared. They all betray their origins through a distinct and recognisable Catherynne M. Valente-esque prose, but are otherwise wildly varying in tone, genre, perspective, and style.

I think that in reality each story herein is pretty masterful, and undeniably thought-provoking, but this didn’t mean I personally liked every on
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know all about defiance...

I love getting lost in Catherynne Valente's words and worlds.

There is whimsy and wonder and darkness just as a story veers towards twee.

Complexity of thought and complexity of language and none of it gets in the way of a rollicking good story.

Standouts for me were Down and Out in R'lyeh, The Future is Blue, The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still, Two and Two is Seven, Snow Day, The Lily and the Horn, The Flame After the Candle and The
William Leight
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
A rather mixed collection of stories, most of which are more about Valente’s language and the atmosphere than the plot or characters.

“The Future is Blue”: A post-apocalyptic tale of the last humans, who are living on a floating garbage patch. Despite the obviously sci-fi setting, Valente takes a more fairy-tale like approach: the result is an interesting take on the genre, and not just because I’m not aware of anybody else who thought to take advantage of the possibilities of garbage the way tha
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I definitely need a break from Catherynne M. Valente’s short fiction books.

Mini-rant: I have never been a fan of single-author collections that are compiled long enough after many of the tales have been available elsewhere (Neil Gaiman, anyone??), not just in isolated formats like on or an online magazine of fiction (Clarkesworld), but in multi-author anthologies, chapbooks, and limited edition hardcover short-prints. In an age where books and stories are quickly offered to readers I th
The color blue can evoke strong and sorrowful feelings, but it is also the color of the sky where our loftiest ideas live and fly. Which makes The Future is Blue a very appropriate title for this short story collection. Every tale contains various amounts of emotion and whimsy as Catherynne M. Valente deals with the deep and profound often through silly and absurd worlds.

For example: In the title story, all land is now underwater and humanity drifts on piles of trash, divided by the different ki
Jill Furedy
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had mixed feelings on this one. Some of her worlds are so bizarre it can be hard to follow. And so I'd be reading a story and thinking I wasn't sure about this one, but then with a few of them, by the time I was into the groove of that particular world and storytelling, it would be over and left me wanting to know more. Hence the 4 star review, that even some of the confusing stories intrigued me. The titular story was a good one. It takes place in a post apocalyptic world where the main chara ...more
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this book of short stories, Valente demonstrates a mastery over prose. Each story seems to begin with a conceit that she pushes as far as it could possibly go. The stories are all innovative, all an experience of discovery for the intellect. At her best, she pushes this technique to a brilliance that leaves one in awe.

My favorite two in this collection were Down and Out in R'lyeh and the title story. In the former, she writes in the style of a beat novelist, like Jack Kerouac, except the guys
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Valente is one of those authors who doesn’t tell you a story, she doesn’t even show you so much as she takes you on a journey. Chronology, perspective and language bend to her will, endowing her tales with a sense of playful wonder and knowing dread. The tones of the stories within differ widely, and genre is fluid both within and between tales, and something nearly laughed at in some cases. The underlying theme of the book (the future and our regard, or disregard for the consequences of our act ...more
Laura Hill
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Thank you to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for an early review copy of The Future is Blue by Catherynne Valente, which will publish July 31, 2018.  All thoughts are my own.
Writing: 4 World Building: 5 Characters: 3 Story plots: 4

Wildly imaginative short stories from the author of Space Opera. Valente has a love for language, adopting a highly mutated vocabulary (with strong English roots!). Each story takes place in a differently bizarre setting with perfect internal coherence. The story evol
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every story here has its place and it’s pros and cons. There were two longer novellas that I think could have had better impact with a bit smaller word count.

But best is that it starts strongly and ends strongly. The Future Is Blue is the first story and where the title is taken from and features a protagonist who travels across the island of trash that her people live on in order to find her name. There is no land in this story and all people travel across a wasted water only planet - it’s won
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One sentence review: A compilation of futuristic worlds leaving you haunted, wondering, and grasping for more.

I read The Future is Blue between other books, reading a story a day until I finished the collection. Each story dug into my mind, lingering, and sparking conversations with my spouse as the stories demanded more attention. I love stories, like those in this book, that demand to be discussed. While some are more fantastical than others, each story brought itself up over dinner, before be
Bree Pye
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It took me 620 days to read this collection cover-to-cover. Not because I didn't love it, but because it was hard to read, in the sort of way good beef jerky is hard to eat. To experience all the flavor, you have to rip a bit off and chew and chew and suck and suck and eventually, all the flavors come out and overwhelm your mouth and you'll love beef jerky your whole life but will never have two pieces that taste the same. This was that book. Lots of chewing. Lots of thinking. Lots of re-testing ...more
C. A.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I generally burn through most books in a few days or less.

"The Future Is Blue" took me over a week, an unheard length of time for me for anything that wasn't non-fiction or Game-of-Throne sized, because I was wallowing in the wonderful prose. One story, "The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild," probably accounted for half that time. So much fun, so layered, every word and phrase carefully chosen and many with multiple meanings. "It's allowed to be both things."

Valente takes fairy tale tropes and rh
Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I love Valente's work because it's always full of strangeness and wonder. She experiments with weird worlds and takes classic stories in odd directions. Her prose is magical; she is a master of style and colorful descriptions.

There were a couple of stories in this volume that didn't much appeal to me, but I enjoyed the rest and loved many of them. This is an excellent collection and
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I only made it half-way through this collection before deciding Valente's writing is a bit too wordy and pretentious for my taste. I got through "Planet Lion" before giving up, and out of those that I read the one I did actually like was "No One Dies in Nowhere." "Two and Two is Seven" was also decent, and "The Future is Blue" and "Snow Day" were alright, but not all that interesting honestly. The rest however were such a jumbled mess of too many words for descriptions, unending similes so long ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From Lisa - It's easy to forget how amazing a book of great short stories can be. Little looks into another world that let you slip away for just a moment out of your day to someplace so special. Valente is a genius, she creates such magic I can't even fathom most of it - reading over my level, for sure. There are stories in here that feel like just a brush of paint over your consciousness: I don't understand them at all, but I can feel them, like looking through a colored piece of glass at the ...more
Brian Rogers
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Valente is is on she writes like an angel, and she's on about half the time in this volume. On the whole i prefer her longer works to her short stories, as you have more time to fall into the language and catch the unique rhythm that she builds up in each story. Still, many of these are exceptional (personal favorite is the meeting between Alice Pleasance Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies), and even the worst are very, very good. ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of short stories. I had read most of them before in other publications, but I found them to be actually more enjoyable the second time around - maybe because I find reading online more distracting, or maybe because I knew the plot already so I could focus on the emotional impact.
Still, CMV's dialogue is as usual dense and elaborate, so (for me) this was a book best read in short sips, one story at a time, rather than trying to devour it all at once.
Vicki Kuro
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never wanted this book to end. I wanted to forever stay in all the little universes Catherynne was presenting me with.
Her control of language and linguistics is pure magic. The little details she pays attention to in order to create the bigger story are just to die for.
Granted, some were less exciting than others, but the weirdness of them all, the flavor, the color, the emotion... I am truly fascinated by her writing, and can't wait to read more.
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Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and cam ...more

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