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A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers
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A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,622 ratings  ·  334 reviews
What if America's founding ideals finally became reality? A future of peace, justice, and love comes to life in original speculative stories that challenge oppression and embrace inclusiveness—from N. K. Jemisin, Charles Yu, Jamie Ford, and more.

For many Americans, imagining a bright future has always been an act of resistance. A People's Future of the United States pr
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by One World
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Monica
A collection of near future visions about the future of the American experience. It was a thought exercise in which La Valle asks authors to extrapolate from today. Where do we go from here? I bought this book on sale with the intent to read it in 2020 (or later), but something compelled me to read the introduction. La Valle's introduction is one of my favorite stories in the book. He discusses how he came up with the concept for the book by reminiscing about an encounter with his father and ste ...more
Jamie
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
There are certain collections of speculative fiction that are tattooed on my brain.

Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, and Futures on Fire, edited by Orson Scott Card, in particular.

This one now joins that gallery of mind-bending, imagination-stretching stories, but there's something soul-soothing about these tales as well.

Something sublime, yet hopeful.

My favorites were the stories by N.K. Jemisin, Ashok Banker, and Charlie Jane Anders.

Full disclosure: I have a story in here too, bu
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Sahitya
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This anthology boasts of some amazing authors and I just couldn't resist from requesting it as soon as I heard about it the first time. And what a thought provoking, sometimes infuriating and sometimes hopeful collection of stories this is. Right from the Foreword by Victor LaValle, we get an insight into how powerful representation is, how important it is to fight for the rights of the marginalized and and resistance can start from even just one person. These stories will move you, make you ang ...more
Bradley
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got into this book with the expectation that at least some of the stories by these well-known writers would be hopeful or optimistic in the face of obvious injustice. After all, the whole collection IS a tribute to Howard Zinn's classic, A People's History of the United States. So of course, an SF future treatment of the same would probably be about resistance and standing up for what we believe.

In actual fact, quite a few do follow that idea, but more of them felt like truly dark futures with
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Obsidian
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a great collection. I didn't give any story less than four stars. Some stories resonated with me very much because some of them read as things that could totally happen in a year or less with the ways things are going on in the United States right now. Other stories had a very strong fantasy element (which I liked) but didn't seem as if they could happen. One of the reasons why I loved "The Handmaid's Tale" so much is that you could see a future where the United States government decid ...more
Jim
This anthology is edited by LaValle & John Joseph Adams. I've liked previous anthologies edited by the latter. There were few gems in this collection. As usual, Howey didn't disappoint, I liked Wilson's offering, & there were a couple of authors new to me, so that made it worthwhile - barely. Well narrated, but NOT recommended. I'm going to avoid anything LaValle touches from now on.

Most of these had good ideas to start with, but buried them under race (whites bad & ignorant, all others good & w
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Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

Goodness, where to begin? Okay look. If you plan to read any anthology in your reading lifetime, it should probably be this one. Not necessarily because of all the raucous good times you'll be having, but because of how well done these stories are, and how completely relevant and important they are. Let us discuss why this is fabulous:

•Uh, did you see the author lineup? This is like,
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Greg Chatham
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Aww, jeez. I love Victor LaValle and I'm a sucker for John Joseph Adams' themed anthologies, but this collection was almost a total embarrassment.

Given a platform to say their piece about US politics, most of the authors deliver unimaginative single-issue dystopias. And though repetitive, those are preferable to the ones that try to be humorous. "Good News, Bad News" by Charles Yu and "By His Bootstraps" by Ashok K. Banker are abominably cringey. And Charlie Jane Anders' opening story, "The Book
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Drew
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some of these stories actually don't work -- they feel too hard like they're trying to address the fucked-up-edness of our present without actually imagining a future. And the collection as a whole is far darker than the jacket copy makes you believe: there's an implication that these are stories imagining a more positive future, and rarely do they achieve that. Nearly every story, even if it brings an ultimately positive spin on things, is coming at it from a place of "it's only going to get wo ...more
Johan Haneveld
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
9+ I was delibrating whether to give this four or five stars, but my intuition said to err on the side of excellence, as a four star rating would not really fit. Giving star ratings is a gut decision anyway, at least for me. And I must say I really enjoyed this collection. Even more than I thought going in. I thought I would meet a lot of grim dystopia's and leave the collection feeling depressed about the state of the world, but that's not the case. Even though most future scenario's here, near ...more
Teleseparatist
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: earc, 2019
I read this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for a review.

I found this collection oddly depressing and a little disappointing. So many of the stories hinged on heaping the existing prejudices and unfairness - only MORE - and somehow, instead of translating into angry and bright prose, the result, to me at least, seemed to be of tiredness and certain resignation. Which is not to say any one story was this, exactly, but reading about various ways Otherness could be oppress
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Ren
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
These stories are hit and miss. The hits are like trains coming at you full speed, and the misses are like toddlers trying to throw frisbees at you from thirty feet away. Still: a worthwhile read.
Sam (AMNReader)
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sam (AMNReader) by: Obsidian
A really good collection of short speculative fiction, like really good, and it's only a 4ish for me because I'm awful at anthologies like this (I'm learning I don't like to fall into a narrative style to have it flip <30 pages later. ...more
Terence
According to the back cover: "[E]ditors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.

"They also asked that the stories be badass."


A People's Future of the United States delivers on the first part. This is a collection of stori
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Katy
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this stunning speculative fiction anthology, created in the wake of our current political climate. I usually find short story collections uneven, but in this case I liked all except for 2-3 of the 25 stories. Standouts for me were N.K. Jemisin’s Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death, Kai Cheng Thom’s What You Sow, Ashok K. Banker’s By His Bootstraps, and Maria Dahvana Headley’s Read After Burning. All of the stories coalesced well around the central theme of the book.
Mona
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall rating: 3.5

This anthology takes its title from Howard Zinn ‘s famous A Peoples’ History of the United States, a history written from the viewpoint of those forgotten by history:
women, laborers, people of color, etc.

The collection features short work by some emerging voices in science fiction.
I knew of John Joseph Adams, one of the two editors, from listening to his intriguing science fiction and fantasy podcast some years ago.

I can’t comment on the audio readers as it’s unclear which r
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Ed Erwin
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sf, short-story
A collection of short SF stories from authors with a politically left bent. Some of these stories will really push some peoples buttons!

I finished this about a month ago, so have forgotten most of it and will only rate the stories that made a strong enough impression to stick in my mind.

One of the highlights is the introduction by Victor LaValle where he discusses the complicated racial dynamics in his own family. (His father and half-brother cheer along with Rush Limbaugh complaining about immi
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Hannah
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
“This book is dedicated to the folks who would not be erased”

25 authors, 25 speculative stories — all of which challenge the oppression of today and dare to dream of the vision of tomorrow. Like just how AWESOME does this sound?! And the title!! A People’s FUTURE of the United States!!

I went in with high hopes buuuuut I found this anthology to be just a bit uneven. You’d have stories that were absolutely fantastic, but they’d be followed by stories that fell a bit flat. Now can we really expect
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Patty
A collection of short stories themed around the ideals of Howard Zinn's legendary A People’s History of the United States – history told from the viewpoint of the disadvantaged – except that this time it's, you know, the future and also fictional. Honestly I picked this up mostly because LaValle was one of the editors and after his The Ballad of Black Tom I will forever read anything LaValle is involved in. Unfortunately it turns out that he didn't write any of the stories here. Oh, well. His in ...more
Christine
A little while ago, Donald Trump mentioned how colleges and universities could use their funding if they didn’t embrace freedom of speech and have challenged the beliefs of too many students. I think we are meant to read that as student republicans. On one hand, I can see the reason for making sure colleges embrace freedom of speech and sometimes the policing seems a bit overboard – targeting a professor and her husband because she expressed doubt about a cultural approbation policy over Hallowe ...more
Laura
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Victor LaValle’s and John Joseph Adams’s edited collection of speculative fiction, A People’s History of the United States, has a brilliant premise. As LaValle explains in his introduction, the title riffs on Howard Zinn’s A People's History of the United States (1980), which, in the words of the jacket copy, was the first book ‘to tell America’s story from the point of view of – and in the words of – America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and im ...more
Stephanie
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved some of the stories and disliked others, so. The usual mixed bag.
Bandit
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
October usually calls for scary reads. And, as if reading news alone wasn’t doing the trick, somehow I managed to read not one but two dystopian anthologies inspired by the news. First one was Welcome to Dystopia and objectively this one is a considerably superior of the two. Wherein the first was a sort of knee jerk reaction, lacking maturity and subtlety, this one mostly (mostly) does have that much needed maturity and subtlety. Partially because it was edited by two experts (with a very good ...more
Poonam
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
What a vibrant and thought provoking collection of stories! This collection gives voice to a very diverse group of authors - it runs the spectrum of ethnicities, sexual orientation and gender orientation - and imagines a world where the resistance to oppression, patriarchy and white supremacy is thriving.

I was fascinated by the worlds that were created, devouring each page, and found myself laughing and smirking along the way. For a non sci-fi reader, this book is very accessible (which I hope i
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Elizabeth
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are people that will be angry about this book, and fuck 'em. This collection details a United States that could be- one that often times seems frighteningly real, given the current political climate.

Some of the best science fiction writers today are gathered in one place, presenting stories never before been told. Sometimes they can be a bit obvious- but that's obvious to me, a woman who lives near San Francisco, safely ensconced in a fairly liberal bubble and with a comfortable degree of
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Linda Robinson
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The editors challenged 25 writers to bring narratives "that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in." The contributors are a stellar who's who in the currently writing realm of speculative fiction. Many of these stories are near history, which makes the changes in the narrative from now to then feel approachable. In a few years, we could move into the more restrictive country imagined in some stories, and the ...more
Jypsy
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a fan of short story collections, and I never read them. The title of this anthology caught my attention, and as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to try this one. I'm glad I did because this is an amazing collection of stories by some of the best authors. All 25 stories are speculative fiction exploring the future of the United States. They run the spectrum from women's rights, race, to plague, robotic takeover, brainwashing and government control. Some are more plausible than others. I ...more
Kendra
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of short stories that speculate on the future of the United States...or whatever it becomes. The stories by Charlie Jane Anders, Tananarive Due, N. K. Jemisin, Seanan McGuire, Daniel José Older, and G. Willow Wilson show why these authors had and deserve large audiences and followings. All of the stories feature "badass" characters, as requested by the editors, and they all do deliver, from people who keep information free and available to those who physically protect others. ...more
Shauna Sorensen
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Victor LaValle, so I was so excited to see this anthology--especially when I saw the list of writers who contributed to it (N.K. Jemisin?!)

This really didn't disappoint. As with any anthology, there were a couple that weren't quite my cup of tea, but all in all, I thought this was a really incredible read and enjoyed all of the stories in different ways. But, I will say it was tough to read an entire anthology of speculative fiction that hits so close to home.
Marshall Boyd
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are some really good stories in here. Overall, I think the collection missed the mark in terms of what it set out to do. Many of the stories don't feel like a future of the United States. This doesn't mean the stories are bad; I enjoyed reading them but they are missing a connection with Howard Zinn's important book.
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Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of a comic book Victor LaValle's DESTROYER.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a United
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