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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 ·  716 ratings  ·  180 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 prese
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by One World
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  716 ratings  ·  180 reviews


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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
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
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, s
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Leseparatist
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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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.
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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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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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
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
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
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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Michael Hicks
Jan 21, 2019 marked it as quit
Calling it quits at 34%. This anthology just isn't jiving with me and I haven't really enjoyed any of the seven (out of 20+) stories I've read thus far. I'm finding it hard to want to pick this book up any more and keep reading, so I'm throwing in the towel. No rating.
Elizabeth
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

This anthology is a who's who in current science fiction and fantasy writing. The stories are varied and all well written with various takes on the future of American culture and society. There are stories about everything from a book store that stands firmly on the dividing line between The United States and the country of California, to one about a world where contraception is outlawe
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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
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.
Bryan Camp
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This collection was great. Tough to read at times, given the current state of the world, but absolutely worth it. Overall, there was far more hope and defiance in these pages than despair, which I greatly appreciated. Some of my favorites were the stories written by Sam J. Miller, Tananarive Due, N.K. Jemisin, Alice Sola Kim, and Daniel H. Wilson.
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
Jacqie
Nov 09, 2018 is currently reading it
I'm going to try something new to me and review these stories as I read them.

1. Charlie Jane Anders story: I liked this better than All the Birds in the Sky. The idea is that a bookstore sits on the border between California and the United States in a future in which these entities become two separate countries. California is a bit too PC and tech oriented, with many of its' people wired up. The US has become more fascist and religious. Our main character goes to church in the US and also helps
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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
Bikram
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Abandoning this after reading the first 6 stories. All of them are the same old depressing and bleak future stories with all the familiar leftist themes.
Heather Allen
Check out this review and others on 80 Books Blog!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this collection of 25 future stories! I have never felt so strongly about an anthology in my life. The theme is the future of the United States, based on Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, so readers are immediately looking into the lives of marginalized people in the future of the U.S. It’s a masterwork of different perspectives, writ
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Matthew Lloyd
I received an ARC of this volume via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. At the moment the title of this volume in the Kindle Edition on Goodreads is "Thirty Visionary Stories"; it actually seems to be "Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers", though.

Recently, I have been sporadically listening to a series of lectures by Gary K Wolfe, available from my library via Hoopla, called "How Great Science Fiction Works". In episode five, he discusses utopia and dystopia and offers the
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Shomeret
I read 16 stories in this anthology which is more than half. This means I have a fairly good impression of its contents. I rated the anthology by averaging my ratings for each of the stories that I read which is my policy for anthologies.

Victor LaValle says in his introduction that these stories are intended to be "futures we can believe in". So I judged each story on that basis. Is it a future that I could believe in? That wasn't always the case.

The story that I considered the best one was "A H
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Dominic
This book is an explosion of awesome. This is one case where the hyperboles on the book jacket are no exaggeration. These stories indeed are "thrilling!" "inspiring!" and "a sheer joy to read!" Short story compilations can be a tricky thing to pull off—usually a few outstanding stories placed near the beginning and a mixed-bag throughout the rest. In this case, the stories (all new 2019 publications for this collection!) fulfill and in several cases surpass the expectations of their editors, Vic ...more
Mark Collins
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
In terms of sheer name-dropping, this collection of short stories was impressive--Roxanne Gay, N.K. Jemisin, Charles Yu, Charlie Jane Anders, Omar El Akkad, etc. etc. However, like most short story collections, this one had really creative stories alongside complete duds. The best stories were ones that eschewed heavy-handed satire or simple formulas of resistance for artful storytelling and discomforting conclusions. (For example, there were so many not-so-veiled references to Trump that were j ...more
Kara
4.5 stars. An excellent anthology of some of the greatest (and most diverse) writers of speculative fiction today. This collection introduced me to new authors and gave me a chance to read more work from other writers I already loved. As the name suggests, this anthology focuses on the United States and how political and cultural life could evolve in this countries over the coming years and decades. Readers who aren't from the U.S. (or who don't keep up with U.S. news) may miss a lot of the refe ...more
Nicole
I love short stories, I love speculative fiction, and THAT AUTHOR LIST! I was destined to read this. There were a couple of stories that fell a little short for me, but overall this is a really solid collection, with some definite standouts. I think my favorite was "Read After Burning", and I was thrilled to see that I have a book by that author on my TBR for this year's PopSugar challenge!

Overall, this was a bittersweet blend of hope and warning. The diversity and richness of the various futur
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Nadine
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I wasn't able to read the last 3 or 4 stories before this library book had to go back, but on the whole I think this was a strong collection - stronger than most anthology-type short story collections. Only a couple fell completely flat for me. Whoever read this library copy before me left a brief comment after every story, written very lightly in pencil (i.e. good, v.good, meh, ok, unsatisfactory) and I agreed with every assessment :)

My favorites:

Good News Bad News by Charles Yu (who can do no
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Brian
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit discouraging (but not surprising) that this is a mostly dystopian collection.

Favourite stories:
“Riverbed” by Omar El Akkad, “It was Saturday Night, I Guess That Makes It All Right” by Sam J. Miller, “Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death” by N.K. Jemisin and “Good News, Bad News” by Charles Yu were all fantastic.

Stories that make me want to read more by the author:
“The Wall” by Lizz Huerta, “The Referendum” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, "The Synapse Will Free Us from Ourselves” by Violet Allen,
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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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“You know what this country is?” she said. “This country is a man trying to describe a burning building without using the word fire.” 2 likes
“Whatever fuckery was about to unfold, she would meet it with swagger.” 1 likes
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