A review of Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep (edited by Peter Öberg)
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep (edited by Peter Öberg) was published by Affront Publishing in April/May 2015.
Information about Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep:
26 short stories from the new wave of Swedish speculative fiction writers.
Forget about cheap furniture, meatballs and crime fiction. Sweden has so much more to offer. Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep contains twenty-six stories from the new generation of Swedish writers of science fiction and the fantastic. Stories ranging from space horror and post-apocalyptic nightmares to tender dramas. Stories with steampunk horses, android uprisings and cheeky goblins. Stories that are action-packed, wise, silly, beautiful, surreal and horrifying.
Featuring stories by
Hans Olsson, Boel Bermann, Erik Odeldahl, Ingrid Remvall, Love Kölle, Lupina Ojala, Christina Nordlander, Pia Lindestrand, Jonas Larsson, Tora Greve, Andrew Coulthard, Alexandra Nero, Johannes Pinter, Andrea Grave-Müller, AR Yngve, My Bergström, Anders Blixt, Maria Haskins, Patrik Centerwall, Björn Engström, KG Johansson, Oskar Källner, Sara Kopljar, Eva Holmquist, Markus Sköld, Anna Jakobsson Lund.
A REVIEW OF WAITING FOR THE MACHINES TO FALL ASLEEP
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep is an impressive and well-edited anthology of new Swedish science fiction stories. I was pleasantly surprised by this anthology, because it contained quality stories.
Swedish authors have already proven themselves capable of writing thrilling crime fiction. Now they prove themselves capable of writing intriguing science fiction that has both style and originality. This fascinating anthology gives speculative fiction readers a good glimpse into Swedish science fiction.
It's nice that Scandinavian speculative fiction is on the rise, because it brings much-needed freshness to the genre. As most readers are aware of, this genre is mostly dominated by established and well-known authors whose books can be found in most bookshops around the world. Fortunately, there are independent publishers like Affront Publishing that offer readers quality fiction which differs from mainstream science fiction in terms of style, quality and originality.
This anthology contains the following stories:
- Melody of the Yellow Bard by Hans Olsson
- The Rats by Boel Bermann
- Getting to the End by Erik Odeldahl
- Vegatropolis - City of the Beautiful by Ingrid Remvall
- Jump to the Left, Jump to the Right by Love Kölle
- The Order of Things by Lupina Ojala
- To Presever Humankind by Christina Nordlander
- The Thirteenth Tower by Pia Lindestrand
- Punch Card Horses by Jonas Larsson
- The Philosopher's Stone by Tora Greve
- A Sense of Foul Play by Andrew Coulthard
- Waste of Time by Alexandra Nero
- The Damien Factor by Johannes Pinter
- Wishmaster by Andrea Grave-Müller
- Quadrillennium by AR Yngve
- Mission Accomplished by My Bergström
- The Road by Anders Blixt
- Lost and Found by Maria Haskins
- The Publisher's Reader by Patrik Centerwall
- Stories from the Box by Björn Engström
- The Membranes in the Centering Horn by KG Johansson
- One Last Kiss Goodbye by Oskar Källner
- The Mirror Talks by Sara Kopljar
- Keep Fighting Until the Machines Fall Asleep by Eva Holmquist
- Outpost Eleven by Markus Sköld
- Messiah by Anna Jakobsson Lund
All of these stories are fascinating and they offer a good dose of well written science fiction for quality oriented readers who want to read new stories. They differ quite a lot from each other, but all of them are good and worth reading. They range from traditional science fiction to horror flavoured science fiction, and there's even a few fantasy elements in them.
There's a surprising amount of tenderness in some of the stories while others have plenty of brutality, darkness and roughness in them. That's why it's possibe to say that there's something for everyone in this versatile anthology.
Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
Melody of the Yellow Bard by Hans Olsson:
- A sci-fi horror story about a man who has done a thesis about controllable wormholes. A multinational company is interested in his invention and he is invited to an interview.
- A well written and fascinating story with a perfect ending.
The Rats by Boel Bermann:
- The protagonist of this story, a researcher, is infected with a virus that makes the infected emotional and weak. He has been asked to help figure out a solution to get rid of the rats that live in the cities.
- An excellent story with a perfect ending.
Getting to the End by Erik Odeldahl:
- A well written and interesting story about a man who's capable of finding things. He is asked to retrieve books from a house, which is in the Event Sector where things change and buildings move around.
- This is one of the best stories in this anthology.
Vegatropolis - City of the Beautiful by Ingrid Remvall:
- A fascinating story about a future society where beauty means a lot and where machines are alive.
- This is one of the most interesting stories in this anthology.
Jump to the Left, Jump to the Right by Love Kölle:
- A story about Norna who has to kill Beast to become Passed.
- An interesting and a bit different kind of a rite of passage story.
The Order of Things by Lupina Ojala:
- A well written story about a woman who has been left alone by her son in a community outside the City.
- This is one of my favourite stories in this anthology.
To Preseve Humankind by Christina Nordlander:
- An excellent story that has been written from an android's point of view.
- The author writes well about the feelings of the android protagonist.
The Thirteenth Tower by Pia Lindestrand:
- A beautifully written story about life after a great natural disaster.
- An excellent and wonderfully poetic story.
Punch Card Horses by Jonas Larsson:
- A story about a market in Skrivsjö and mechanical horses.
- An intriguing steampunkish story.
The Philosopher's Stone by Tora Greve:
- An especially intriguing alternate history story about alchemy and science in England.
- The author writes fluently about the characters, which include Isaac Newton.
A Sense of Foul Play by Andrew Coulthard:
- An interesting and a bit different kind of a story about Norsborg Gaming Club.
- This story reminded me slightly of James Starling's Arteess in certain ways, but was totally different from it.
Waste of Time by Alexandra Nero:
- An interesting and well written flash fiction story about timewaste.
- A short, but surprisingly interesting story.
The Damien Factor by Johannes Pinter:
- A well written story about sexual abuse and a new kind of technology that is used in crime investigation.
- The author creates a good atmosphere in this story and ends the story in an excellent way.
Wishmaster by Andrea Grave-Müller:
- An interesting story about a man who meets a goblin called Ella. In this story goblins live with humans.
- This is one of the longest and most entertaining stories in this anthology.
Quadrillennium by AR Yngve:
- An excellent story set in the far future. This is a story about a family gathering and the celebration of Winter Solstice and the Savior.
- One of the best and most memorable stories in this anthology.
Mission Accomplished by My Bergström:
- A story about Lt. Berger whose mind has been transferred into a semi-organic body. She doesn't remember anything of the mission she is supposed to do.
- A well written story.
The Road by Anders Blixt:
- An interesting story about a female marshal who works for the Road Council that is charged with keeping the lanes of the Road open to everyone all the time. She meets two friars and helps them.
- The author writes well about the protagonist and her work.
Lost and Found by Maria Haskins:
- A story about a woman who has survived a crash onto a planet and has learned to survive there.
- A well written and interesting story that has a good ending.
The Publisher's Reader by Patrik Centerwall:
- A story about Helga who works as an editor for The Publishing House that has strict guidelines concerning the contents of the books.
- The author writes fluently about the editor's work.
Stories from the Box by Björn Engström:
- An intriguing story about a man who is being kept a prisoner in a box where he has no room to walk and stand.
- This is one of the most fascinating stories in this anthology. This story takes an interesting twist when the protagonist gets out of the box.
The Membranes in the Centering Horn by KG Johansson:
- An intriguing story about a man who visits a club with his friend and begins to talk with a stranger who tells him a story.
- This is a very good and well written story with adventure elements.
One Last Kiss Goodbye by Oskar Källner:
- A sad and touching story about a woman who returns to her husband after being a way for many years.
- A beautifully written and memorable story.
The Mirror Talks by Sara Kopljar:
- A story about a single mother who misses her child and gets herself an android child.
- This story has a brilliantly disturbing ending.
Keep Fighting Until the Machines Fall Asleep by Eva Holmquist:
- A well written story about Kate who lives in the city that is controlled by machines.
- The author has created an interesting story about a woman who wants to free humans and defeat the machines.
Outpost Eleven by Markus Sköld:
- A fascinating story about a phenomenon called black clouds and Marta who's a station master at Outpost Eleven.
- The author writes well about the happenings and ends the story in an excellent way.
Messiah by Anna Jakobsson Lund:
- This is a perfect final story for this anthology about a woman called Grace and what has happened to the world.
- An excellent and fluently written story.
Here's a few extra words about some of the stories:
Hans Olsson's "Melody of the Yellow Bard" is an interesting and entertaining horror story of a man who has a chance to visit another planet. The author writes well about the happenings and the protagonist's feelings concerning his job. There was something wonderfully Lovecraftian and fascinatingly weird about this story that I found compelling. The dark atmosphere of this story appealed to my imagination.
Boel Bermann's "The Rats" is a fascinating story in which the protagonist feels sympathy towards the rats and wants to save them, although he should be getting rid of them. The ending of this story is perfect and will please fans of horror stories.
Lupina Ojala's "The Order of Things" is a well written story. It was great to find a story like this, because I've always enjoyed reading this kind of well written science fiction. The author writes well about what has happened after an Android Uprising.
Tora Greve's "The Philosopher's Stone" is an interesting story about how scientists are intrigued by alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone. The author has managed to create an excellent atmosphere and sense of place, and she writes well about the characters. This is one of the best alternate history stories I've read during the recent years.
Johannes Pinter's "The Damien Factor" is a well written story about child's sexual abuse and a new kind of technology that is used to enter another person's mind to find out what has happened. The author writes perfectly about what happens inside the mind. The ending of this story is excellent.
Andrea Grave-Müller's "Wishmaster" was a pleasant surprise, because it was something that I didn't expect to find in this anthology. It's an especially interesting story about a man who meet a goblin girl, and suddenly the goblin girl asks him to help her. This is the beginning of a well written story that ends in an interesting way.
Patrik Centerwall's "The Publisher's Reader" offers an interesting glimpse into a future society in which books are published in a different way and strict guidelines are followed to ensure that books have only appropriate material in them. I enjoyed reading this story, because the author wrote well about what the editor felt about the new book she was editing and what kind of choices she made.
Oskar Källner's "One Last Kiss Goodbye" has plenty of emotional depth. This story is a small masterpiece of storytelling, because it tells about a woman who returns home to her husband after leaving him alone and travelling to other worlds with an expedition.
I was impressed by all of these stories, because they were excellent and thought-provoking entertainment. The editor, Peter Öberg, has chosen the stories well, because each of the stories is of good quality and offers plenty of entertainment and interesting futuristic visions to readers. One of the best things about these stories is that there's plenty of freshness in them (freshness is something that is seldom found in large quantities in modern science fiction anthologies).
It's nice that there's originality and unpredictability in all of these stories. I was impressed when I noticed how well written these stories were and how much effort the authors had put into them. In my opinion, it's great that there are science fiction authors out there who do their utmost best to write good and memorable stories.
The amostphere was perfect in many stories. I especially enjoyed reading about what has happened to humans in the future and how the world has changed. I've always enjoyed reading dark stories, so I found many of these stories fascinating (I can highly recommend them to science fiction and horror readers).
I have to mention that Hans Olsson's "Melody of the Yellow Bard" made a huge impression on me, because the author fluently combines science fiction with threatening and strange happenings. He shows what can happen when people travel to other planets and come face to face with something unexpected and shocking. I think it's possible that the author may have been influenced and inspired by Lovecraft's stories and the sci-fi horror film Alien (1979).
All of the authors have strong and unique voices that beckon readers to read their stories. This anthology showcases their talents in a perfect way and makes readers want to follow their writing careers.
Most of the authors in this anthology were totally new to me, but I remember hearing about a couple of them. It would be interesting to read more stories from these authors, because they've written excellent stories. I hope that all of them will continue to write stories and will soon astound readers with new stories. In my opinion, they are all authors to watch.
I'm not sure if all readers will agree with me on this, but in my opinion some of these stories were reminiscent of certain episodes of the new version of The Outer Limits sci-fi TV series (1995-2002). There was something in them that reminded a bit of this TV series.
I think that this anthology will especially appeal to those readers who love dark stories and dark happenings, but I'm sure that other readers will also find it intriguing, because all the stories are worth reading. There are plenty of different kind of elements in these stories that will be of interest to many science fiction readers.
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep is - without any kind of doubt - one of the best and most impressive speculative fiction anthologies of the year. If you like science fiction, you should take a look at this anthology, because it's an excellent anthology of new Swedish science fiction stories that will please fans of well written science fiction stories. I think that when you finish reading this anthology, the first thing that comes to your mind is "more, please", because it would be nice to read more this kind of stories.