Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature (edited by Jacob Weisman) will be published by Tachyon Publications in June/July 2016.
Information about Jacob Weisman:
Jacob Weisman is the editor and publisher at Tachyon Publications, which he founded in 1995. He is a three-time World Fantasy Award nominee and is the series editor of Tachyon's Hugo, Nebula, and Shirley Jackson Award–winning novella line. His previous anthologies include The Sword & Sorcery Anthology (with David G. Hartwell) and The Treasury of the Fantastic (with David M. Sandner).
Information about Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature:
The invasion of the future has begun.
Literary legends including Steven Millhauser, Junot Diáz, Amiri Baraka, and Katharine Dunn have attacked the borders of the every day. Like time traveling mad-scientists, they have concocted outrageous creations from the future. They have seized upon tales of technology gone wrong and mandated that pulp fiction must finally grow up.
In these wildly-speculative stories you will discover the company that controls the world from an alley in Greenwich Village. You’ll find nanotechnology that returns memories to the residents of a nursing home. You'll rally an avian-like alien to become a mascot for a Major League Baseball team.
The Invaders are here. But did science fiction colonize them first?
A REVIEW OF INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE (EDITED BY JACOB WEISMAN)
Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature features 22 tales written by authors who have mostly written literary fiction, but have also occasionally tried their hands on science fiction. This anthology allows readers an opportunity to explore interesting, inventive and original stories that wonderfully demonstrate what can be achieved when literary authors write science fiction and concentrate on speculating about life, relationships and technology.
As this anthology demonstrates, literary fiction and speculative fiction go perfectly hand in hand. They have a lot to offer to each other, because they balance each other's strengths and weaknesses in a perfect way.
I've noticed that during the recent years certain speculative fiction novels have been classified as literary fiction, although they're at least partially speculative fiction. This is an interesting and welcome trend, because it's possible that many readers may consciously avoid reading speculative fiction, but now they have an opportunity to read it, because it has been classified as literary fiction. I think it's great that many literary authors dare to experiment with different things and have begun to write crossover stories that are in equal parts literary fiction and speculative fiction, because it adds plenty of diversity to genre and brings new readers to the genre.
I've also noticed that authors who are capable of writing good literary fiction often have an ability to produce intriguing speculative fiction stories. All of the stories featured in this anthology are proof of this, because they're well written stories with a strong emphasis on literary values.
The editor, Jacob Weisman, has done his best to gather stories that differ from each other, because he has paid a lot of attention to diversity. His goal has been to discover what kind of science fiction non-genre authors write and how it differs from what actual science fiction authors write. The answer to this question can be found in these stories, because some of them are different and others not so different from actual science fiction.
As many readers may be aware of, speculative fiction has not often been considered to be quality literature and many critics have shunned it. It's a shame that critics feel this way, because the truth is that speculative fiction is often much better literature than actual literary fiction, because allows authors to explore difficult themes and delicate issues on a much broader and more imaginative way. I have a feeling that this anthology will make critics think twice about what they say about speculative fiction, because all of the stories are excellent in their own ways and feature literary prose.
Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature contains the following stories:
- “Portal” by J. Robert Lennon
- “Beautiful Monsters” by Eric Puchner
- “The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun” by Ben Loory
- “Five Fucks” by Jonathan Lethem
- “LIMBs” by Julia Elliott
- “We Are The Olfanauts” by Deji Bryce Olukotun
- “The Region of Unlikeness” by Rivka Galchen
- “A Precursor of the Cinema” by Steven Millhauser
- “In the Bushes” by Jami Attenberg
- “Fugue State” by Brian Evenson
- “Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated” by W. P. Kinsella
- “Lambing Season” by Molly Gloss
- “Conrad Loomis & The Clothes Ray” by Amiri Baraka
- “Topics in Advanced Rocketry” by Chris Tarry
- “The Inner City” by Karen Heuler
- “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders
- “Amorometer” by Kelly Luce
- “The Yogurt of Vasirin Kefirovsky” by Max Apple
- “Monstros” by Junot Díaz
- “Minotaur” by Jim Shepard
- “Help Me Find My Spaceman Lover” by Robert Olen Butler
- “Near-Flesh” by Katherine Dunn
All of the authors have written unique and fantastically speculative stories that will please and intrigue a wide range of readers. Each of the stories is something special and offers different kinds of visions about strange happenings, near future worlds and technological wonders to readers.
Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
“Portal” by J. Robert Lennon:
- In this story, the author explores a magic portal in the backyard.
- It was interesting for me to read about what kind of places the family members visited when they went through the portal.
“Beautiful Monsters” by Eric Puchner:
- This is a fascinating and well written story about what it means to have a parent.
- I liked the author's way of writing about delicate issues, because he depicts an interesting vision of a world without adults.
- I enjoyed this story, because it was something a bit different.
“The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun” by Ben Loory:
- In this charming story, a squid is intrigued by the sun and falls in love with it.
- This story reminded me a bit of certain stories written by Rhys Hughes.
“Five Fucks” by Jonathan Lethem:
- An interesting and quite an extraordinary story about a woman who has had sex with a man and suddenly two weeks of her life have passed away.
- This is a delightfully unique and fascinating story.
“LIMBs” by Julia Elliott:
- An intriguing exploration of memories and growing old in the future.
- The author writes well about what is possible in the future world.
“We Are The Olfanauts” by Deji Bryce Olukotun:
- A brilliant story about the change in internet technology and social media, because it introduces a new internet trend called whyffing.
- This is the first time that I've read about scented social media.
- I found this story fascinating.
“The Region of Unlikeness” by Rivka Galchen:
- An excellent account of a relationship between a young woman and two strange men, Ilan and Jacob, who may or may not be academics.
- I liked this story a lot, because it was a captivatingly written story.
“A Precursor of the Cinema” by Steven Millhauser:
- This is an interesting piece of fiction, because it's a story about the possible missing link - a painter called Harlan Crane - between paintings and motion pictures.
- I enjoyed reading about the almost forgotten painter's works.
“In the Bushes” by Jami Attenberg:
- This is a bit different kind of a story about what has happened to automobiles, because it has become illegal to own them.
- This is one of the most interesting stories I've read this year.
“Fugue State” by Brian Evenson:
- A brilliantly unsettling story about a plague of amnesia.
- This is definitely one of the best and most intriguing stories I've ever read, because it's a fascinatingly surreal story.
- This story will appeal to readers who love the stranger side of speculative fiction and are fascinated by weird fiction.
- I consider 'Fugue State' to be the best story in this anthology, because it's perfect in every possible way.
“Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated” by W. P. Kinsella:
- This story is something unique, because it's a first-contact story about baseball.
- I was totally mesmerised by this story, because I don't remember reading another story quite like this one ever before.
“Lambing Season” by Molly Gloss:
- In this story, a simple sheepherder called Delia experiences something strange.
- This story is also a first-contact, but totally different from W. P. Kinsella's story, because it is more literary.
- The author writes excellently about the sheepherder and her life.
“Conrad Loomis & The Clothes Ray” by Amiri Baraka:
- An interesting story about a scientist and his amazing invention.
- An amusing and well written story.
“Topics in Advanced Rocketry” by Chris Tarry:
- This is a well written story about space travel and rockets.
- In this story, the author offers his readers an interesting vision of near future.
“The Inner City” by Karen Heuler:
- A story about Lena who is looking for work and discovers a strange part of the city.
- An excellent, wonderfully strange and captivating story.
- I consider this story to be one of the best stories in this anthology, because it has a slightly twisted feel to it.
“Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders:
- A story about Jeff who is the target of experimentation administered by Abnesti.
- The author raises interesting questions about human condition by writing about what happens to Jeff.
- An excellent story.
“Amorometer” by Kelly Luce:
- In this story, an invention is used to measure the capacity to love.
- An intriguing and thought-provoking story.
“The Yogurt of Vasirin Kefirovsky” by Max Apple:
- A well written and amusing story about Professor Vasirin Kefirovsky and his yogurt.
- This is one of the best and most memorable stories in this anthology.
“Monstros” by Junot Díaz:
- A fascinating story about a man and a spreading disease that is called La Negruga.
- I enjoyed this story, because it was a good account of what may happen when a plague begins to spread.
“Minotaur” by Jim Shepard:
- A fascinating story about a man and black operations.
- A fluently told story that gives readers something to think about.
“Help Me Find My Spaceman Lover” by Robert Olen Butler:
- An entertaining story about a woman who falls in love with an alien.
- Although the contents of this story could have been taken from cheap and cheesy tabloid magazines, this story is something special.
“Near-Flesh” by Katherine Dunn:
- A story about a woman who uses male robots to gratify her sexual needs.
- This is one of the most memorable stories in this anthology.
I enjoyed reading all of these stories, but my own personal favourites were “Beautiful Monsters” by Eric Puchner, “The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun” by Ben Loory, “In the Bushes” by Jami Attenberg, “Fugue State” by Brian Evenson, “Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated” by W. P. Kinsella, “Lambing Season” by Molly Gloss, “The Inner City” by Karen Heuler, “The Yogurt of Vasirin Kefirovsky” by Max Apple, “Monstros” by Junot Díaz and “Near-Flesh” by Katherine Dunn. Each of these stories impressed me in different ways and I found them captivating. I was especially pleased with “Fugue State” by Brian Evenson, because it was an amazing story.
It was fascinating for me to read what kind of science fiction the authors had written, because their approach to science fiction feels similar yet slightly different from those authors who have mostly written science fiction. I found it intriguing how the speculative contents of the stories varied from mild to strong, because each of the authors had their own style of writing and their own way of looking at things (it's great that all of the authors have their own literary voices).
I noticed that some of these stories had a strong focus on relationships, love and sex. This is something that is not often the case with actual science fiction, because several authors tend to emphasise technology over human condition. The authors wrote convincingly and fluently about these issues.
The writing in these stories is excellent and wonderfully nuanced. You won't find bad prose in any of them. Instead, you'll find a well-selected treasure trove of good and exquisite prose.
If you're a fan of hard science fiction, this anthology may feel a bit strange to you, because many of the stories differ quite a lot from what you normally read. However, please persevere with it, because it's worth reading due to its literary values and the fact that it offers something new to readers (I advise you to be open-minded when you read this anthology).
As a reader who loves the literary side of speculative fiction and expects good and well written prose from speculative fiction stories, I was impressed by this anthology. It was enjoyable to read these stories, because they were good. I think that this anthology will be of interest to many readers, because its diverse contents are entertaining and thought-provoking.
I recommend this anthology to everybody who loves literary speculative fiction and wants to read good and imaginative stories. Whether you're an experienced science fiction reader or a newcomer to the genre, you'll find something to enjoy in this anthology. It offers readers an opportunity to expand their awareness of speculative fiction in a subtly engaging way.