Wastelands: The New Apocalypse (edited by John Joseph Adams) was published by Titan Books in June 2019.
Information about John Joseph Adams:
Editor John Joseph Adams - called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble - is the bestselling editor of many anthologies such as Epic: Legends of Fantasy, Wastelands, and The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He the editor of Fantasy Magazine and Lightspeed Magazine, which published two Nebula Award finalists and a Hugo Award finalist in its first year.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Wastelands: The New Apocalypse:
The new post-apocalyptic collection by master anthologist John Joseph Adams, featuring never-before-published stories and curated reprints by some of the genre’s most popular and critically-acclaimed authors.
In WASTELANDS: THE NEW APOCALYPSE, veteran anthology editor John Joseph Adams is once again our guide through the wastelands using his genre and editorial expertise to curate his finest collection of post-apocalyptic short fiction yet. Whether the end comes via nuclear war, pandemic, climate change, or cosmological disaster, these stories explore the extraordinary trials and tribulations of those who survive.
Featuring never-before-published tales by: Veronica Roth, Hugh Howey, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Tananarive Due, Richard Kadrey, Scott Sigler, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias S. Buckell, Meg Elison, Greg van Eekhout, Wendy N. Wagner, Jeremiah Tolbert, and Violet Allen - plus, recent reprints by: Carmen Maria Machado, Carrie Vaughn, Ken Liu, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kami Garcia, Charlie Jane Anders, Catherynne M. Valente, Jack Skillingstead, Sofia Samatar, Maureen F. McHugh, Nisi Shawl, Adam-Troy Castro, Dale Bailey, Susan Jane Bigelow, Corinne Duyvis, Shaenon K. Garrity, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Darcie Little Badger, Timothy Mudie, and Emma Osborne.
Continuing in the tradition of WASTELANDS: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE, these 34 stories ask: What would life be like after the end of the world as we know it?
REVIEW: WASTELANDS: THE NEW APOCALYPSE (EDITED BY JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS)
Wastelands: The New Apocalypse is the new post-apocalyptic anthology by the editor John Joseph Adams (this anthology is the third book in the Wastelands series). The editor has assembled an impressive anthology of short stories focusing on what life would be like after the end of the world as we know it. The stories represent a wide range of perspectives and encompass diverse points of view.
This anthology presents readers with various post-apocalyptic scenarios. Each of the authors has imagined his/her own kind of a vision of post-apocalyptic world (the end has come either by climate disaster, infection, a comet impact or by other means). The worldbuilding in their stories is captivating as they describe in what kind of a world the survivors live and how they have coped with the drastic changes. The world has ended, but life goes on and there may be rays of hope amidst the bleakness and desolation.
What makes this anthology compelling is that the authors don't merely concentrate on writing about what life is like after the apocalypse and how bleak things are, but also tell of what kind of new possibilities and opportunities the apocalypse has brought to the survivors. Although the familiar world doesn't exist anymore, things may not be as bad or harrowing as they might be, because the new world is filled with various opportunities for those who don't give up and want to survive. Something new has risen from the ruins of the old world and people must adapt to the changes or perish.
This anthology contains the following 34 stories:
- Bullet Point by Elizabeth Bear
- The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar
- Expedition 83 by Wendy N. Wagner
- The Last to Matter by Adam-Troy Castro
- Not This War, Not This World by Jonathan Maberry
- Where Would You Be Now by Carrie Vaughn
- The Elephants' Crematorium by Timothy Mudie
- Bones of Gossamer by Hugh Howey
- As Good As New by Charlie Jane Anders
- One Day Only by Tananarive Due
- Black, Their Regalia by Darcie Little Badger
- The Plague by Ken Liu
- Four Kittens by Jeremiah Tolbert
- Eyes of the Flood by Susan Jane Bigelow
- The Last Garden by Jack Skillingstead
- Through Sparks in Morning's Dawn by Tobias S. Buckell
- Cannibal Acts by Maureen F. McHugh
- Echo by Veronica Roth
- Shooting the Apocalypse by Paolo Bacigalupi
- The Hungry Earth by Carmen Maria Machado
- Last Chance by Nicole Kornher-Stace
- A Series of Images from Ruined City at the End of the World by Violet Allen
- Come On Down by Meg Elison
- Don't Pack Hope by Emma Osborne
- Polly Wanna Cracker? by Greg van Eekhout
- Otherwise by Nisi Shawl
- And the Rest of Us Wait by Corinne Duyvis
- The Last Child by Scott Sigler
- So Sharp, So Bright, So Final by Seanan McGuire
- Burn 3 by Kami Garcia
- Snow by Dale Bailey
- The Air Is Chalk by Richard Kadrey
- The Future Is Blue by Catherynne M. Valente
- Francisca Montoya's Almanac of Things That Can Kill You by Shaenon K. Garrity
These stories deliver readers powerful images of abandoned houses, ruined cities and deserted places, because they tell of various survivors who live, love, work and struggle in a broken world where civilisation has fallen. The survivor's lives and fates are depicted in a realistic way with a dose of harsh realism and human resilience.
Because these stories are set at different times, the apocalypse has been recent to some of the survivors, but to others, it's only a distant memory. I enjoyed reading about the various settings, because they were captivating and well-portrayed. The world and its current state is revealed to the reader through the characters' eyes in a stunning way.
I think it's good to mention that some of the stories have an emotional impact on the reader. This effect is enhanced by literary prose which creates a connection between the reader and the protagonists.
What I like perhaps most about these stories is that they offer something for everybody. They contain - amongst other things - bleakness, death, love, hope, survival issues and weirdness. Whether you're interested in science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror fiction or literary fiction, you'll find something to love in this anthology.
Next, I'll write a few words about stories that reveal how diverse and captivating the contents of this anthology are:
The powerful opening story, "Bullet Point" by Elizabeth Bear, invites readers to explore a world where a woman has survived the apocalypse and finds out that somebody else might be alive too. This insightful story is filled with excellent remarks about the world and things that don't exist anymore.
Sofia Samatar's "The Red Thread" continues the high quality established by the first story. This touching and atmospheric tale tells of Sahra who writes messages to Fox. The author reveals captivating glimpses of the world in Sahra's messages and explores Sahra's feelings and inner turmoil in a delicate way.
In Adam Troy-Castro's "The Last to Matter", Kayn is being rejected by the orgynism and finds himself alone. After spending years in sexual bliss, life is now different for him as he acquaints himself with the world again. The world has changed a lot while he spent time with his lovers in the orgynism. This story is one of the most original and compelling post-apocalyptical stories I've read in ages, because it combines the familiar with the weird in a strong and thought-provoking way.
In Charlie Jane Anders' "As Good As New ", Marisol watches TV show in her panic room. Marisol has survived the end of the world by spending time in the panic room. The author writes intriguingly about Marisol's life and tells of how the world has changed because of the quakes. I'm not going to reveal anything about the happenings, but I can mention that this story has a fascinating twist that puts everything into new perspective. I find this story highly entertaining and original, because it's something different.
"The Plague" by Ken Liu is an excellent and memorable short story about a future where mankind has been divided into those who have survived the plague and to those who suffer from its consequences. It tells of a meeting between a girl whose skin has been replaced with the plague and a man from the Dome where healthy people live.
In Jack Skillingstead's "The Last Garden", humanity has been wiped out by a plague. One of the survivors, Casey, makes her way towards the Doomsday Vault and the embryo clones, and interacts with a top-secret military-grade AI called the Surrogate. I liked this story, because the author's vision of the happenings is captivating.
Maureen F. McHugh's "Cannibal Acts" is an excellent story that takes place in Alaska. It tells of a biologist who has become a butcher and dissects human bodies so that they can be cooked and eaten. This story presents readers with a captivating end of the world scenario that is told from a point of view of a woman who has done her best to survive under harsh conditions and has had to eat human flesh. Cannibalism brings an intriguing touch of freshness and morbidity to this story, because eating human flesh is not an easy decision.
In Violet Allen's "A Series of Images from Ruined City at the End of the World", readers get to read about how the protagonist reminisces about meeting a man called Flynn in the ruins of the city. This short story is surprisingly insightful and touching. I liked it, because it combines harsh realism and sentimentalism in a fluent way.
Nisi Shawl's "Otherwise" is a fascinating and well written story. It depicts a world where adults have become 'Otherwise', which is a condition caused by drugs. It features a bit different kind of a teen romance with LGBT and polyamorous elements.
"And the Rest of Us Wait" by Corinne Duyvis is a fascinating story with a bit different kind of a protagonist. This story tells about surviving an impact caused by a comet and an all-girl band.
One of the strongest stories in this anthology is "The Future Is Blue" by Catherynne M. Valente. It's a story about an outcast girl, Tetley, who lives on a floating island called Garbagetown. This story offers readers an image of the world where the icecaps have melted and the continents have disappeared beneath the water, and people live aboard a floating island and dream of dry land. I enjoyed this story and found it refreshingly different and thought-provoking.
Shaenon K. Garrity's "Francisca Montoya's Almanac of Things That Can Kill You" is an excellent final story. In this story, the protagonist tells of many things that can kill a person and tells of what has happened to people who have been injured etc. I enjoyed reading this story, because it's something different and has a bit of black humour.
I was surprised to find depth in many of the stories, because normally this kind of fiction is more entertaining than deep and lacks insightfulness and creativity. Certain stories are surprisingly complex and deep, because the authors examine the characters and their place in the new world in an insightful way.
I've noticed that characterisation is often the weakest point in post-apocalyptic fiction, but not this time. I was impressed by the characterisation in these stories, because the authors have created believable and realistic characters who live their lives as well as they can despite having problems and fears.
Some of the stories contain sexuality and LGBT elements, which are handled excellently by the authors. I was taken by how effortlessly the authors wrote about these things. I was also impressed by how well the characters' feelings and emotions concerning their family and loved ones were explored.
I was pleased to find that many of these stories feature impressive and strong prose. As a lover of literary and nuanced prose, I found these stories satisfying in terms of literary values. It's nice to see authors write excellent prose, because good prose makes a difference and renders the stories captivating.
The diversity of the protagonists was a pleasant surprise to me, because some of the stories featured physically disabled protagonists and LGBT protagonists. Normally, in this kind of stories, there are only typical cookie-cutter heroes and heroines, but now we have more diversity. This is great, because diversity brings freshness and realism to the stories.
I can recommend Wastelands: The New Apocalypse to everybody who yearns to read something entertaining and gripping. If you enjoy well written speculative fiction, please, take a look at this anthology and delve boldly into its post-apocalyptic stories, because the journey you're about to take will astound and reward you. These stories will captivate, shock and entertain you in equal measure.