“Brave New Worlds” by John Joseph Adams
Synopis: From Huxley’s Brave New World, to Orwell’s 1984, to Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, dystopian books have always been an integral part of both science fiction and literature, and have influenced the broader culture discussion in unique and permanent ways. Brave New Worlds brings together the best dystopian fiction of the last 30 years, demonstrating the diversity that flourishes in this compelling subgenre.
This landmark tome contains stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, Cory Doctorow, M. Rickert, Paolo Bacigalupi, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and many others.
5 out of 5 stars
This is what a collection of what dystopian fiction should be. It’s a fantastic book full of incredible writers and the stories themselves are, in my opinion, almost perfect. I have a hard time with full length dystopian fiction but bite-sized short stories are exactly what I love the most when reading this genre.
What I liked: There are a total of 36 stories in this book, and while I loved almost every single one, there were a few that really stood out for me.
Many of the stories in this collection deal with human rights and reproductive rights in particular which I found fascinating and a little terrifying in spots. I liked the recurring theme and felt that it pulled many of the stories together.
First up, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. This is a story I’ve read before but it was a great way to start off this collection. It’s a classic story of the frightening collective mind. The story starts off innocently enough, with small boys in the village gathering stones and piling them up in the village square. The townspeople start to gather and make nervous small talk, while waiting for the chosen member of the village to arrive and start the Lottery selection.
“Sacrament” by Matt Williamson. This story was my favorite in the collection. It’s an odd little story, very creepy and made me think which is something that I love. It was like finding a hidden gem in this book. The narrator of the story is an artist in his craft, something he takes very seriously. His art is torture but he’s not a butcher by any means. Beautifully written and beautifully done.
“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman by’ Harlan Ellison. Another classic story by a grand master, this was a fun addition in a mostly dark anthology. It’s amazing. Brilliant. You have to read this story even if you don’t read this book. Ellison write the story in 20 minutes, and it’s all about time. Losing time. And jellybeans.
There were a few stories that I did not care as they were mostly political drivel for and I skimmed those, but the book as a whole is a worthwhile read.