I’ve read a bunch of books lately, so hopefully I will get it together to write them up a  bit – first up, A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers. This is, as the title suggests, twenty-five short stories which are speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) dealing mostly with the future of the United States. I started out really liking it, read all the stories pretty quickly, but looking back only a few really stand out for me. The book as a whole is extremely motivated by Donald Trump, which I kind of get, but after I while I felt like, look The Handmaid’s Tale already exists and is great, I don’t know how many more of those type of stories I need to read. Trump is mentioned in the intro as having motivated the editor to collect the stories, mentioned by name in at least one story, and hovers over many others. And honestly, I wish some of the writers had been a little more creative.

Although, the first story, which seemed very tied to the current state of the country was one of my favorites. “The Bookstore at the End of America” is a sort of play on the library that’s in both Canada and the United States, it has an entrance in the United States and one in California which has broken away. The owner tries to use books and the store as a bridge between the two countries, but hostilities over water break out during the story and both US citizens and Californians find themselves together sheltering in the bookstore:

What were the chances that the First and Last Page would could continue to exist much longer, especially with one foot in either country? How would they know if tonight was just another skirmish or the beginning of a proper war, something that could carry on for months and reduce both countries to fine ash? … all Molly heard was the slow, sustained breathing of people inside a cocoon of books.

There were many, many stories about plotting revolution after things have gone bad, for example “Our Aim is Not to Die” was all about a non-binary person living in surveillance state where one can’t be different in any way and the state monitors us all via social media and the internet of things.  I think N.K. Jemisin was the most creative, although I don’t really see her predictions coming true, she had the government creating sort of dragons via bio engineering and then using them against minority populations.

I also really enjoyed “Now Wait for this Week” maybe because it was not exactly about America or a prediction about the future. Instead it was a sort of Groundhog Day type story (or Russian Doll if you’re into that new Netflix special). One of the characters was stuck in the same week that juts kept repeating.  And it turned out to be kind of a surprising way to talk about #MeToo.

I think if you like science fiction at all, and I do, although not as much as some people, this collection is a great roadmap to find more sci-fi/fantasy novels to try because this really is a great collection of authors.

Currently reading: The House of Broken Angels