Review: After the End: Recent Apocalypses

After the End: Recent Apocalypses
After the End: Recent Apocalypses by Paula Guran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not normally an anthology reader, but I really liked this collection. The range of the scenarios and the perspectives represented was truly remarkable considering that the collection was compiled in America and comprised mostly of American authors. Stories took place in Iceland, England, Japan, Niger, gritty urban environs and barren wooded, coastal or desert landscapes. Some of the stories were true science fiction; others were urban fantasies. For some, the promised land was south in Mexico or South America, for others it was in Canada or an ocean away in Australia. I also appreciated the inclusion of a queer element into a couple of the tales [“Pump Six” by Paolo Bacigalupi and “The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross” by Margo Lanagan].

I took the time to review and rate each story in the anthology, so I will not try to do so here in this post. My ratings across the 20 stories averaged 3.25. But, fully nine were 4 to 5 stars. My favorites were:
“Pump Six” by Paolo Bacigalupi [5 stars]
Amaryllis by Carrie Vaughn [5 stars]
“Isolation Point, California” by John Shirley [5 stars]
“The Books” by Kage Baker [4 stars]
“The Egg Man” by Mary Rosenblum [4 stars]
“Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar)” by Cory Doctorow [4 stars]
“After the Apocalypse” by Maureen F. McHugh [4 stars]
“Never, Never, Three Times Never” by Simon Morden [4 stars]
“The Cecilia Paradox” by John Mantooth [4 stars]

The rest of the included stories ordered by decreasing stars:
“Tumaki” by Nnedi Okorafor [3 stars]
Ragnarok by Paul Park [3 stars]
“The Disappeared” by Blake Butler [3 stars]
“True North” by M. J. Locke [3 stars]
“A Story, With Beans” by Steven Gould [3 stars]
“We Will Never Live in the Castle” by Paul Tremblay [2 stars]
“The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross” by Margo Lanagan [2 stars]
“Horses” by Livia Llewellyn [2 stars]
“The Adjudicator” by Brian Evenson [2 stars]
“Goddess of Mercy” by Bruce Sterling [2 stars]
“Chislehurst Messiah” by Lauren Beukes [1 star]

I was previously unfamiliar with all of the included authors, so this anthology rates a 4 in my book for such a range of talent and style.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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