[ Free Reading ] Diverse EnergiesAuthor Tobias S. Buckell – Freepe.co

No One Can Doubt That The Wave Of The Future Is Not The Conquest Of The World By A Single Dogmatic Creed But The Liberation Of The Diverse Energies Of Free Nations And Free Men No One Can Doubt That Cooperation In The Pursuit Of Knowledge Must Lead To Freedom Of The Mind And Freedom Of The Soul President John F Kennedy, From A Speech At University Of California, March , In A World Gone Wrong, Heroes And Villains Are Not Always Easy To Distinguish Here Is A Collection Of Stunning Original And Rediscovered Stories Of Hope And Tragedy That Pit Students, Street Kids, Good Girls, Kidnappers, And Child Laborers Against Their Environments, Their Governments, And Sometimes Themselves As They Seek Answers In Their Dystopian Worlds Take A Journey Through Time From A Nuclear Nightmare Of The Past To Society S Far Future In The Stars With These Eleven Stories By Masters Of Speculative FictionThe Editors Of This Volume Are Setting Aside A Portion Of The Proceeds To Benefit The Octavia E Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, Which Enables Writers Of Color To Attend A Clarion Writing Workshop, Where Legendary Octavia Butler Got Her Start Passing grade for a YA SF collection It s hard to assign a discrete rating, but this was a better book than I expected.At least 3 memorable stories, and no complete stinkers The last story is by Ursula K Le Guin. This is a great idea for a YA anthology A collection of dystopian stories featuring a culturally diverse range of characters reflecting the real world in which we live I m not usually a fan of short stories, since I tend to think that most of the good ones would be better explored in a full length format, but this collection is of higher quality than most There s a good sense of momentum to the book, and some really unique and exciting ideas behind each story, so for once I didn t get that dragging sensation halfway through.As always, there were some stories I enjoyedthan others, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows Some of the clear highlights were Solitude by Ursula K Le Guin Just an astonishingly beautiful and deeply layered story about cultural relativity that s a perfect example of the way different cultures struggle to see through each others eyes The Last Day by Ellen Oh The first story in the collection, this one packs a punch What if Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn t put a stop to WW2 Dystopia Children Atomic Bombs Gutwrenching Pattern Recognition by Ken Liu What s terrifying about this story is that it is somewhat based on realities that currently exist child slavery and human based computation Next Door by Rahul Kanakia A really interesting tech based dystopia, in which the haves are so tuned out to reality, they are barely aware of the have nots squatting in their private space.There truly are only a couple of low points to the book Freshee s Frogurt by Daniel H Wilson Everything I ve seen about the novel Robopocalypse has given me the strong sense that I won t like the writing, and this excerpt just confirms that theory Also, a culturally diverse story needs to containthan a sidekick with a Fu Manchu stache called Felipe Not cool, not well written, and it doesn t really belong here There are a couple of stories that aren t bad, but the plot just gets away from the writer a little I think K Tempest Bradford was off to a good start with Uncertainty Principle but the temporal mechanics got a bit convoluted towards the end Likewise Greg Van Eekhout s Gods of the Dimming Light started out interestingly, but the logic didn t quite seem clear, and at the end of the day it didn t really have a lot to say A minor disappointment to me was Paolo Bacigalupi s A Pocket Full of Dharma I have heard great things about The Wind Up Girl, and was looking forward to reading this story It begins with a description of an astonishing thing a bio engineered building of living flesh I would have loved to explore that idea some , but the building ends up being a minor part of the story, to the extent that the author doesn t even tell us what colour it is Such a waste of a great idea The Foreword by Tobias S Buckell seems to somewhat undermine the intent of the anthology As the Afterword by Joe Monti explains really well, the intent is not to be a reaction to the stupidity of recent white washing in YA sci fi It is supposed to be a reflection of reality as it is and will be, not a brick thrown through a window, it is the continued paving of a path Buckell s Foreword talks about the book being a reaction to the Hunger Games racial backlash, and talks about putting people of colour front and centre etc etc It just reads a little childishly to me, and misses the point that diversity is about culture and perspectiveso than skin colour or race.This is certainly one of the better anthologies that I ve come across The stories themselves are diverse, crossing a huge range of topics neuroscience, anthropology, space, Norse mythology, robots, biotech, gender issues, history, war, family, religion etc etc There s bound to be something there to inspire everyone It s a thought provoking collection that s definitely worth a read Full disclosure I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. To act as though we have hope is to keep hope alive. Rep non white characters, wlw and mlm charactersThe problem I have with rating anthologies by various authors is that I never know how to rate the thing overall Like, do I average the ratings Do I give it an overall rating based on my enjoyment of it as a whole Who knows.In the end, I guess the three star rating is a bit of both It s not the greatest anthology I ve ever read unfortunately although I don t think I ve read any where I ve loved all the stories at least for this one the ratings never went below three stars , but it was refreshing in its diversity even if the writing wasn t always the best quality Also, the stories were incredibly dark.The Last Day Ellen Oh 3 stars An alternate post WWII story, that I can t remember all that much about It was a good idea and I would have liked to have readabout the characters, but the writing was kind of lacking, and a little simplistic at times.Freshee s Frogurt Daniel H Wilson 5 stars I am happy to admit I am entirely biased when it comes to Daniel H Wilson He writes the best robots take over the world fiction I ve read ever So obviously, I loved this story just as much, even if it was too short.Uncertainty Principle K Tempest Bradford 3 stars Not gonna lie, I don t remember a lot of this one, so I m having to look at other people s reviews It was again a good idea, though it reminded me a lot of Time Riders with maybe less good writing.Pattern Recognition Ken Liu 3 stars This one could easily have been a full length story, and perhaps would have worked better that way It definitely feels a bit rushed when it was explained they found the phone and could immediately work out how to use it to contact the outside world, without having seen a phone before, and get in touch with reporters who also believed them straightaway For sure, could have benefited from being longer.Gods of the Dimming Light Greg Van Eekhout 3 stars This one was kind of trippy, I gotta say I mean, valkyries and Norse Gods and a battle to reach Valhalla, all set within a dystopian city Uh, OK Next Door Rahul Kanakia 3 stars This was strange And a definite downer I mean, the two gay main characters at the end die Or at least I assume they do, because they inhale some toxic gas but it s left on a bit of a question mark.Good Girl Malinda Lo 3 stars Girls Kissing Thank you, Malinda Lo It was cute, though the love was kind of rushed again, short story problems , and it wasn t really clear why the government had decided to ban interracial marriage.A Pocket Full of Dharma Paolo Bacigalupi 4 stars I really liked Paolo Bacigalupi s full length book, so I might have been slightly biased towards this one All the politics of who wanted the Dalai Lama in that USB box thing don t ask, just read it was kind of confusing but it was an interesting concept.Blue Skies Cindy Pon 3 stars It had a pretty abrupt ending, to be honest, and I didn t really get much of the guy s motivations for kidnapping the girl beyond getting the money.What Arms to Hold Rajan Khanna 3 stars Again, another one that could have benefited from being a full length novel It had an interesting idea, but it felt rushed inevitably I did like that it ended with the MC leaving on his own, without helping anyone else though, because that was different.Solitude Ursula K LeGuin 3 stars In a book full of dystopia stories, this one, about aliens and sociologist aliens, is a little odd, to say the least It was well written and intriguing, but it didn t fit the anthology as a whole The idea of the alien society was pretty good though, even if it did read like an anthropologist s report which I guess was the aim. This was a difficult anthology to get through The premise is amazing stories representing the diversity of youth, different races, different sexualities, as they navigate their worlds borne out of speculative imagination If only those speculative imaginations weren t so tied to such dystopic worlds The tagline on the cover states, The future is here Are you ready The future is here and it is apparently grim as fuck Terrible things keep happening Terrible worlds roll and take their terrible toll Story after story of desperation, of resistance, of anger and sadness and tragedy Glimmers of hope Is this really what the vision of the future we have to offer young adults I find this troubling if this was an anthology for the generic read white YA audience, sure, okay, white youths turn to dystopia because they see their world becoming that But for youths of color, especially queer youths, these are already their lives What are the answers that we are imagining here Because story after story, I don t see solutions I see sacrifices I don t see collaboration I see compromises I don t see commitment I see sad negotiations Queer youths in desperate circumstances okay, great, they don t die They survive the story So they now have new narratives of queer unhappiness, wheee Most of the stories aren t narratives of uncertainty, they are narratives of despair and pain, with promise ofpain The bits of hope are so slight you have to squint to find them Great Let the white youths read against the grain to find them so they don t exoticize POC suffering But what about POC YA readers who have known from the start that hope is a necessity, not a luxury Why must we have them read against the grain for hope Why can t it be right there in the text It s frustrating to see further depictions of Asian countries as sites of speculative despair The Last Day, A Pocket Full of Dharma, Blue Skies I m less annoyed when it s set in America, because guess what most of the anthology s readers are probably American, and you should know what direction your country is going towards anyway, but it s still depressing Pattern Recognition, Gods of the Dimming Light, Next Door, Good Girl And who the fuck let Paolo Bacigalupi write something for this Why, when this volume followed WINDUP GIRL so soon The other problem, which isobvious with the techno Orientalist stories for me than with the American ones, is that not only is the future grim as fuck, but it is also ahistorical, detached from existing resistance work This is not a new problem, but glaring nonetheless from an anthology that purports to represent youth from communities of color A tie to continuing histories of resistance would possibly have createdhopeful narratives rather than these worlds where the problems are unprecedented, creating solutions that are negotiable only through sheer survival and desperate measures This raises the question of what it means to be empowered, especially as a youth in a world where the world, in real life, is stacked against young people who are neither heirs to capital nor given the opportunity to accumulate said capital Practically all but one or two of the main characters are from a class that is clearly economically marginalized They demonstrate resistance in many ways in the Last Day resistance is demonstrated through a last stand and sacrifice sacrifice is also resistance in Gods of the Dimming Light and Next Door But resistance should not be confused for empowerment, which is not the same as agency either in Uncertainty Principles, and Pattern Recognition the characters are left at the edges of community, uncertain of their future, and over, unable to control it to make their world a better place If every individual has the ability to contribute something powerful, as the dust jacket claims, what, exactly, is this power, and how far can it take a single protagonist And this brings to the final quibble with the project, which is entitled Diverse Energies Yes, the protagonists are predominantly of color, many clearly non white Diversity means an interaction of differences, which is reflected in perhaps one or two stories such as the interracial queer romances in Good Girl and Next Door yet these interaction either ignores differences could be good or bad, and I m meh here, because I recognize that characterization shouldn t be tied to culture, but then again, when it s acultural, what is the point, but maybe it works for someone else , or posit difference as a source of anguish that is never resolved positively Our protagonists don t have communities they are inevitably alone In Blue Skies the protagonist has bargained for some economic advancement but it is an individual moment, and the one connection he develops over the course of the story is given up It s not diversity if you only have singulars Ursula Le Guin s Solitude, perhaps, is the one exception to my criticisms, as an exploration of a completely different world that has developed a life philosophy and society that is crafted specifically to avoid problems of oppression It is not human, but it creates functioning social relations which is the argument of the protagonist, against her mother s assertion that the society are comprised of atomized individuals who fail at human emotional connection It is, interestingly, farof a success in delicately delineating the philosophies of Buddhist self awareness, selflessness and detachment which A Pocket Full of Dharma doesn t even engage with, leaving us with a ham handed rumination on the process of reincarnation instead I understand that this anthology comes out of a period during which YA dystopias were popular, and of course young adult audiences can handle grim, when it is true to their experiences The short story format being what it is, it s hard to contain solutions to epic problems in small bites And yet, and yet and yet and yet, what is the use of being adults writing for young adults with no wisdom to impart With no torch to pass This is the fucked up shit my generation has dreamed up for your generation to fix, good luck Ultimately, this was not the YA diversity anthology I was hoping for, and I hope that actual young adults enjoyed this when I could not. This was a fun sci fi urban fantasy fiction anthology that had a heavy focus on POC and LGBT characters Overall I really liked the anthology, and I would recommend this book to others who are looking to foray into diverse fiction The Last Day by Ellen OhA dark story set in a world where there is an endless war of East vs West, which despite my terrible one sentence description was actually quite good An interesting idea that I hadn t really read before Freshee s Frogurt by Daniel H WilsonNot really my favourite short story, I felt that this idea of tame robot goes crazy was not super innovative Uncertainty Principle by K Tempest Bradford A very fun take on time travel After looking up the author, turns out she s a HUGE Dr Who fan, and it shows in her short story Pattern Recognition by Ken LiuI thought that this idea was ok, not my favourite but not my least favourite It is possible that I don t like Ken Liu s genre of scifi Gods of the Dimming Light by Greg van EekhoutThis book apparently links to van Eekhout s other work, called NorseCODE It s an interesting idea, but perhaps not the most well written Next Door by Rahul KanakiaI think this story was quite original Good Girl by Malinda LoReally liked it This story is set in a world where racial purity is really important, and people of mixed race descent like Kyle are discriminated against Another interesting idea that was well executed A Pocket Full of Dharma by Paolo BacigalupiNot as interesting as I hoped it would be, considering how much I love Paolo Bacigalupi s work Perhaps if he had written it as a longer story it would have worked better Blue Skies by Cindy PonI really liked this take on rich vs poor in a dystopian universe One of my favourites from this collection I think the novel WANT is set in this world, so I will check it out What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan KhannaFound this one to be one of my least favourite. maybe needed a much longer story to be able to flesh it out Solitude by Ursula Le GuinI ve previously read Le Guin s work The Wizard of Earthsea and was not really drawn in by it However, I really liked this short story It tells the story of a girl who grows up on an alien planet, whose ethnologist mother wanted to learn about the new planets culture The girl feels so at home with this new planet that she doesn t want to leave A very interesting idea. Loved this collectionThe short stories are varied in subject matter, length, and style A thought provoking read and well worth while I would definitely recommend. A dark collection of dystopian short stories, with diverse settings characters one I loved The Last Day, Ellen Oh What a way to start off this collection of short stories This dystopian society is damn dreary and depressing kind of the tone of the entire collection It s an alternate history of WWII set in Japan The World has been divided into 2 super powers The President of the West and The Emperor of the East and they are at war Nobody is winning, and The Emperor has resorted to forcibly drafting kids as young as 12.Freshee s Frogurt, Daniel H Wilson This story seemed out of place, lacking both diversity and a strong dystopian society In it, a convenience store clerk tells a detective how he ended up in the hospital thanks to a malfunctioning domestic robot apparently the first of many incidents This is an exerpt from Robopocalypse.Uncertainty Principle, K Tempest Bradford Excellent story that left me hoping this gets turned into a full length novel A teenager, Iliana, experiences temporal shifts where she experiences something that causes a change in the World, but nobody else sees it Pattern Recognition, Ken Liu Kids in an orphanage are told that they ve been rescued from a hellish world outside, and are made to play video games all day But only later do the children find out the truth Gripping, and I liked the emotional conflict at the end are they being used and abused, or are they better off because they have been removed from their damaged environments Gods of the Dimming Light, Greg van Eekhout This story felt woefully short and a bit contrived to me, and it wasn t one of my favorites Edward, a teenager, decided to participate in a research study for some money, but it s not what he thinks.Next Door, Rahul Kanakia The rich in this society have the technology to live in a virtual world, ignoring the poor, destitute filthiness of their society This story follows a boy and his boyfriend as they try to find the perfect i.e non bug infested location for their next squat But, it doesn t look good for them at the end This is my favorite dark dystopian society featured in the book not my favorite story though as I thought it a bit rambling at times.Good Girl, Malinda Lo One of my favorite stories In this society, racial purity is celebrated, and if you have the features of a mixed race it makes you an outcast Kyle, is searching for her brother who vanished a few months before Her search leads her to Nix, who lives under ground, and claims to have information on where he went.A Pocket Full of Dharma, Paolo Bacigalupi The soul of the Dalai Lama has been placed in a computer program, up for sale to the highest bidder, and it winds up in the hands of a beggar I don t know what to think of this story it was well told but lacked a dBlue Skies, Cindy Pon In an environmentally devastated future Taiwan, a boy kidnaps a rich girl for ransom I loved the build up but the ending left me flat Would have loved to have seen a littleabout the Stockholm Syndrome that the rich girl seemed to have been developing.What Arms to Hold Us, Rajan Khanna Indian children are slave labor in a mine, where their bodies are linked to a robot used for the actual physical labor, but it wears the kids down quickly A bit predictable as to what is going to happen, but still an interesting story Also liked that the author left it up to us to figure out if the good guy is actually good or if the bad guy is bad Solitude, Ursula Le Guin This is the one story in the collection where the World is both a utopia for one person and a dystopia for another It s a perfect example of the way different cultures struggle to see through each others eyes An anthropologist goes to a planet with her two young children to study the ways of a culture that seems to have no community The mother and older son learn a lot about the culture the young daughter becomes part of it. An anthology of dystopian YA short stories with a focus on diversity, ie, most of the protagonists are not white.As a whole, this anthology is not much like most current YA dystopian novels, which are generally about na ve privileged white girls slowly coming to realize that their the government controls everything society actually sucks, while navigating a love triangle The characters in this anthology are often aware from the get go that everything sucks, and the central problem is generally not an over controlling government, but a devastated environment, poverty, and the haves grinding the have nots beneath their feet.The result isrealistic and less paper thin, but also quite depressing Few of these teenagers are trying to save their world, but only to scratch out a fewdays for themselves and their loved ones in a world which is clearly already doomed With two possible exceptions, no one makes any difference at all to anyone beyond themselves or a handful of people in their immediate surroundings I say possible because there are two stories in which characters make an effort, but the story ends before we learn whether or not they succeed in terms of the larger picture Sure, it wouldn t be realistic for teenagers to save the world singlehandedly but I don t read science fiction for realism Also, in real life people do make large changes collectively A fewstories in which the protagonist is part of a larger effort to save or even improve the world would have been nice There is one story in which that s the case, Tempest Bradford s I did really like some of the stories But I would recommend reading a story or two here and there, as you feel like it If you read the entire anthology from start to finish, the grimdark is overwhelming The Last Day by Ellen Oh An alternate history of WWII set in Japan comes out extremely similar to real history, so far as the main characters are concerned Maybe the point was that thethings change, thethey stay the same Otherwise, it s a straightforward war is bad and children suffer horribly story, all the way down to its awesomely depressing conclusion If you re disturbed by graphic atom bomb scenes I am this might be one to skip I would not have selected this as the story to open the anthology it s the darkest in the whole batch, and that s saying a lot Freshee s Frogurt by Daniel H Wilson Oral history of robots run amuck, much along the lines of World War Z A robot attacks two employees in a frozen yogurt shop, and there s a bloody battle That s it This was an excerpt from the novel Robopocalypse, which may explain how slight and unfinished it felt, but on the other hand it didn t leave me wantingOn the positive side, it s only depressing in the sense that its space could have been given to a better story In fact, it s probably supposed to be funny in a hipster ironic mode I did not find it funny Uncertainty Principle by K Tempest Bradford A young girl notices reality shifting around her, but nobody else does Over the years, the President changes, wars break out and are erased from time, and her best friend vanishes as if she had never existed This extremely intense and existentially horrifying set up turns into astandard action based science fiction story about halfway through The whole thing is well written but I liked the first half muchIt probably needed to be longer to give the second half the same emotional weight as the first This one isbittersweet than depressing Pattern Recognition by Ken Liu Kids in an orphanage are told that they ve been rescued from a hellish world outside, and are made to play video games all day Very good prose plausible but predictable story There s a really jarring, confusing transition right before the climax, possibly exacerbated by the poor formatting of the version I read an e book via Netgalley Moderately depressing Gods of Dimming Light by Greg van Eekhout Alone among the stories, this is fantasy, not science fiction, and so readsoddly than it probably would have in afantasy geared anthology In a doomed and dying world, a boy of Indonesian descent finds a connection to the other side of his heritage his descent from Odin The ancient Norse theme of the brave fight against inevitable doom meshes powerfully with the modern apocalyptic setting.This was one of my favorites, mostly because of the ending view spoiler The kid turns his back on the good fight as the Valkyrie explains it to him, fighting gloriously in a war his side is doomed to lose He goes back to his family to eke out his money to feed them and keep the lights on until the last darkness descends different details, but still a heroic battle against inevitable doom a quiet little Ragnarok hide spoiler Non amo in genere le raccolte di racconti, e anche meno le antologie di autori vari , ma il tema alla base di Diverse energies mi intrigava in una letteratura YA dominata dai protagonisti di razza bianca recentissima la polemica su Goodreads per i protagonisti di altre razze sbiancati o modificati nelle copertine questa raccolta vuole raccogliere racconti che diversifichino, presentando distopie con protagonista, in realt , la diversit razziale che realt non tanto in Europa, quanto negli Stati Uniti.La presenza di tre autori come Ken Liu di cui ho letto il bellisimo The man who ended History , Paolo Bacigalupi due romanzi in coda di lettura, e un racconto poteva essere l occasione per conoscerlo e Ursula K LeGuin che non ha bisogno di presentazioni, spero e di due autrici che conoscevo di nome ma di cui non ho letto niente Malinda Lo, particolarmente sensibile anche al tema gay negli YA, e Cindy Pon mi hanno convinta alla lettura.Come temevo il risultato per ineguale A fianco di alcuni racconti molto belli, ho trovato diverse buone idee che mi sono per parse incompiute in qualche maniera, o raccontate confusamente, e una minoranza di racconti che mi hanno lasciato molto fredda.The last day di Ellen Oh parte da un idea geniale Peccato che la resa sia assolutamente inferiore all idea non ho provato n tristezza n orrore e s che, considerato che mi sono sentita male durante la visita al Museo di Hiroshima, l autrice partiva avvantaggiata Freshee s Frogurt di Daniel H Wilson un racconto molto scarno, ma divertente e reso con afficacia dal punto di vista linguistico di Uncertainty principle di K Tempest Bradford ho adorato l idea e la prima parte, mentre ho trovato scadente e conusionaria la soluzione dalla comparsa della seconda ragazza in poi, diciamo senza spoiler Pattern recognition conferma Ken Liu un autore intelligente e profondo, e ottimo dal punto di vista stilistico, almeno per quanto mi riguarda Gods of dimming light di Greg van Eekhout ha un idea originalissima e un ambientazione davvero davvero bella lascia forse un avgo senso di incompiutezza, ma mi piaciuto moltissimo Next door di Rahul Kanakia mi ha lasciato perplessa per quanto mi piaccia l inquietante ambientazione, non sono riuscita a sentirmi coinvolta, probabilmente perch non mi piace minimamento lo stile di scrittura Good girl di Malinda Lo uno di quei racconti che, pur essendomi piaciuto, mi ha lasciato ocn un senso di incompiutezza, forse per il finale aperto, e la mancata soluzione della ricerca inziiale della protagonista, ma anche per la scarsa esplorazione dei sentimenti e della storia che vengono raccontati A pocket full of dharma di Paolo Bacigalupi ha un idea interessante, un ambientazione affascinante e un idea la Biocitt davvero bella, ma anche qui non stato al livello che mi aspettavo lo metter alla prova nei romanzi What arms to hold, Rajan Khanna non mi ha detto nulla in particolare, n come tema n come scrittura, e non mi piaciuto il vago afflato fantasy Blue skies di Cindy Pon per me uno dei migliori racconti della raccolta pochi tratti, trama minima, ma resa appassionante del passato e del presente dei personaggi, e delle loro diversit Solitude di Ursula K Le Guin di una bellezza commovente una riflessione sulle lontananze culturali e sulla loro incolmabilit di una lucidit e chiarezza affascinanti, nello stile squisito della LeGuin Vale la pena di leggere la raccolta solo per questo una ristampa, sia detto, non scritto appositamente per la raccolta, come il racconto di Bacigalupi.