Wastelands: Tales of the Apocalypse
Author: John Joseph Adams (editor)
HPL Catalog: HPL does not own
Summary: (From the cover) "Gathering together the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today's most renowned authors of speculative fiction, including George R. R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emschwiller, Jonathon Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King, Wastelands explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon."
4 stars (out of 5) Rating and Review by Gregg Wamsley:
This was the third book read for the library's Science Fiction Book discussion Group. Sticking to the post-apocalyptic theme for our 2012 year, the stories in this collection fit the bill. However, taken as a whole the forecast for the Apocalypse is mostly dark with a liberal spread of absolute bleakness. There is very little hopefulness in most of the stories. Cory Doctorow's "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" and John Langan's "Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of Purple Flowers" are examples of the most hopeful story endings where at least some humanity has survived and seem to have a hope of some sort of recovery. Most of the stories end more like Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess" or George R. R. Martin's "Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels" - humans and/or "humanity" have had it. If the death-spiral hasn't already plowed us into the ground, the writing is on the wall.
All that said, I found a number of truly enjoyable stories in this collection and a couple of authors to follow who are new to me. I don't speak for our entire group by any means, but personally I highly recommend this collection as a good introduction to post-apocalyptic fiction. It includes a fantastic "for further reading" list at the back. HPL will have a copy available as I am donating my copy for circulation.