Book Review: Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Wastelands #1) by John Joseph Adams

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
John Joseph Adams
Title: Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟(3 stars)

Publisher: Night Shade

I've had this on my shelf for years and finally pulled it from my bookshelf to read. There were 22 stories and as with all anthologies, some resonate more than others. 3.5 stars overall.

Thoughts on my favourites:

The End of The Whole Mess by Stephen King- A very sad story in which a brother relates how his brilliant sibling ruined humanity with an unintended eco-catastrophe with biological fallout. 

The People of Sand & Slag by Paolo Baciagalupi- Actually more disturbing than enjoyable. This is a hellscape with post-humans and one of the more other-worldly stories in the book. Unsettling.

Bread and Bombs by M. Rickert- A very good story about a world where fear of "the other" is the catalyst for a surprising end.

How We Got In Town and Out Again by Jonathan Lethem- Bleak story of a sort of travelling VR carnival of the carnal that arrives in a town and how the two main characters get in and ultimately away from it.

Waiting for the Zephyr  by Tobias S. Buckell - I really enjoyed this one and felt it was just too short. After the collapse, rural towns are mere outposts and one character has been awaiting the return of the airship Zephyr to make her escape. This is a great beginning to a story. I need more!

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow- I very much enjoyed this one. A bio-attack destroys the world but systems admin Felix still forges on. The broken Toronto landscape was vivid. I also liked the willingness to forge on and keep trying a civilized society. 

Artie's Angels by Catherine Wells- Here's to Artie D'Angelo, a king among couriers of B9. Great short.

I have the other two books in this series and will continue.

Summary: Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence - the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon - these are our guides through the Wastelands.
From the Book of Revelation to The Road Warrior, from A Canticle for Leibowitz to The Road, storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving eschatological tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. In doing so, these visionary authors have addressed one of the most challenging and enduring themes of imaginative fiction: The nature of life in the aftermath of total societal collapse.

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 Emshwiller, Jonathan 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. Whether the end of the world comes through nuclear war, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm, these are tales of survivors, in some cases struggling to rebuild the society that was, in others, merely surviving, scrounging for food in depopulated ruins and defending themselves against monsters, mutants, and marauders.

Wastelands delves into this bleak landscape, uncovering the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the genre's core.

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