DIVERSE ENERGIES by Various Authors
YA Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Short Stories
368 pages, hardcover
Available now (October 2012)
Publisher: Tu Books
Review copy provided by publisher
“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 23, 1962
In a world gone wrong, heroes and villains are not always easy to distinguish and every individual has the ability to contribute something powerful.
In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another 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 beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.
To be honest, I could only read a story or two at a time out of this collection. Each story was darker and bleaker than the next so it took me quite a long time to make my way all the way through. This isn't to say it was poorly written or a terrible collection of stories. Quite the opposite, in fact. The majority of the stories were gorgeously written with deep connections to the world as it is and as it might be, filled with a diverse cast of characters and a wide range of topics including mythology, gender issues, a zillion types of sciences and technology.
Among my favorites: SOLITUDE by Ursula K. Le Guin tells a story of the clash of cultures in Le Guin's particularly beautiful writing style; BLUE SKIES by Cindy Pon takes a kidnapping as a bid to change society (I'd like to see more out of this one -- intriguing glimpse into a difficult world); and THE LAST DAY by Ellen Oh envisions a world where the US bombing Japan didn't end WWII...this one was incredibly difficult to get through because of the subject matter.
I'm a gal who loves a happy ending and reading these stories sent me so far out of my comfort zone...it was hard. But worth it. We should all push ourselves out of that sweet comfort zone often, just to see what happens, even if the result isn't always what we expect.
One thing I really loved about this book (and about this publisher) is that it featured a multinational cast. People of every make and model populated these stories, much like the world today. Diversity, in my opinion, is what makes us interesting. Meeting, reading about, interacting with a wide scope of people and places broadens our horizons and opens our minds. We *need* more "diverse energies" in the publishing world. Huzzah to Tu Books. BTW, this copy of DIVERSE ENERGIES is now resting in my high school's library, as we're always on the lookout for books that feature a variety of people, people like those who attend my high school.
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