Shock, But No Awe

Futureshocks Futureshocks by Lou Anders

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The book fulfills part of its mission. The introductory essay is called “The Business of Lying,” and Anders quotes U.K. LeGuin who writes, “Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive….Prediction is the business of phophets, clairvoyants, and futurologists. It is not the business of novelists. A novelist’s business is lying.”

The collection definitely succeeds in being descriptive. Each writer’s prose gives me a clear picture of the world of each story. I was disappointed that most of this clarity came by way of exposition and in more than one case, shameless infodumping–2-3 pages worth.

But that’s not its worst failing.

The central question, emblazoned at the top of the cover, is “What Terror Does Tomorrow Hold?” My question was “Terror for whom?” To be sure, I wouldn’t want to live in some of the tomorrows presented in this anthology. But when I ask myself what terror tomorrow holds for ME, with respect to this anthology, I’d answer: very little, provided I don’t make the mistakes or manage to avoid the situations in which a lot of the characters of these stories find themselves.

That is, with one exception. “Absalom’s Mother” by Louise Marley stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the stories! It’s the only story where I cared about the characters. I was afraid for them and afraid of their world. Their emotions connected me to that world in a way that I wasn’t to any of the other worlds presented. If the rest of the stories in the anthology did that, I might truly be afraid of tomorrow.

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