- - June 13th, 2013
Today we digitally release a ground-breaking and definitive anthology of short stories from some of the very biggest names in science fiction and fantasy . . . Presenting:
WASTELANDS: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE
An anthology of post-apocalyptic short fiction from genre heavyweights such as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card, Cory Doctorow, Gene Wolfe, Jonathan Lethem, Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias S. Buckell, Jack McDevitt, Neal Barrett Jr., Richard Kadrey and many many others….
(see a full list here)
At the same time, we’re also releasing THE LIVING DEAD – an anthology of zombie stories from even more superstars of the SFF genre . . . More on that next week, but for now it’s fair to say that if you’re into zombies and apocalypses, both these anthologies are perfect reading whilst waiting to see the WORLD WAR Z movie! They’re both edited by John Joseph Adams, the bestselling editor of many anthologies and a four-time finalist for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.
Today we’re focusing on WASTELANDS: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE. We asked the authors involved to give us a few comments about what inspired them to write the stories included . . .
Cory Doctorow on his story “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”from WASTELANDS
The most important thing about a system is how it fails, though mostly we pay attention to how it works. Who cares how many houses you could buy on cheap credit if they all end up as subprime roadkill when the whole crooked business unravels?
We tell ourselves that civilisation fails badly. Stories I love, from Day of the Triffids to 1984, paint a picture of a world where disaster is attended by riots, rape and cruelty. The reality – shown time and again – is that disaster is attended by kindness, care, and compassion. When the lights go out, we don’t eat each other, we help each other.
‘Elite panic’ is the sociological phenomenon that causes the masters of the universe to send guns into Haiti after the quake – ahead of the humanitarian aid. It’s why the City of London is blanketed in CCTVs. It’s why police all over the world are so pants-wettingly terrified of public protest and treat every march like a riot in potentia.
We need to tell ourselves stories about the goodness of our neighbours as remedy for the vile slander that our stories have told us about the human race. It is the only way to counter elite panic. Read the rest of this entry »
Will McIntsosh is the Hugo Award-winning science fiction author of SOFT APOCALYPSE and HITCHERS (both released as digital editions this Thursday in UK and ANZ), as well as the up-and-coming LOVE MINUS EIGHTY (released worldwide in June 2013). Will tells us below about exactly what kind of apocalypse he envisages . . .
I’ve had a longstanding interest in the end of the world. I’m not a True Believer – I don’t have a six month supply of freeze-dried food and a ten year supply of ammo stored in a bunker under my house – but I do believe the likelihood of an apocalypse is greater than most people think.
In most apocalyptic literature, the apocalypses are caused by sudden, surprising, cataclysmic events, like nuclear weapons, meteors, or killer viruses. I wrote a novel about a “soft apocalypse”, where things unravel slowly, over the course of decades. Rather than one event, a series of events cause a long, slow decline, and the world population dies off gradually. If there is an apocalypse, I think this is how it will happen. Here’s why.
A social psychologist named Dan Gilbert pointed out that the human mind has evolved to react primarily to immediate threats, especially if those threats have a clearly identifiable cause, and especially if that cause is an identifiable person or group of people. In other words, we’ve evolved to react to immediate threats perpetrated by human villains. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were exactly that kind of threat. During the cold war, the threat was nuclear annihilation, and the villains were the leaders of the Soviet Union or the United States, depending on where you lived. These sorts of threats scare the hell out of us. We sit up, pay attention, and take action if we can. Read the rest of this entry »
- - November 1st, 2012
Last weekend, along with millions of other people I’m sure, I went to see the latest Sam Mendes Bond movie, SKYFALL. I found the film highly entertaining – with some very impressive action scenes, a slickest of slick opening sequence, a surprisingly believable plot (for an action movie I mean…), and a rather irresistible performance from the easy-on-the-eye Daniel Craig.
But I also found it interesting (with my Orbit hat on) that this time, 007 wasn’t having to save the world by disarming a nuclear warhead (think MOONRAKER or THUNDERBALL) or stopping the spread of a deadly virus (think ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE) or prevent an evil communist plot (think CASINO ROYALE and a whole host of other Bonds).
This time, Bond’s role was to combat the destruction looming from the leak of confidential information – by the world’s most sophisticated cyber-terrorist. Highly believable in this age of Wikileaks and hackers being potentially extradited for infiltrating US military systems.
It seems that the disasters befalling the various James Bonds have been evolving through the years – seemingly to keep up with the ways in which our world, our technology and our political and social struggles have been constantly changing. Because it appears that as we progress as a species, the potential pitfalls waiting to bring down Western world and civilisation itself seem to be constantly evolving too – and growing dangerously more numerous by the day. Read the rest of this entry »