There have been a number of science fiction anthologies released over the last few years, and a good portion of them were on the subject of dystopian worlds. A future time where things don’t look so great, but the characters in the stories have hope for something better. But none of them are anything like Diverse Energies edited by Tobias Bucknell of British and Caribbean heritage. In the introduction, Bucknell talks about growing up and loving science fiction, but was always disappointed how the covers featured tough white guys with chiseled chins; that none of them ever looked like him. So when he set out to put Diverse Energies together, he was looking for diversity in every story.
“The Last Day” by Ellen Oh is set in a dystopian Japan where the world is at war and the children fear the next explosion will wipe out everything. “Next Door” by Rahul Kanakia is a world where the rich and well off are hooked into their virtual worlds, while the poor squat in their homes trying to eke out a living; in this story two boyfriends search for the ultimate place to live. “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo is about a relationship between two girls set in a world where races need to be pure otherwise people will become infected with a lethal illness; at least that’s what the government is telling them. The high point of the anthology is “Uncertainty Principle” by K. Tempest Bradford about a girl whose world keeps changing and she’s the only one who knows it’s happening. The collection also features stories from Paolo Baciagalupi and Ursula LeGuin.
Diverse Energies features no stories with tough white dudes and their chiseled chins. It features real people, from all walks of life, from all classes, from a number of different races, nations and cultures. The plots are unique and interesting encompassing many different worlds, and while all of them are of a dystopian nature, some have a little more hope and possibility than others. Diverse Energies is an anthology like no other, which is exactly why you need to read it.
Originally written on December 9, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
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