Both superstar and up-and-coming YA authors tackle the themes of apocalypse and dystopia in 19 short stories and poems.
Nearly every story provides a first-person adolescent protagonist, with male and female viewpoints equally represented, some with explicit GLBT orientation. The scenarios they narrate vary widely—from ecological catastrophes to alien invasion, political revolutions to supernatural uprisings, religious tyranny to socioeconomic collapse—but with less emphasis on the mechanics of the disaster than on coping with the aftermath. Graphic violence and destruction are avoided in favor of pointed allusions and carefully selected images; although many are creepy or even nightmarish, most conclude on a note of hope. Yet the relentless succession of bleak circumstances and failure eventually blurs the individual voices into an indistinguishable grimness. Indeed, the concluding bibliographical essay by the editors is in many ways the highlight of the volume, succinctly tracing the history, appeal and best current examples of the genre.
A fine selection for new readers looking to sample this type of fiction or for dedicated fans seeking fresh voices. (Science fiction/short stories. 12 & up)