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Brave New Love: 15 Dystopian Tales of Desire Paperback – February 14, 2012
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them - all at once? Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. Until the one day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Paperback | Kindle book
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San Francisco Book Review/Sacramento Book Review
“Teens and adults will delight in the short fiction contributed to this title by fifteen of today’s hottest dystopian writers… I enjoyed seeing fifteen different worlds for the price of one book and I loved the fact that this compilation was filled with diversity of race and sexual orientation. I haven’t seen very many anthologies deal with dystopian environments, but I do think that Brave New Love did it well, and the obvious play on Huxley’s Brave New World title is relevant and smart. The volume reads fast and gives the reader much to ponder. Highly recommended.”
"A fascinating anthology with strong writers contributing their best. With stories ranging on the spectrum from blatant in-your-face problems to subtle commentary and abstract points about society the collection has a short story for every reader to enjoy.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Just a small disclaimer, I have nothing against gay/lesbian/bi/etc. couples, I am critiquing the writing only.
This book had the "brave" and some of the "new", but love was lacking in some of the stories. Please be aware that five of these stories do have gay/lesbian/bi themes so if you don't like it, skip those stories. They will be noted in the individual reviews below.
HIDDEN RIBBON by John Shirley
4.5 stars- Good world building, a fast paced story, and a sweet romance. Classic dystopian world with a sealed bubble that only the elite can live and thrive in and the rest of the contaminated world for the rest of them. Girl gets invited in, boy loves her and can't go, and conflict ensues.
THE SALT SEA AND THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear
2.5 stars- Two girls, in a world where women are only allowed to procreate with a man or run away. The main character only has her heart set on running away and seemingly is indifferent to Shaun, the love of her life. Shaun proclaims her love to Billie several more times, but the characters were flat and the situation was further exacerbated by cliched lesbian stereotypes. The story just didn't have a very strong foundation.
IN THE CLEARING by Kiera Cass
4.5 stars- A great dystopian society coupled with a group that has essentially "defected" made for a great short story. This rogue group have made themselves 'Borrowers' of a sort by taking essentials from the proper society. This story could definitely become a novel, even if the idea was already written in UNDER THE NEVER SKY. Great character building in such a small allotment of pages.
OTHERWISE by Nisi Shawl
3.Read more ›
As a disclaimer, I have nothing against homosexual relationships, it just doesn't particularly float my boat to read about them since I can't personally relate. About half the stories in this book are about homosexual relationships. Had I known that beforehand, I probably wouldn't have purchased the book. I like romances because I can imagine myself as the heroine and how it feels falling in love, which I can't do when it's a homosexual relationship.
Regardless of some of the stories being about homosexual relationships, most of the stories just were not well written and were simply not engaging. Some of them were just plain hard to follow due to all the unexplained dystopian future terminology.
The only stories I actually liked were:
In the Clearing
Now Purple with Love's Wound
The subtitle is a bit misleading- "desire" is often an alternative word for erotica, and that was NOT true here. Some of the loves were fulfilled and some doomed, but there was nothing explicit, if that matters.
I'd say it's suitable for mid-teens through adults, because the writing is generally pretty sophisticated.
The dystopias varied wildly, both in details and in the writing; some stories were almost hyper-realistic, while others were much more dreamlike and evocative. It was a well thought out blend, w2ith a very good arrangement of the stories.
Highly recommended, especially for those of us who rather like dystopias, but also like there to be some hope.
"Hidden Ribbon" by John Shirley
Having never read anything by this author before, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this story. Giorgio was running from some thugs when he came upon Felice's little hidey-hole in dystopic Los Angeles (2044). The two hit it off, but given a choice will they choose each other?
Its quick, but given to telling us what the two are talking about rather then showing us so there's an inorganic feel to the bond they form. The ending is kind of a cop out, since the choice Felice is given isn't really a choice (considering her personality), but its sweet.
"The Salt Sea and the Sky" by Elizabeth Bear
I really enjoyed this story--though I tend to enjoy Bear regardless of anything else. I'll warn for same-sex pairing, since some folk like to be told about that. There was never a question of if they'd be together. The question had always been for how long?
This had less of a dystopic feel to me then some of the others. Maybe because it was set in Ireland and most dystopias I read are set in America (or Australia oddly enough). This is also less about the love story the two have and more about what that love means to the narrator and how it could change her plans.
"In the Clearing" by Kiera Cass
I almost skipped this one because I really didn't like THE SELECTION, but I figured why not? For once in his life Dylan chose something for himself, too bad that something turned out to be a someone. Now if he can't convince her that something is wrong, everyone is in trouble.
Ignoring the romance, because this was almost Stockholm Syndrome Romance and that squicks me a bit, I was fascinated by the world.Read more ›