From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A variety of characters populates the well-written, future-set short stories in this aptly named anthology. Protagonists represent different ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. They all exist in unique, fully dimensional, and bleak worlds that are populated by children held in slavery, street people, the underprivileged, time travelers, and heroes who courageously fight to improve humanity's plight. The thread that binds these selections is the bravery of the main characters. Whether facing governmental, societal, or individual corruption, the protagonists find their own way to rise above it. Malinda Lo's "Good Girl" is a particularly engaging tale about an obedient daughter whose search for her missing brother leads her to an underground world that reveals some startling truths about her identity and the government. Daniel H. Wilson's "Freshee's Frogurt" stands out with its distinctive format; it's written as an interview conducted by a police officer investigating a robot-gone-rogue case. Each story entertains and provides the opportunity for underrepresented readers to find themselves on the pages. Contributors range from newly published authors to award winners, such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Cindy Pon. A first purchase for collections needing diversity titles or where short stories and dystopia are popular.-Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In an afterword, coeditor Monti writes about a heated 2009 discussion (dubbed “RaceFail 09”) regarding race in fantasy and science fiction, and how his reaction was to put together a collection showcasing “this wonderful, blended, messed-up world.” Hence this book, which feels different than the usual fare—characters, settings, and authors come from all across the global spectrum—and, maybe more to the point, proves to be not that different at all. It starts off with a fabulous one-two punch: Ellen Oh’s devastating “The Last Day,” about a future global war and the horrific Hiroshima-like aftermath; then “Freshee’s Frogurt,” a wild, violent, and funny excerpt from Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse (2011). In general, the subsequent stories fall on the more thoughtful, brainy side of the sf spectrum. Two standouts are Paolo Bacigalupi’s “A Pocket Full of Dharma,” about the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama on a portable storage drive; and Cindy Pon’s “Blue Skies,” a wistful have/have-not tale from a smog-filthed future Taipei. A solid introduction to a number of highly talented writers. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus