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Diverse Energies Hardcover – October 1, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tu Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600608876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600608872
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. It's a science fiction anthology that includes stories from Paolo Bacigalupi and Ursula LeGuin. While I don't read a lot of anthologies, I like the idea of finding new authors to read. The theme of this anthology is diversity. Its editor, Tobias S. Buckell, who is Caribbean and British, explains that he wants science fiction to represent many races and cultures, not just one.

This anthology introduced me to new ideas and authors, and scary visions of the future that could very well exist. I skipped around a little, and there are a couple of stories I didn't finish. A few stories I didn't like at first but once I gave them ten pages I was deeply drawn into them. I definitely enjoyed the book as a whole, not just for the statement it's making, but because it's good sci-fi/dystopian fiction. If you like your science fiction heavy on science and technology, this won't be the book for you. But if you're looking for good fiction about strange worlds and cultures, or what race and class conflicts might look like in the future, you'll enjoy this.

Some of my favorites:
"The Last Day" by Ellen Oh. Set in Japan, this story is the closest thing I've ever seen to what it might feel like to be around when a nuclear bomb goes off. I won't forget this story any time soon.
"Good Girl" by Malinda Lo. About a dystopian future where mixed-ethnicity people are considered to have terminal illnesses and forced to live underground. And there's an outside world that nobody's seen.
"A Pocket Full of Dharma" by Paolo Bacigalupi. If you've read Pump Six, Bacigalupi's book of short stories, you'll be disappointed because this story comes from that book. A fascinating story though and one of the best in this collection.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Diverse Energies is true to its word. It’s diverse in more ways than one. These stories are diverse across ethnicities and cultural practices and beliefs, sexual orientation, religious identity, and class and are some of the most rich and thought provoking short stories I’ve read.

"The Last Day" by Ellen Oh is the first short story seen in Diverse Energies. This is a story about love and loyalty and survival and sacrifice in the face of war and it’s beautiful. There are such dynamic characters and relationships here in such a visually stunning world and I loved every moment of it.

“Freshee’s Frogurt” by Daniel H. Wilson was so much fun to read. It was funny, I loved the action – the pacing was perfect, and everything about this robot story made for one of the most entertaining and memorable stories in this anthology. Also, if you’ve worked in the food industry, you’ll appreciate this story for the accuracy of the behind the scenes happenings. I’d say this entire anthology is pretty dark but this story is light in tone if you’re looking for a lighter short story.

Other standout stories for me include “Uncertainty Principle” by K. Tempest Bradford because this is time travel/alternate reality not only done right but executed so uniquely! I would totally read a full length novel of this story.

“Gods of the Dimming Night” by Greg van Eekhout was a great take on medical testing. “Good Girl” by Malinda Lo gives a thought provoking look at class, trust, not so hidden prejudices and hidden agendas. There are many great stories here dealing with deception, control, and corruption.
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Format: Hardcover
Oh anthologies... you are so difficult to review. Diverse Energies was an anthology that appealed to me because I usually do enjoy dystopian stories, but have been a little burnt out on them and it focused on stories from underrepresented cultures.

But the thing about reviewing anthologies is that I feel differently about all of the stories in it. I thought that some were very strong and some seemed very weak. The anthology opened on a strong note with Ellen Oh's The Last Day, though and with that note in mind, I kept reading even when the stories were a bit weaker. But let's break it down to the strongest and the weakest points...

Favorite stories:

Good Girl by Malinda Lo- Lo managed to create a vivid and bleak world in only pages and the allure between Kyle and Nix jumps from the page.

Blue Skies by Cindy Pon- Her main character is so interesting. He does something technically "bad," but I couldn't judge him for it. I loved how so much of this story is about just... wistfulness, I guess? That's not quite the right word, but that's close to it. Pon's character wants higher standing, wants blue skies and I loved the ending to the story as well.

Least favorite story:

Freshee's Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson- I nearly put the book down and this was the second story. I kept having to remind myself that the first story was strong, and I'm glad I did so as I discovered several stories that I really enjoyed. Freshee's Frogurt was told like a police interview and seemed so stilted. Perhaps because it's technically all dialogue, but the voice of the main character in this anthology irritated me beyond measure.

To sum up: A little uneven, but that tends to happen in anthologies. I'd recommend this one if you're tiring of dystopians. You can get quick doses of the genre this way instead of overwhelming yourself.
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