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L RON HUBBARD PRESENTS WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOLUME XXVI, Galaxy Press, $7.99, 464 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter. One of the highlights of the end of Summer is the receipt of the new WOTF volume. It, at least to me, represents a new beginning of a group of talent as they present the birth of their future to the rest of the world. It is a time of harvesting their products and preparation for the winter crops to be sown. Each writer and artist represented herein are giving us the fruits of their labors and giving us a glimpse of the future seeds they are sowing. This year’s collection is another vast array of topics and styles. I once thought it would be a lot of fun to be a judge, but it is really a lot of work. I don’t know how many entries they receive each year, but narrowing it down to twelve and then picking out one as the best would be an impossible task. Each one is a winner and the reader and the science fiction community are the winners as well because we have a new group of people to add to our reading lists. My favorites are as varied as the topics. “Living Rooms” by Laurie Tom takes the ideas that rooms have their own personalities and home is where the heart is to a new level. Laerl Salaets’ “The Black Side of Memory” gives a future look at PTSD and how the government handles it and what it wants to hide. “Not in the Flesh” by Adam Colston reminds me a bit of BLADERUNNER with a twist. Simon Cooper’s “Confliction” is a medical tale of black market organs and nanotechnology. Other stories by Scott W Baker, K.C. Ball and Jason Fischer are standouts as well. Start out your harvest season with this cornucopia of great reading.
About the Author
With 19 New York Times bestsellers and more than 230 million copies of his works in circulation, L. Ron Hubbard is among the most acclaimed and widely read authors of our time. As a leading light of American Pulp Fiction through the 1930s and ’40s, he is further among the most influential authors of the modern age. Indeed, from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, there is scarcely a master of imaginative tales who has not paid tribute to L. Ron Hubbard.
When I decided to enter the Writers of the Future contest, I bought a copy of this book to study the essays and winning stories. I was impressed by the variety and quality of the writing. Not only was the book a good way to learn, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The strategy paid off big-time when my story "Fast Draw" was selected as a published finalist in volume 28. I would recommend these books and the Writers of the Future contest to any aspiring writer of fantasy or science fiction.
Each new volume of L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future series of anthologies collects the winning stories from that year's contest. Started in 1983, it has gone on to become one of the most well-known contests for science fiction and fantasy stories. Entries from amateur or unpublished writers are accepted quarterly, with several levels of awards given. The first, second, and third place winners for each quarter earn publication in the anthology and a workshop with professionals in the field. Out of the four first place stories, one is granted the Gold Award, which comes with extra prestige and payment. A companion contest for illustrators is held concurrently, and the winners each illustrate one of the stories in the anthology.
This is the first of these anthologies that I have had the chance to read, and they may certainly vary from year to year. I found that this volume was weighted toward science fiction, with fewer fantasy selections. The stories are interspersed with short essays about the field from well-known authors and artists. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I thought that it was a solid collection of fiction. I'll highlight some of my favorite stories below.
"Living Rooms", by Laurie Tom, was the first story in the collection, and the Gold Award winner. Rill returns home after several years among ladies at court. Her father has died, but the animated personas of each room in his house have remained. Rill must confront the threat of a neighboring wizard while unraveling the secrets that her father left behind. This was a well-rounded story and a solid opening to the collection. While this was fantasy, with wizards and magic, the focus was different from many such tales.
In a unique look at androids, Alex Black brings us "Lisa With Child". Once manufactured as a bodyguard for one of the Agency's Clandestine Service members, Lisa manages to subvert her systems to become pregnant. However, the Agency will not likely allow a self-replicating weapon to exist, no matter what the reason.
"Exanastasis" by Brad R. Torgersen explores a world in which Earth's population has been eliminated to allow its ecosystems to recover. Atreus, caretaker for the project, is re-animated in a cloned body by his humanoid constructions built to resurrect the population from stored data. When his wife is also cloned, he has to decide what distinguishes a human from a monster.
When Izzy left Earth to work on the solar station, she found challenges amid the native Offworlders. Brent Knowles examines the differences of this environment in "Digital Rights". A ghost is lurking in the digital systems, and the exchange of knowledge carries a price.
In "Coward's Steel" by K.C. Ball, Tate struggles to survive in a difficult world. Armed with only a pistol and her long-lost mentor's collection of rules, she stumbles upon a village that seems a bit too inviting. What will be the cost of her visit?
Told from the point-of-view of a sentient tree-like species, "Written in Light" by Jeff Young was quite an engaging tale. Zoi'ahmets (the tree) finds a human girl, stranded in the wilderness of the planet's Dispute Zone. When the youngster's life becomes threatened, Zoi'ahmets must figure out how to save her without endangering the political situation or her own work.
My favorite illustrations were those by R. M. Winch and Jingxuan Hu. Many books don't offer any visual art other than the cover, so I enjoyed seeing these with each story. I think that one of the strengths of this collection is that there are always going to be fresh ideas and voices. I look forward to picking up another volume. More information about the contest can be found at: [...]
I really loved these great collection of short stories and novelettes. This brand always looks for new and emerging writers to bring a freshness to the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It as always is a rather lengthy book for a lengthy enjoyment.
I received this item at a discounted price in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I am in no way employed by, or receiving compensation from the manufacturer, seller or Amazon for my review. All opinions, observations and statements are my own based on my personal experience with the item
The stories are very imaginative and interesting. The collection has many good writers, like any book some are better than others but overall all the stories are very good. My favorite story was easily 'The House of Nameless' by Jason Fischer. I love the illustrations. Many books don't offer any visual art other than the cover, so I enjoyed seeing these with each story. I bought this at a discount price in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
I bought this book to give me a chance to read a wider selection of science fiction and fantasy short stories. There are some really good ones in this collection, and it was more than worth the purchase price!
I avoided this series for a long time because L Ron Hubbard's religious cult scares me. Then, I received two volumes (29 and 30) in exchange for reviews and now, I'm reading the series backwards.
This volume of the anthology has been my least favorite to-date simply because I didn't understand a couple of the stories. Too much was left for me to infer. On the other hand, Not In the Flesh by Adam Colston has been one of my favorite stories that I've seen in this series (and is by favorite story in this volume). And, since I love the exposure to new writers, I've already purchased Volume 25.
I really appreciate this collection of stories. I've learned a lot from them. I think this will help me create my own fantasy novels in the future. It's a great reference for those who are learning the art of writing. I highly recommend this kindle!
The imaginative stories found in this book lead one far and away to places you might have thought of on the edges of your mind. These authors have made it real. For other writers there are things to be learned between these covers not only about the competition but articles on the craft of writing itself. This was a fun and enthralling read. RK