Brave New Worlds (Dystopian Stories)
John Joseph Adams
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Your every movement is being tracked, your every word recorded. Your spouse may be an informer, your children may be listening at your door, your best friend may be a member of the secret police. You are alone among thousands, among great crowds of the brainwashed, the well-behaved, the loyal. Productivity has never been higher, the media blares, and the army is ever triumphant. One wrong move, one slip-up, and you may find yourself disappeared -- swallowed up by a monstrous bureaucracy, vanished into a shadowy labyrinth of interrogation chambers, show trials, and secret prisons from which no one ever escapes. Welcome to the world of the dystopia, a world of government and society gone horribly, nightmarishly wrong.
What happens when civilization invades and dictates every aspect of your life? From 1984 to The Handmaid's Tale, from Children of Men to Bioshock, the dystopian imagination has been a vital and gripping cautionary force. Brave New Worlds collects the best tales of totalitarian menace by some of today's most visionary writers, including Neil Gaiman, Paolo Bacigalupi, Orson Scott Card, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
When the government wields its power against its own people, every citizen becomes an enemy of the state. Will you fight the system, or be ground to dust beneath the boot of tyranny?
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purpose be? It Rickert implying that the nightmare scenario she presents might in some way be related to government agencies that already exist? Is that a reasonable fear, and is such a system of public executions as she imagines even possible in the United States? “O Happy Day” Geoff Ryman’s brutal story deliberately evokes images of the Nazi concentration camps in the context of sexual oppression. Is this a fair comparison, or is the author being manipulative? Listen to the original song of
named him “the reigning king of the anthology world,” and his books have been named to numerous best of the year lists. His most recent books are The Living Dead 2 and The Way of the Wizard, and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. John is also the fiction editor of the online science fiction magazine Lightspeed (www.lightspeedmagazine.com). Prior to taking on that role, he worked for nearly nine years in the editorial department at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He is
anyone else’s—like a wicked purple with the power to burn. “Hello,” I say. Dhaka sits with her daughter, a bloodied rag pressed against the sore nose. The other hand is stuck into the woman’s mouth, enduring the slow chewing of nervous teeth. Dhaka is sad. In her life, she has never felt this sorry and helpless. That’s why I aim a feeble current through her mind, and for no reason she can name, that black despair weakens slightly. Houston is a worse threat. He decides to push between the boy and
day.” She backs away, panicked. He stands and puts on the goggles, and after adjusting the straps until comfortable, he calls out to everybody, “What’s the delay? Let’s get this chore done.” “Vesta,” he says. There is one light. Mine. I spread the beam, giving us a good view of the path leading down to the lake. It is January and dark. My light hides whatever stars might be showing through the dust and clouds that cling to these mountains. It is a rare night, the air chilly enough to make breath
until his hole is wide and hip-deep in the center. Then he straightens his back, saying, “That’s funny. The bags should be here.” “Keep searching,” I urge. Those words give him new energy. He shifts to his right and digs again, looking like an animal following a last desperate scent. “Cull,” I say. “What’s that?” “Removing what weakens, making the whole stronger as a consequence. That’s what it means to cull.” His arms slow, and he looks straight ahead. “Humans cull, and worlds cull too,” I say.