Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review + Giveaway: Diverse Energies (Anthology)

DIVERSE ENERGIES is an anthology of 11 short stories that have a post-apocalyptic bent and feature POC characters.

As in all story collections, there were some standouts and some I liked less, but every author had something valuable to say about the human experience and how we all strive to survive no matter our race or gender.

My top three were: Blue Skies by Cindy Pon, Good Girl by Malinda Lo and Solitude by Ursula Le Guin. The first two hold the promise of being able to sustain a much longer work (much like how Holly Black’s short story “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” is now going to be a novel) and the third I felt was just the right length and left me satisfied without wanting more.

Blue Skies starred a “want” who kidnaps a “have” in order to ransom her for the money to become a “have” himself. In this future, the rich have developed body suits with helmets that they wear everywhere so as to not be exposed to the horrible pollution that kills a “want” by his or her 30th birthday. The criminal and the captive have a day together in his mountain hideout where they connect over the shared desire to see blue skies. Both are yearning for more than their current existence allows – and I would love to see where such a relationship could go in the context of their broken world.

Good Girl takes the stereotype of the studious “good” Asian girl and turns it on its head. Interestingly, like Blue Skies, Good Girl is about a criminal but from the opposite perspective (that of the “victim” who falls for the criminal). It is set in a future walled-off New York City, thought by the inhabitants to be the last inhabitable city on earth – but what if there is something more out there?

Solitude is about a mother who is so obsessed with studying the strange culture of a primitive people (on a future destroyed “earth”) that she loses her daughter in the process. The story is told from the perspective of the daughter who grows up in the culture and gradually takes it on as her own, unable to readapt to her original heritage.

Ok and now for a few superlatives for the other stories.

Craziest sh*t going down: Gods of the Dimming Night by Greg van Eekhout (Like seriously, one of the weirdest things I’ve read in awhile. But I liked it!)

Most likely to actually be happening right now: Pattern Recognition by Ken Liu

Most entertaining voice: Freshee’s Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson

Most heartbreaking: The Last Day by Ellen Oh

Most twists: Uncertainty Principle by K. Tempest Bradford

Interested? I have two ARCs of DIVERSE ENERGIES up for grabs to readers in the US. Each copy is signed by Cindy Pon, Malinda Lo, and Greg Van Eekhout. To enter, fill out this form by September 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST. Prizes provided and shipped by the publisher. 

DIVERSE ENERGIES comes out on October 1, 2012. Visit the publisher's website for more information.

See index of all dystopian reviews at Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: NetGalley


Sarah said...

I really love the cover of this book! Simple but great colors and I love the font choice.

klamb123 said...
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Blogger10 said...

This book sounds right up my alley! I tried clicking the link though, and it says the spreadsheet cannot be found?

Average Black Librarian said...

It sounds very interesting. FYI the link says it cannot be found for me as well.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Sorry guys - don't know why that was. Link is fixed now though!! Enter away!

Zibilee said...

I've never read a dystopian collection before, so this sounds interesting to me. It would probably be a great way to find out what does and doesn't work for me in this genre as well.

Sophia Chang said...

Ack my computer kept fritzing out and submitted a blank entry. Just ignore the incomplete ones please! I sent one that I hope worked.

Lorena said...

I find it really amazing that there's a collection of dystopian stories with POC main characters. How times have changed!

Christina said...

Reviews of anthologies are SO HARD to write. I am looking forward to this one quite a bit, though! Oh, this cover! Way better than the first iteration, which hurt my eyes.

Emily said...

Wow, a sci-fi book with people of color? That's an (unfortunate) rarity these days. Sign me up!

Heather Zundel said...

I'm so glad you featured this collection, Lenore! AND gave us the lowdown on what's inside. Yep. Super excited for this one.

Ironic Lady (BookSpark) said...

I rarely read anthologies, but this sounds pretty good! Who can deny more than one dystopian in one book?! And with authors like le Guin too!

Blue Skies vaguely reminds me of this dystopian movie I watched last year - In Time. Have you seen it? If not, I do recommend it!

Ana @ BookSpark

Lenore Appelhans said...

Hi Ana - Yes, I have seen IN TIME. And that's exactly what I'd love for these characters too -- if it were made into a longer work, that kind of relationship where both realize and overcome the prejudices they have for the "other side".