Monday, October 15, 2012

Diverse Energies

Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti
4/5 stars
Tu Books, 2012
309 pages
YA Dystopia/Science-Fiction Short Stories

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was grabbed by the mention of three of these authors who have either written books I enjoyed or have written books I hope to read soon (those three being Ellen Oh, Malinda Lo, and Cindy Pon). Its stated intention is to provide more diversity in our YA fiction, whether race, gender, culture, sexual-orientation, etc. These stories mix dystopia, science-fiction, and fantasy. Like many short story collections, it's a definite mixed bag with some stories working well for me and some not clicking with me.

The Last Day by Ellen Oh-what a powerful story and a great way to start the collection! Atomic non-stop war between the President of the West and the Emperor of the West with nowhere safe for the people.

Freshee's Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson-Interesting story about robots going berserk and attacking humans; warning about language. Not one of my favorites as it's very short and just focusing on this one battle.

Uncertainty Principle by K. Tempest Bradford-was really interesting and played with time, one of my favorite concepts. A young girl keeps having time shifted around her with no one else noticing until the day she uploads all the times it has happened and she is contacted by others to do something about it.

Pattern Recognition by Ken Liu-I really loved this story although there was an awkward shift at the end, hopefully due to the fact that this is an ebook. I wasn't really sure where it was going but I loved the main characters. It made me think of Ender's Game a little bit, which is a good thing as that's one of my favorite books.

Gods of Dimming Light by Greg van Eekhout-I didn't really like this one; it felt a bit more on the violent side featuring a young Indonesian boy discovering a Norse connection.

Next Door by Rahul Kanakia-This was very weird to me: there are haves and have-nots, the former don't even notice the latter being so plugged into their technology and I didn't quite understand that even as I know people are always talking about how technology is isolating us but I could not imagine not noticing other people in the way that the haves do here.

Good Girl by Malinda Lo-did I mention that all of these stories are pretty uniformly depressing? This was definitely one of those with our main character searching the underworld for her brother, meeting a love interest, and confronting the grim reality of her world.

A Pocket Full of Dharma by Paolo Bacigalupi-I didn't really know what to make of this story, about a boy on the streets and trying to survive among conniving adults in a bleak world. What's in his pocket? It's not a ring of power for one.

Blue Skies by Cindy Pon-I thought this was another really good story, especially because it seemed a little lighter and it had a hint of romance. Although such romance is impossible in the world, I liked the little hit within.

What Arms to Hold by Rajan Khanna-Indian children labor in a mine, searching for a big prize that will ensure their promotion to a better job...guess what? That's not exactly the case as is so heartbreakingly shown here.

Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin-I'm not really sure I got this story, which was one of the longest included. It's about a woman who uses her son and daughter to explore and study a foreign culture on another planet.


  1. Hadn't heard of this and I love some of these authors. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

  2. I loved Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix and I'd hopefully like her short story in this collection. I am not a big fan of short story anthologies because I usually don't like a lot of the stories. There is one that came out not too long ago with stories from Richelle Mead, Carrie Ryan, and Laini Taylor that I might try just because I like so many of the authors. I just prefer full length novels or novellas. Thanks for sharing your review of this one.

  3. Great review! Ellen Oh's story sounds intriguing. Sounds like a good anthology! I'll have to see if my local library gets this one.


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