Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, a review

John Joseph Adams has a well-earned reputation as The Man Who Delivers Anthologies. Barnes & has dubbed him “the reigning king of the anthology world.” By my count he’s published at least nine of them. I own one, The Living Dead, which contained enough zombie goodness (along with a few stiffs) to prompt me to buy his Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse.

To be honest, I probably would have bought Wastelands regardless of its editor. I’m a big fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, from novels like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, to films like Escape from New York or Mad Max. Why? As an inhabitant of the northeastern seaboard of the United States I’m not often confronted with existential issues. I know that I’m going to die one day and suffer separation from all that I know and love, but because civilization affords me everything I need—and much of what I want, too—I tend not to think about these issues much. The panaceas of electricity and refrigeration, and healthcare and schools, and television and the internet and books, masks the skull beneath the skin. I’m effectively insulated from the hard life and death struggle that’s woven into so much of human history. But what if it was all stripped away, and life was reduced to its essentials? That’s the question post-apocalyptic fiction asks, and one I occasionally like to ponder. With my feet up on the couch of my air-conditioned living room, of course.

To read the rest of this post, visit The Black Gate website.

No comments: