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[Edited by John Joseph Adams]
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Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence . . . the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon . . . these are our guides through the Wastelands. From the Book of Revelation to ''The Road Warrior'', from ''A Canticle for Leibowitz'' to ''The Road'', storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving eschatological tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. In doing so, these visionary authors have addressed one of the most challenging and enduring themes of imaginative fiction: the nature of life in the aftermath of total societal collapse. Gathering together the best postapocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today's most renowned authors of speculative fiction - including George R. R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King - ''Wastelands'' explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon. Whether the end of the world comes through nuclear war, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm, these are tales of survivors, in some cases struggling to rebuild the society that was, in others, merely surviving, scrounging for food in depopulated ruins and defending themselves against monsters, mutants, and marauders. ''Wastelands'' delves into this bleak landscape, uncovering the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the genre's core.
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John Joseph Adams, called ''the reigning king of the anthology world'' by Barnes & Noble, is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as ''Epic, Other Worlds than These, Armored, Under the Moons of Mars, Lightspeed, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Way of the Wizard'', and others. He is a six-time finalist for the Hugo Award and a five-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award. He is also the editor and publisher of ''Lightspeed'' and ''Nightmare'', and is the co-host of Wired.com's The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast.Review:
"This collection of short stories is a retrospective of possible post-apocalyptic scenarios, ranging from the immediate aftermath to far, far in the future. While a few horror and dark fantasy stories have been thrown in the mix, most of these excellent selections are straightforward science fiction depicting various ways of coping with the end of everything." --The Huffington Post
"[Wastelands] is arguably my favorite anthology of all time - just packed with speculative masterworks." --Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble.com
"John Joseph Adams's new anthology works quite nicely as a selection of such new stories of the end of the world. [...] A first-rate anthology that quite convincingly represents the more recent SFnal view of the apocalypse." --Locus Magazine
"Few books have had the impact on me that Wastelands did. ... A great collection that gets my highest recommendation." --Bookgasm
"I can't help but give this collection the highest recommendation. I think this will be a cornerstone for most reader's shelves." --SFF World
From Stephen King's take on the end of humanity through science gone wrong ('The End of the Whole Mess') to John Langan's horrific tale of a small group's valiant last stand against an unbeatable enemy ('Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of the Purple Flowers'), the 22 stories in this end-of-days anthology run the gamut from nuclear devastation to environmental debacle to the Second Coming. Also featuring Orson Scott Card, Octavia E. Butler, and Gene Wolfe, and including an original story by Jerry Oltion ('Judgment Passed'), this title belongs in most sf or short fiction collections. --Library Journal
Wastelands is an exceptional anthology. In scope and vision it can only be compared to Harlan Ellison-s Dangerous Visions. Like that famed anthology, Wastelands collects some of the best stories of a genre, each with an introduction by the editor that sets the stage for the events that unfold. The stories are full of depth, but are also so well crafted that they are not preachy. None of the stories will disappoint the reader who picks up this anthology. ...
I highly recommend this anthology for anyone who enjoys reading anything. A lot of these authors I had not read before and I now want to seek out their novels at the bookstore. Each story is unique, and while all share the same basic frame, each writer has been able to pull a completely different conclusion about or assessment of humanity. Some are chilling while others are hopeful, but each will show the reader a facet of himself or herself if they are willing to see it. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse is the best anthology of any kind I have read to date. --Grasping for the Wind
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