True Review
Current Issue Number 77 Vol.20  March 2011


BRAVE NEW WORLDS, Dystopian Stories, ed. by John Joseph Adams. Night Shade Books (, 2011, 481 pp., $15.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-221-5

Some of the “edginess” of the DARKNESS anthology edited by Ellen Datlow are included in BRAVE NEW WORLDS, but the relative risks are slight. Some memorable stories include:

“Red Card” by S.L. Gilbow. Linda is one of the few citizens to brandish a “red card” – literally a license to kill. One way to get rid of unwanted and unruly citizens is to allow and get approval for the use of catastrophic force. But what of the “innocent” and how could ANYBODY determine that right?

“Billennium” by J.G. Ballard. Ward and his partner Rossiter are subject, like everyone else in the city, to severe limits on their living space, even at 755th Street. Crowded, out of patience, looking for more space any way they can find it, they stumble onto a large, forgotten room, which seems almost dreamlike at first. Did they find a spatial paradise? And how long can they keep it?

“Pop Squad” by Paolo Bacigalupi. In a world in which global warming has melted the polar ice caps, in which people are forced closer together because of a lack of land mass (New York City is under water) into a large, multilevel city in which overpopulation has become a serious crime, “police” are sent to execute children. In this world there is a chemical, rejoo, which allows everyone to live indefinitely. Overpopulation has become a dangerous reality. But how much “control” can society exert over a force so compelling that mothers are willing to risk their lives at any cost to have children? Like the fireman Montag in the Ray Bradbury novel, FAHRENHEIT 451, the very nature of what the policeman does is in question.

The opposite is true in “Auspicious Eggs” by James Morrow, in which babies are examined for their fertility. If not fertile, the babies are “baptized” – in other words, executed – because the church recognizes only those who can procreate. Some of course refuse to live under those conditions.

“Peter Skilling” by Alex Irvine. A man named Skilling, high on reefer, falls into a glacial crevasse in the year 2005 and dies, only to be “resurrected” 98 years after his death – to find himself in a very different world. Skilling’s beliefs, his stature in life – purchasing the banned substance from a man who was part of what has developed into a terrorist organization – are now on military trial. What is the inevitable outcome?

“The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury. The story is just as chilling and poignant today as the time I read it in 9th grade. The year is 2131 and Mr. Leonard Mead – an ordinary guy out taking a walk -- is caught up in his own terror. All the guy wanted to do was take a relaxing stroll through the neighborhood!

“Dead Space for the Unexpected” by Geoff Ryman. Jonathan, always at the mercy of performance feedbacks at the office, has several items on a closely monitored agenda. The tasks include firing Simon, dealing with Harriet, and putting up with Sally. In this world, ALL you do at work is closely monitored, down to every decision-making detail. The horror of it all is, what if the time allotted, such as the “dead space” time, is not sufficient?

“Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution?” by Genevieve Valentine. Liz, who works for the Department of Information Affairs, and Greg, are on a date in a society that carefully screens who gets together for what and why. State control takes on new meaning, and any resistance is carefully controlled.

“The Lunatics” by Kim Stanley Robinson. Miners deep inside Earth’s moon are nothing but slaves, held captive by the pursuit of the radioactive promethium ore. However, like all slaves, the miners want to escape, this time to the never-before-seen surface.

Other significant stories are represented, including “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” by Harlan Ellison; “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick; “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; and “Caught in the Organ Draft” by Robert Silverberg.

There are many other writers as well.

Andrew M. Andrews

In This Issue

Soft Apocalpyse Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 Click on the Book Cover for Review Best Sci-Fi of the Year Oscar Wilde & Vampire Murders

Dawn to Dusk Brave New Worlds All Clear Zombie Autopsies Best of Kim Stanley Robinson

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Griftopia Sleight of Hand Immaculate Deception Pump Six

Sympathy for the Devil Atlantis & Othe Places Darkness Holiday Nano Comes to Clifford

Game Changers Armageddon In Retrospect   The Fall of the House of Usher Realms of Fantasy

Next Time In True Review


FLAMING ZEPPELINS: The Adventures of Ned the Seal, by Joe R. Lansdale. Tachyon Publications (, 2010, 285 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-002-5

FLAMING ZEPPELINS is a combination of two short novels, ZEPPELINS WEST (Subterranean Press, 2001) and FLAMING LONDON (Subterranean, 2005). The love of westerns and pulp fiction, comic books and Texas weirdness, come into play. The best campy fiction in all of America? Probably.

Andrew M. Andrews


THE COLLECTED FANTASIES VOL. 5, THE LAST HIEROGLYPH, by Clark Ashton Smith, ed. by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger. Night Shade Books (, 2010, 370 pp., $39.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-032-7

THE COLLECTED FANTASIES is the last of five volumes to collect all of Smith’s tales. Included are works ranging from “The Dark Age” (April 1938) to “The Dart of Rasasfa” (July 1961).

Andrew M. Andrews