Review & Contest: AFTER, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling strike out into the young adult field of science fiction with their new anthology that tackles the question: “What happens AFTER the event that breaks down society?” The anthology’s contributing authors explore how humanity has survived and made sense of a world that has lost itself to chaos and madness. Where do we find love? Security? Safety? Hope? Friendship? AFTER looks into all of these things and more with a creative selection of  19 young adult stories of apocalypse and dystopia from some of the top names in the science fiction world.

As usual with most anthologies that are edited by either Ellen Datlow or Terri Windling, there is very little to complain about in regard to the quality and consistency of the stories they have chosen. Every story is solid, featuring compelling situations and characters that will quickly draw you into their chaotic worlds. These two editors know their business.

As with all anthologies, readers will like some stories more than others. For example, some people might find Gregory Maguire’s “How Th’irth Wint Rong by Hapless Joey”, which is technically brilliant, a little difficult to read because you have to train yourself on the fly to read phonetically. Then there are stories like “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis that will hook you with her chilling tale of humanity’s survival upon the spaceship Godspeed and the unique system they have set in place to keep the people safe. “Valedictorian” by N. K. Jemisin shows us a future world in which a young girl struggles against a society of mediocrity in order to stick to her principles despite what it may mean for herself and those she loves. And then we have Steven Gould’s “Rust With Wings”. Oh, dear, Mr. Gould! Now, here’s a story that will tempt you to consider investing in a case of nuclear strength Off to fend off the bugs and creepy-crawlies as he whisks us into a not-so-far-off future that feels much too possible for my liking.

As good as these stories are, the “Introduction” and “Afterword” are both equally compelling for different reasons. Not only do you get a glimpse into the thinking of the editors as they developed and built this anthology, searching for stories of human survival in grim new futures, but you also get a chance to read about the history of young adult dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. That’s definitely something new.

It’s a pleasure to find an anthology like AFTER because it challenges your expectations of what could happen after the world comes crashing down and leaves you wanting more. I for one am glad to see a top quality science fiction anthology for young adults hit the shelves. AFTER is a wonderful new addition to the growing genre.


AFTER: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

Enter for your chance to win a copy of After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia by posting a note in the comments below by midnight (Pacific Time) on Saturday, October 20th. One entry per person.

**You can get a double entry by posting the link for this contest on your blog, Facebook page, in Twitter, or somewhere else. Then, mention in the comments below that you “boosted the signal” and your one entry counts as two entries – doubling your chances to win.**

The contest is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email for mailing instructions. If you are under 17, please get your parent’s permission to enter this contest.

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
This entry was posted in Books and Literature, Contest, Reviews, Science Fiction, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Review & Contest: AFTER, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

  1. sarahhans says:

    Great review! I retweeted Ellen Datlow’s tweet about the contest so hopefully this counts as two entries. 🙂

  2. Definitely want to read this one (and even more so after reading this review). I’ve enjoyed various YA dystopia/post-apocalyptic books, but as a writer myself I know sometimes short stories can take risks that novels can’t, so I’m curious to see what fresh takes these authors might have. Keeping my fingers crossed for the giveaway…

  3. Sounds great, looking forward to another great anthology. And that’s one beautiful cover. Boosted the signal (on Twitter, @daukherville).

  4. Elaine Lamkin says:

    Looks like another winner from Datlow & Windling. Boosted the signal on Facebook.

  5. blugilliand says:

    These editors deliver on a consistent basis – no reason this one should be any different!

  6. Jordan LaRue says:

    This book definitely strikes interest! Boosted the signal on Facebook.

  7. Erin, there’s no link in your review to where we can get a copy of the book. That is a great author lineup!

  8. John Kwok says:

    Great review, thanks for writing it. I shared this over at FB, so I hope this counts as two entries.

  9. Karl Dandenell says:

    Always happy to see new work from Ellen Datlow!

  10. Cary Meriwether says:

    Another great book from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Lot’s of outstanding stories.

  11. Happy to help boost the signal! Looks like a great read!

  12. Happy to boost the signal! Link off to FB at once…

  13. Looking forward to reading this….

  14. Oh, good. I’m on the east coast and it’s still before midnight where you are. 🙂 Boosting the signal by tweeting. (@KaaSerpent)

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