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Embark on Voyages of Imagination and Wonder. Discover the new visionaries of imagination. Experience the thrills, laughs, heartbreak and tears that can all be found in this fabulous new anthology. We’ve scoured the globe to find the most powerful new writers, and then paired them with the most gifted new illustrators to bring you L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Futu Embark on Voyages of Imagination and Wonder. Discover the new visionaries of imagination. Experience the thrills, laughs, heartbreak and tears that can all be found in this fabulous new anthology. We’ve scoured the globe to find the most powerful new writers, and then paired them with the most gifted new illustrators to bring you L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XXX.


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Embark on Voyages of Imagination and Wonder. Discover the new visionaries of imagination. Experience the thrills, laughs, heartbreak and tears that can all be found in this fabulous new anthology. We’ve scoured the globe to find the most powerful new writers, and then paired them with the most gifted new illustrators to bring you L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Futu Embark on Voyages of Imagination and Wonder. Discover the new visionaries of imagination. Experience the thrills, laughs, heartbreak and tears that can all be found in this fabulous new anthology. We’ve scoured the globe to find the most powerful new writers, and then paired them with the most gifted new illustrators to bring you L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XXX.

30 review for L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30

  1. 5 out of 5

    megHan

    I have loved science fiction since I was little, sitting next to dad watching Star Trek episodes on TV. So when this book came across my desk, I decided to give it a read. It is really a great read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading different kinds of science fiction. Each author - and each story - are very different and the artwork that the illustrators did were beautiful. What an awesome idea to put all of these together every year, giving these authors the opportunity to get thei I have loved science fiction since I was little, sitting next to dad watching Star Trek episodes on TV. So when this book came across my desk, I decided to give it a read. It is really a great read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading different kinds of science fiction. Each author - and each story - are very different and the artwork that the illustrators did were beautiful. What an awesome idea to put all of these together every year, giving these authors the opportunity to get their stories out there. And, considering this is number thirty, I have a lot of back reading to do. :) Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. No other consideration was offered, expected or received.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Juliet

    This was a great collection! Very original stories from authors with a diverse range of imagination. There was great zombie story by Orson Scott Card and a robot story from Mike Resnick. There was such a wide variety of stories, it is difficult to descirbe the book susinctly! But I can say, that each story grabbed me from the get go, and I did not want to put it down until I finished it. Great read. Good luck to this year's winners. The future of Science Fiction and Fantasy is certainly bright! This was a great collection! Very original stories from authors with a diverse range of imagination. There was great zombie story by Orson Scott Card and a robot story from Mike Resnick. There was such a wide variety of stories, it is difficult to descirbe the book susinctly! But I can say, that each story grabbed me from the get go, and I did not want to put it down until I finished it. Great read. Good luck to this year's winners. The future of Science Fiction and Fantasy is certainly bright!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The Writers of the Future contest is held in high regard within the SFF field, largely because of the many fine writers who have had a boost to their early careers through it and the prominence of the judges (and despite its association with L. Ron Hubbard, of which more later). This volume contains some excellently-written stories, some of which weren't to my taste but were well done anyway. I'll go through t I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The Writers of the Future contest is held in high regard within the SFF field, largely because of the many fine writers who have had a boost to their early careers through it and the prominence of the judges (and despite its association with L. Ron Hubbard, of which more later). This volume contains some excellently-written stories, some of which weren't to my taste but were well done anyway. I'll go through the contents in detail. We start with pages and pages of boosterism from past winners, judges etc., which I skipped. Dave Wolverton's introduction can probably be skipped, too, as it just says how good it is to be a judge and how great the stories are. Each writer, including the editor and the other non-contestant contributors, is introduced with a long biography, written in the first person but clearly by the writer in most cases. Likewise, the illustrators get a similar introduction - they are competitors in the parallel Illustrators of the Future contest. "Another Range of Mountains" by Megan E. O'Keefe is the first story, a moving tale of a woman who can scry using any reflective surface and see what it has reflected in the past. She's on the run, and gradually we find out why. This kind of gradual reveal is a feature of several of the stories in the collection, and works well to sustain reader interest. In this case, the crumbs of revelation are doled out between character action, which also keeps it interesting. A couple of issues, though: sometimes I couldn't figure out who was speaking (easily fixed with more dialog tags), and the author uses "leech" when she means "leach". "Shifter" by Paul Eckheart surprised me with its ending. In fact, it surprised me with its everything. I was unclear on why someone who could become anyone he/she could imagine would become a poor black kid living in a housing project, though. Possibly to hide, though, if so, it wasn't clear from who or what. This one included the word "base" when it should have been "bass". "Beneath the Surface of Two Kills" by Shauna O'Meara impressed me with its parallelism between two stories of hunting, one by a nature lover and one by a murderous stalker. It's another "gradual reveal" story, but the parallelism strengthens the gradual reveal even more. "Artistic Presention" by L. Ron Hubbard is an odd piece, preceded by an odd and laudatory biography which presents Hubbard as being known "primarily as a writer", which isn't, of course, the case. The oddness of the piece appears in leaps of logic, and in sentences like "The less effort a person can confront, the more effect of effort he becomes," which may contain some sort of transcription error or could just be the kind of deliberately confusing sentence one finds in cult literature. (The piece's origin isn't mentioned, but I suspect Dianetics.) It's followed by a Hubbard short story from 1950, "Beyond All Weapons". Now, from the viewpoint of the organisation that funds it, which owns the copyrights to Hubbard's works, the main purpose of the Writers of the Future contest is presumably to promote the Hubbard name. I'd suggest that this might be better served by not republishing pieces like this. I haven't read any other Hubbard, so I can't comment on his work overall, but this piece is an average story for 1950, on the cusp of the post-pulp era, at a time when other writers like C.L. Moore and Murray Leinster were already writing much deeper, more thoughtful stuff. There's a lot of "tell" and very little "show", the characters lack any depth and are mainly there to explain the ideas, there's casual sexism baked right in, and in short it's a fairly typical pulp story. The introduction makes much of the fact that it's the first fictional use of Einstein's time-dilation theory, so I suppose that somewhat invalidates my other criticism, that the story can only occur because the characters are monumentally ignorant of this now-well-known phenomenon. Among the fine contemporary stories in this volume, though, this piece looks like a rusty 1950s tractor set next to the latest in agricultural machinery. "Animal" by Terry Madden is somewhat dystopian and, in a way, technopessimist, which isn't to my personal taste, but it's a fair enough exploration of the closeness of animal and human species and the importance of being able to interact with them. "Rainbows for Other Days" by C. Stuart Hardwick is post-apocalyptic, again not a genre I enjoy, and also tragic. Setting aside the fact that I didn't care for it, it's well done. "Giants at the End of the World" by Leena Likitalo was the first story in the volume that really got me comparing it to Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. It outlines a difficult journey ending in a realisation, which is a rather literal and linear use of the journey metaphor, and the realisation/resolution doesn't come for the viewpoint character but for another. This seldom works. "...And Now Thirty" by contest judge Robert Silverberg is a reflection on the anthology series, including extensive quotations from Silverberg's similar pieces in earlier volumes. It includes a good bit of praise of L. Ron Hubbard and an extended section on how contest winners have gone on to great things. "Carousel" by contest judge Orson Scott Card is a strange magical-realist story about what happens when the dead are resurrected and left on earth to interact with their families, but without passions or desires. It's not a good thing. The protagonist convinces God (who he accuses of having a "limited skill set") to try a different approach. There's an odd typo: "L. Ron" for "ticket". "The Clouds in Her Eyes" by Liz Colter is another piece that seems to be techno-pessimistic, if I'm correct in interpreting the electricity-producing grubs as a metaphor of technology destroying the climate. It also involves a Chosen One, and a magical-realist ship sailing above the land, one that only the Chosen One can see. Again, not to my taste. "What Moves the Sun and Other Stars" by K.C. Norton tells of a rescue from a bizarre prison comet. It's a traditional adventure story in structure, dressed in strange clothing, though it does explore (or at least raise) ideas of machine intelligence and emotion. The cyborg narrator is a bit inclined to hyperbole, describing a thousand years variously as "a hundred generations" and "a star's age". There's also the typo "a little father" for "a little further". "Long Jump" by Oleg Kazantsev is another techno-pessimist tragedy that I disliked enough not to care how good it was. "These Walls of Despair" by Anaea Lay, despite the title, is a much more hopeful story, complex, raising moral and ethical questions about emotion and its manipulation from its natural course. The idea of a profession of emotion chemists was well thought of and well handled. "Synaptic Soup" by Val Lakey Lindahn is a short piece by an Illustrators of the Future judge, similar to Silverberg's in many ways. "Robots Don't Cry" by Mike Resnick shows a master at work, one of the contest judges exhibiting the facility at taking readers on an emotional journey that has made him the most awarded person in history for short fiction. "The Shaadi Exile" by Amanda Forrest starts with the premise of Indian brides sent by (relativistic, time-dilating) wormholes to other planets for arranged marriages and builds a beautiful human story around it. "The Pushbike Legion" by Timothy Jordan is that rare thing, a post-apocalyptic story that I don't dislike. Perhaps it's the Britishness of it, combined with the hopeful ending. "Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask" by Randy Henderson posits memory-transfer technology that enables knowledge to be passed - or rather moved - from one generation to the next. It works well enough as a story, but I felt there were better stories in the volume. (Edit: Clearly, the judges disagreed, because I've just learned that this story won the contest.) "A Word on the Art Direction" by Stephen Hickman, contest judge for Illustrators of the Future, is brief, but could be omitted without loss. "The Year in the Contests" talks about how many past WOTF alumni did well in 2013. Then we close with the rules of the contests and a couple of ads, one for the "towering masterwork of science fiction adventure" Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, and one for a multi-volume deal on WOTF collections. Overall, I enjoyed most of these stories, and I certainly learned something. They are stories of intimate human lives which focus on things of deep emotional importance, and the slow-reveal and parallelism techniques are ones I want to try in my own stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Caldwell

    I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads. This collection represents the 30th year of the L.Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest (and the 25th year for the Illustrators of the Future Contest). It comprises the 3 winners of each quarter and the grand prize winner of the year. In addition to these 13 stories. it also has bonus stories from Orson Scott Card, Mike Resnick, and L.Ron Hubbard and 3 essays on writing and illustrating. Of course all of the stories are illustrated by the winners of the i I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads. This collection represents the 30th year of the L.Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest (and the 25th year for the Illustrators of the Future Contest). It comprises the 3 winners of each quarter and the grand prize winner of the year. In addition to these 13 stories. it also has bonus stories from Orson Scott Card, Mike Resnick, and L.Ron Hubbard and 3 essays on writing and illustrating. Of course all of the stories are illustrated by the winners of the illustrators portion of the contest. For me, it is always a challenge to review a collection of short stories especially by multiple authors. Usually I try to give each story a rough rating in my head and then average those ratings and throw in a few other factors to come up with an overall rating.This collection throws a small twist into the works for me. When I read, I am looking to entertain myself. This means I am looking for something fun to read. While not always, that also means a lot of what I read is not considered "great literature", but it is usually a fun ride anyway. A (hopefully brief) comment on my take of literature. Most writing seems to fall into one of three major classes. Those are literature, writing for the masses, and trash. Trash is simply things that should never have been printed for any number of reasons ranging from simply being horrible, subject matter ( such as hate filled propaganda), to not following any of the rules of the written language. Enough said about that and we will ignore it for the rest of this comment. Writings for the masses is the largest category. It is those stories written to entertain, pure and simple. It doesn't have to have any social commentary or deeper meaning. It can just be a story about bunnies. Finally, there is literature. it is those stories that have meaning usually and make you sit down and think. It is those stories that critics love to critique. It is those stories they make you read and discuss while you are in school (or if you join most reading groups). Can something be both written for the masses and literature? Of course. Shakespeare was written to entertain the masses and is considered great literature as well. (Well I guess it wasn't too brief after all.) Looking at these stories, I had to ask myself where they fell in my take of writing. They have traits for both writing for the masses and literature but I have to put them closer to the literature category for me. They are all fairly serious and tend to make a point about some aspect of society. This makes sense when you think about it. They were entries into a contest to see how good of a writer you might be. So, naturally, they wanted to be taken seriously and therefore wrote serious stories. It always seems that humor and lightheartedness never fair well in contests or with critics. (I guess that is why I prefer to be a reviewer instead of a judge or a critic.) It also seems to me that "new" authors (they are only new in the fact that we haven't heard form them since most have been writing for most of their lives) tend to be more serious in their writing. It is the more established writers that can get away with writing something silly. So using my "literature" guidelines, let's look at this collection. Are the stories good? Of course they are. They won out of hundreds of entries. Do they make a worthy comment on some aspect of society? Again, I would say yes. Are they worthy of being discussed? You betcha. Are these artists (and illustrators) worth watching for in the future? I think so. (Just ignore those already established authors. You already know they are good.)So is this a successful collection? Totally. So why doesn't it have a big ol' five rating? It all comes down to one simple fact. While the stories are excellent, they lacked one thing for me. Call it joy, sense of fun, or lightheartedness. These stories are all very serious and just a little bit of a downer for the most part. It tends to make me want to put the book down and go play with my dog. Life is serious but there is a sense of hope and wonder that keeps it from becoming too depressing. It is worth noting that the story that I felt did include this missing element was The Pushbike Legion by Timothy Jordan. Since this was the grand prize winner, maybe the judges agree with me (just a little). This is not to say that the other contest winners can't do this. I just feel it is something with which they will have to develop as they continue writing. (Look at the stories of the established writers and see the subtle difference.) So for all of you who have stuck with me through this long and rambling review, pick up this collection. You will get to have some of the earliest stories of writers that will continue to put out some great stories in the future. But you might want to keep this book on your nightstand and read a story just now and then. Keep something lighter to break up the serious nature of the collection.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tabby Shiflett

    4.5 Stars A great compilation of speculative fiction by new (or newer) Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers. The short stories included are wonderful and remind me so much of pulp magazine stories from a bygone era. The readers will be thinking about some of these novellas long after they have finished the book. Although all the works are creative, moving, and well-written, I really enjoyed Rainbows for Other Days, Robots Don't Cry, The Shaadi Exile, The Pushbike Legion, and Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask. Th 4.5 Stars A great compilation of speculative fiction by new (or newer) Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers. The short stories included are wonderful and remind me so much of pulp magazine stories from a bygone era. The readers will be thinking about some of these novellas long after they have finished the book. Although all the works are creative, moving, and well-written, I really enjoyed Rainbows for Other Days, Robots Don't Cry, The Shaadi Exile, The Pushbike Legion, and Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask. The illustrations are as imaginative as the stories! But I particularly love the illustrations for Shifter, Giants at the End of the World, and Andrew Sonea's work. The collection also includes works by L. Ron Hubbard and Orson Scott Card. For Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans! LT Early Reviewer

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton

    The thing about I like about short stories is that you don't have to commit much to get a certain amount of satisfaction. Any novel worth reading will spend a certain portion of time introducing conflict, stringing together a plot, creating characters and relationships, and, if were in science fiction or fantasy, building a world. After all, in these genres, the world is as much a character as the characters all. It's what makes science fiction different from science fact. With a short story, you The thing about I like about short stories is that you don't have to commit much to get a certain amount of satisfaction. Any novel worth reading will spend a certain portion of time introducing conflict, stringing together a plot, creating characters and relationships, and, if were in science fiction or fantasy, building a world. After all, in these genres, the world is as much a character as the characters all. It's what makes science fiction different from science fact. With a short story, you've got anywhere from 3,500 words to up to maybe 30,000 to build that world, create conflict and tension, introduce empathetic characters, spin a plot, and tie it all up. Done well, it can be as satisfying as a full novel, albeit with less depth and, of course, far less commitment. With Writers of the Future Volume 30, edited by Dave Wolverton, you can count on a full slate of fulfilling stories, each crafted with a deft touch to provide a full and satisfying meal of a story. Comparing it with even last year's crop (which I also reviewed), it's a truly excellent group of writers that the contest has discovered. A caveat, though: don't open the collection of twenty short stories and essays with your expectations set. Book marketing departments may craft covers to help reader predictions, but nothing can prepare you for each story. And, in a sense, that's refreshing. Too many of us go to the writers and genres that we like, whether it's selections from military scifi like David Weber's Honorverse, epic fantasy like Patrick Rothfuss's or Brandon Sanderson's thousand page tomes, or the urban fantasy of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. As readers, we tend to find what we like, devour it, and then cast about for more by the same author or in the same world or universe. Even better if it's the same characters. We get to escape a little longer with the characters we know. Short stories, especially in a collection such as L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future offers no such comfort or safe harbor. You will be constantly facing new situations, new worlds, new characters, and--here's the clincher--new writers. And you should embrace them all. They're the future of science fiction and fantasy. In "Animal" by Terry Madden, you'll find a dystopian future where humanity has pushed all wildlife into human controlled preserves underground, where a child is so valuable that a would be mother will risk everything to have one. Megan O'Keefe's "Another Range of Mountains" and Paul Eckheart's "Shifter" both introduce systems of magic as clever as anything out of Sanderson's Cosmere, and including twists just as fulfilling and heart wrenching. "Rainbows for Other Days" by C. Stuart Hardwick asks what it means to be human, examining how losing our natural world, and becoming transhuman, might wreck damages on our humanity that we would rather die than give up. One author from whom I expect a lot more from, because of how well the story seemed to shadow so much more to come, is Leena Likitalo. The Finnish author's "Giants at the End of the World" allegedly has a whole novel beyond the short story, somewhere, and I would love to see it in print. If anyone from Tor, Baen, or Orbit is reading this, please pick it up. "Long Jump" is a dark trip down the rabbit hole of virtual reality, space travel, and the end of the world, and Oleg Kazantsev absolutely nails it, giving me chills that made me want to go outside, roll on the grass, and soak up the smells of the real world. One of my favorites was "The Shaadi Exile" for author Amanda Forrest's protagonist, Daliya, the emissary of a wife to her future husband in a universe where marriages between people light years apart are arranged decades before either spouse meets. There are more, including a clever tale by the legendary Orson Scott Card, called "Carousel," another, "Beyond All Weapons," by L.Ron Hubbard. Each is worth the experience, a trip to another universe and a glimpse at some writers who may just be the future of science fiction and fantasy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teressa Morris

    Last year, I was given the opportunity to review Writers of the Future Volume 28 and Volume 29.  I loved them both so much!!  I was beyond excited when I was asked to review this year's edition, Volume 30. As usual, the stories were all first-rate.  My favorites from the contest winners were Animal by Terry Madden, about the last zoo in the world, and The Shaadi Exhile by Amanda Forest.  How would the concept of an arranged marriage work over light years? In addition, there was another batch of i Last year, I was given the opportunity to review Writers of the Future Volume 28 and Volume 29.  I loved them both so much!!  I was beyond excited when I was asked to review this year's edition, Volume 30. As usual, the stories were all first-rate.  My favorites from the contest winners were Animal by Terry Madden, about the last zoo in the world, and The Shaadi Exhile by Amanda Forest.  How would the concept of an arranged marriage work over light years? In addition, there was another batch of insightful articles about writing and illustrating from some of the greatest in the business.  The essay Synaptic Soup by Val Lakey Lindahn, an illustrator of over 40 years, who was born blind, was awe inspiring. And, of course, there were a few choice stories from some of my all time favorite authors.  Beyond All Weapons by L. Ron Hubbard, was first published in the January 1950 issue of Super Science Stories.  This story, about the losers of an interplanetary war, has a jaw dropping twist, that will leave you thinking.  Carousel by Orson Scott Card, tells the story of a world where the dead refuse to leave. How do the living go about their daily lives if the dead keep getting in the way? This year, the anthology is available in e-reader versions and trade paperback.  The added bonus this year is that in addition to the black and white illustrations that accompany each story, there are also full color versions in the back of the book (of course, you'll need a color e-reader to experience this). I give Writers of the Future Volume 30 four and a half stars!!!  It's an awesome romp through the width and breadth of historic and current science fiction and fantasy. I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Deming

    This is a superb anthology. There are a lot of humanistic and environmental themes in this Writer's of the Future Volume 30. I drove a taxi for years and Orsen Scott Card's CAROUSEL, a special feature story from one of the judges, can be read for enjoyment or read on a broader analogy of 'disenfranchisement.' The attitudes and drama of his formerly living resurrected ghost people seem to match quite closely if not exactly attitudinally those living but disenfranchised by such social disruptions as This is a superb anthology. There are a lot of humanistic and environmental themes in this Writer's of the Future Volume 30. I drove a taxi for years and Orsen Scott Card's CAROUSEL, a special feature story from one of the judges, can be read for enjoyment or read on a broader analogy of 'disenfranchisement.' The attitudes and drama of his formerly living resurrected ghost people seem to match quite closely if not exactly attitudinally those living but disenfranchised by such social disruptions as drugs or welfare and our mostly failing social programs. Somewhat lost individuals that are alive but cut off from true enjoyable living and participation. If you don't wish to get all that 'realistic' about situtations you can certainly just read it and have fun and wonder why it is so intriguing. The story ANIMAL by Terry Madden is a bold undesirable futuristic vision of how mad things could get if we do not care for what we have in our natural and wild Kingdom and if perhaps our genetic Scientist move forward with no thought of what might occur without giving thought to consequences. Timothy Jordan's THE PUSHBIKE LEGION was a favorite with it's subtle magical surprises perhaps in a similar style to Ray Bradbury in his use of metaphor. A fine story. A unique story. There is so much in this volume. Great collection every story has merit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Writers of the Future is a great collection of very promising writers and artists. I enjoyed most of the stories a lot. I'm not really into hard core science fiction so I couldn't really get into some of the darker sci-fi. I figured it would be best for me to give a 1-5 star rating of the individual stories. "Another Range of Mountains", by Megan E. O'Keefe ***** "Shifter", by Paul Eckheart ** "Beneath the Surface of Two Kills", by Shauna O'Meara ** "Animal", by Terry Madden ***** "Rainbows for Other Writers of the Future is a great collection of very promising writers and artists. I enjoyed most of the stories a lot. I'm not really into hard core science fiction so I couldn't really get into some of the darker sci-fi. I figured it would be best for me to give a 1-5 star rating of the individual stories. "Another Range of Mountains", by Megan E. O'Keefe ***** "Shifter", by Paul Eckheart ** "Beneath the Surface of Two Kills", by Shauna O'Meara ** "Animal", by Terry Madden ***** "Rainbows for Other Days", by C. Stuart Hardwick ***** "Giants at the End of the World", by Leena Likitalo ***** "The Clouds in Her Eyes", by Liz Colter *** "What Moves the Sun and Other Stars", by K.C. Norton **** "Long Jump", by Oleg Kazantsev *** "These Walls of Despair", by Anaea Lay *** "The Shaadi Exile", by Amanda Forrest **** "The Pushbike Legion", by Timothy Jordan ***** "Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask", by Randy Henderson ****

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I received a copy of this book Free from the Good-Reads First-Reads program. I loved this book!! This is the first Science Fiction book that I have ever read and I honestly couldn't get enough. Every story took me on a new adventure with new characters. I simply could not stop reading! The two stories that stand out for me are Long Jump by Oleg Kazantsev and Robots Don't Cry by Mike Resnick. However, all the stories are fantastic and I cannot wait to read more Sci-Fi!! I think Orson Scott Card s I received a copy of this book Free from the Good-Reads First-Reads program. I loved this book!! This is the first Science Fiction book that I have ever read and I honestly couldn't get enough. Every story took me on a new adventure with new characters. I simply could not stop reading! The two stories that stand out for me are Long Jump by Oleg Kazantsev and Robots Don't Cry by Mike Resnick. However, all the stories are fantastic and I cannot wait to read more Sci-Fi!! I think Orson Scott Card said it best about these books "Keep The Writers of the Future going. It's what keeps Sci-Fi alive."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lesa Neace

    I've been reading the Writers of the Future anthologies for many years. This one did not disappoint. Though the quality of the stories do vary (as it does in any anthology pursuant to each reader’s personal taste) this is a solid entry in the series. As these stories are by mostly new authors we can also look forward to more to come. I've been reading the Writers of the Future anthologies for many years. This one did not disappoint. Though the quality of the stories do vary (as it does in any anthology pursuant to each reader’s personal taste) this is a solid entry in the series. As these stories are by mostly new authors we can also look forward to more to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Fisk

    Originally published on Tales to Tide You Over As with any collection, there were stories here that worked better for me than others, but all of them had some aspect that appealed. It was an overall strong grouping with a few exceptional ones. Collections are difficult to review as a whole, so I’ll just put my reactions to the stories below. I only commented on one of the essays, but the personal narratives of those involved in the contest were interesting to read. You will note that I don’t comm Originally published on Tales to Tide You Over As with any collection, there were stories here that worked better for me than others, but all of them had some aspect that appealed. It was an overall strong grouping with a few exceptional ones. Collections are difficult to review as a whole, so I’ll just put my reactions to the stories below. I only commented on one of the essays, but the personal narratives of those involved in the contest were interesting to read. You will note that I don’t comment on the illustrations. While I enjoyed most of them, I didn’t feel I could rightly comment when I was seeing the scaled down, black and white versions as I read this as an eBook on my Kindle. I found the choice to put the teasers way in the front of the book interesting, but the technique didn’t work for me as the tentative interest had disappeared by the time I read through the extra material of the introduction. This didn’t mean I stopped reading, but it did mean I did not read with anticipation for any particular story. The book starts out strong with: Another Range of Mountains written by Megan E. O’Keefe illustrated by Sarah Webb I am about the worst reader for this type of story. Not only did I correctly identify the beginning as a bridging sequence, but the solution was well seeded so I knew the answer to both story questions long before they were revealed in the text. So why do I call it a strong start? Simply because the story, revealed early or not, is powerful and the characters are compelling. It also offers an interesting talent put to good use and crucial to the tale that unfolds. It’s hard to surprise me without cheating, but it’s also hard to keep me interested once I’ve figured everything out. This story succeeded. Shifter written by Paul Eckheart illustrated by Michael Talbot This was the oddest little story and there were several points when I almost walked away. Almost. That’s the key word. This is definitely a nontraditional narrative, but there is an underlying plot beneath the events and a very bizarre unique element that is story critical. I wasn’t sure I like the ending until I reached the end. And then I did. Beneath the Surface of Two Kills written by Shauna O’Meara illustrated by Cassandre Bolan I didn’t exactly like the end of this story, but the rest had me enraptured. Either of the two twined plots would not have engaged me, but the evocative writing and the parallels drawn between the two stories were painful in their appropriateness. Artistic Presentation by L. Ron Hubbard Can’t say I agree with the pointed fingers in this essay, but the concept is quite telling. The more people work hard in order to do nothing, the less they engage with life. I’ll bet he would have loved the growing do-it-yourself movement while 3-D printers epitomize the automation that assists great effort rather than replacing it. Beyond All Weapons written by L. Ron Hubbard illustrated by Adam Brewster It’s hard sometimes to read the older stories for me. There are stylistic differences with the tale told more than shown, but it’s the social assumptions that are worse. He’d never done any reading on pioneer women clearly with the assumption that they’d keel over and die without enough male technicians. You need one to train the rest. However, what is more interesting to me is how the story lost its rudder because of the change in common knowledge and became a story of the captain’s arrogance and ignorance rather than a dawning comprehension of time dilation, something that’s common now. When it was read originally, not knowing that element would have left everything building in anticipation denied. Animal written by Terry Madden illustrated by Seonhee Lim Loved the ending. I didn’t expect it, but it was grounded when it came. The story is poignant and hits home. Rainbows for Other Days written by C. Stuart Hardwick illustrated by Andrew Sonea Interesting choice to have this follow after the previous story. The two stories explore the same theme from opposite angles. This one is evocative and poignant as it explores the consequences and costs of humanity’s choices. Giants at the End of the World written by Leena Likitalo illustrated by Trevor Smith This one is largely a mood piece. We’re given just enough to understand the world and enough to recognize what drives the characters. There isn’t a big moment, no huge fanfare, but there’s a choice to be made. It’s a thinking story and good one at that. Carousel written by Orson Scott Card illustrated by Vincent-Michael Coviello This is a weird story, but in a neat way. Human desires are taken to their logical conclusion with interesting results. The Clouds in Her Eyes written by Liz Colter illustrated by Kirbi Fagan Another interesting but odd story. All writing advice says active characters, but many of these stories have neither. They focus more on mood and informing the reader of the state of the world. This one demonstrates both, showing a post-apocalyptic world, but one where a form of magic exists. What Moves the Sun and Other Stars written by K.C. Norton illustrated by Kristie Kim While I figured out the twist early on, watching the transition from apathy to hope to purpose was enjoyable. Long Jump written by Oleg Kazantsev illustrated by Adam Brewster Not every story is going to work for me and this one didn’t. It starts past the beginning then does a “four days earlier,” which I hate, and right about the time it started to get interesting, it ended. Clearly, others don’t feel the same. These Walls of Despair written by Anaea Lay illustrated by Bernardo Mota This is a weird disjointed story that is nevertheless compelling as it explores emotion and impact. Robots Don’t Cry written by Mike Resnick illustrated by Andrew Sonea A lovely story of a man learning what it is to love. The Shaadi Exile written by Amanda Forrest illustrated by Vincent-Michael Coviello This is an interesting concept. I found the twist a little too obvious, but liked the setup of the various cultures. The Pushbike Legion written by Timothy Jordan illustrated by Cassandre Bolan This is an odd tale and very slow in the telling, but underneath all that is a solid examination of people, progress, and consequences, so it’s worth sticking with the story. Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask written by Randy Henderson illustrated by Vanessa Golitz This story has everything I look for: a society at fault at the moment of change, and complacency not being all it seems. I enjoyed learning bit by bit about the people, and the solution felt solid. P.S. I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Writers of the Future is a contest for new or amateur writers of science fiction and fantasy. It’s an entirely legitimate contest – there’s no entrance fee, the prize money is good, and the judges are all professional writers, some of whom I’m already familiar with (Todd McCaffrey, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Orson Scott Card were among this issue’s judges). There’s also a parallel contest of Illustrators of the Future, the winners or which were included in this collection. My biggest umbrage is Writers of the Future is a contest for new or amateur writers of science fiction and fantasy. It’s an entirely legitimate contest – there’s no entrance fee, the prize money is good, and the judges are all professional writers, some of whom I’m already familiar with (Todd McCaffrey, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Orson Scott Card were among this issue’s judges). There’s also a parallel contest of Illustrators of the Future, the winners or which were included in this collection. My biggest umbrage is probably how the contest is used to promote Hubbard, the founder of the contest, who also founded Scientology. While I’m thankful that Scientology isn’t mentioned in relation to the contest, it is amusing how the contest material acts like he’s famous for being a science fiction writer and nothing else. I skipped all short stories that weren’t written by the contest winners. The contest functions on a quarterly system with four mini-type contests each year, the winners of which compete for the grand prize. The illustration contest functions in a similar manner, but the winning illustrators are assigned one of the winning short stories to illustrate. It’s these illustrations which compete for the illustration grand prize and that are included in the anthology (black and white with the stories, color inserts in the back of the book). As with all anthologies, the short stories were a mixed bag. There were some I really enjoyed, some that were okay, some that were plain strange, and some that just weren’t very good. The winning short stories were the following: “Another Range of Mountains” by Megan E. O’Keefe had an interesting, art based magic system. It was very good, although I didn’t feel the relationships worked that well. It’s hard to have strong relationships in short stories – there just isn’t enough page space. But in all, the story reminded me of The Emperor’s Soul, which is praise indeed. “Shifter” by Paul Eckheart had another interesting concept. The main character and his/her family members can change not only their bodies and appearances but their personalities as well. “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills” by Shauna O’Meara was okay. The premise is of a hunter going after a rare species that lives high in the mountains, because a murder requested it as his last meal and cannot be executed until he had it. I’d assumed that the hunter had some relationship to the victim (the story is a reflection on her death, and he says that he didn’t want to kill endangered animal), but it’s never actually mentioned. The entire plot falls apart if I think about it – the solution he reaches in the end should have occurred to him earlier. Then, there’s “Animal” by Terry Madden. I don’t really know what to make of this one. The idea is that most species have gone practically extinct, with a zoological center outside of Las Vegas holding the last elephants, gorillas, and such. But Las Vegas has grown, the land has gotten valuable, and the government decides to shut down the center and sell all the animals to high end restaurants. Then it gets weird. (view spoiler)[Apparently the government also has to issue you a license to have a kid, so a desperate worker at the center implants her fetus in a gorilla. She gets the kid for a few years before the government finds her (this is told to us near the end), but it gives the main character an idea. The story ends with her heading off to get a gorilla fetus implanted inside her. See what I mean by weird? (hide spoiler)] “Rainbows for Other Days”by C. Stuart Hardwick is about an android that serves as a sort of park ranger, looking after the wilderness, when he finds the stereotypical teenage girl who makes him question the world around him. It was a pretty standard story, not too much stood out about it. (view spoiler)[Except that in the end the android knew he would forget meeting her and the truths she’d revealed. Just like he forgets any disturbing events, because he’s programmed that way or something. (hide spoiler)] Like the last one, it had a pretty heavy environmental message. “Giants at the End of the World” by Leena Likitalo had good world building but bad characterization and plot. It’s really ham-fisted about the narrator’s “Incident in His Past.” Really, the first mention or two was enough to figure it out. It doesn’t need to be repeatedly brought up. The story also features a randomly rebellious, wide-eyed innocent teenage girl who decides to run away from home for no good reason. At least the illustration was pretty for this one, and as I said before, the world set up was interesting. “The Shaadi Exile” by Amanda Forrest focused on a system of arranged marriages between different planets. It was all right, but I don’t know what I think of the ending. “These Walls of Despair” by Anaea Lay was pretty interesting. The set up is a society where different emotions can be created or repressed chemically by specialists who mix them. The main character is challenged to find a recipe for despair. “Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask” by Randy Henderson felt like part of a larger story. The short story is centered around a twelve-year old boy who is hoping to inherit his grandfather’s memories. Apparently memories are very valuable and sought after in this world. “What Moves the Sun and Other Stars” by K.C. Norton was one of my favorites of the collection. I loved it mainly for the setting – a completely hopeless prison asteroid far from Earth inhabited by mutants and robots and strange and dangerous prison wardens. “The Clouds in Her Eyes” by Liz Colter was one of weakest stories of the collection. It didn’t feel like anything new – lonely farm girl discovers magical powers. I’ve seen that many times before. “Long Jump” by Oleg Kazantsev focused on a pilot trapped for eternity in a small spaceship with no hope of escape who becomes enmeshed in a virtual world. “The Pushbike Legion” by Timothy Jordan was the grand prize winner. It’s about this small English town that was surrounded by this giant desert many years ago. The residents eke out a living in their little bubble, but anything that crosses into the sand immediately dissolves into dust. The illustrations are absolutely amazing. They’re all completely gorgeous, especially the color versions included at the end. If you ever run into a copy of this collection, I’d suggest picking it up and at least flipping to the back to check out the artwork. Cross posted at The Illustrated Page.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dhara (dha.raiter)

    This is turning out to be my favorite series. I loved this volume as much as I loved the previous one. Because I finished this books more than 2 months ago, I don't quite remember all the stories, but the one with the robot story touched me the most. This is turning out to be my favorite series. I loved this volume as much as I loved the previous one. Because I finished this books more than 2 months ago, I don't quite remember all the stories, but the one with the robot story touched me the most.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is the first volume of Writers of the Future that I've ever read, and I have to say, it's a pretty solid collection. I hope all of them are this good. Another Range of Mountains by Megan E. O'Keefe (5/5) I enjoy all different kinds of short stories, but there are two particular flavors that I really fall for. The first are the kind that feel like modern fairy tales and trick you into thinking they were written long before they actually were. Strange, fragile things like The 13 Clocks by Jam This is the first volume of Writers of the Future that I've ever read, and I have to say, it's a pretty solid collection. I hope all of them are this good. Another Range of Mountains by Megan E. O'Keefe (5/5) I enjoy all different kinds of short stories, but there are two particular flavors that I really fall for. The first are the kind that feel like modern fairy tales and trick you into thinking they were written long before they actually were. Strange, fragile things like The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, Prismatica by Samuel R. Delaney, or Heart of Stone by Lawrence Watt-Evans. The second type is what this story is--essentially an epic fantasy novel, condensed down to it's shortest possible form. It gives us one main character, an interesting conflict, a simple but engrossing magic system, and enough touchstones to get a taste of the culture and setting. An incredibly impressive example of how to shove lots of character back story and lots of world building into few words and yet never have it feel like an info dump. Strong way to start an anthology. Shifter by Paul Eckheaert (4/5) Dopplegangers/shapeshifters are uncommon in fiction, but not so uncommon that I would say they are immune to cliche. Here the idea gets a nice face lift. The creatures here write down what they want to look like on a piece of paper. Doing this they are able to change their gender, appearance, and even personality as fast as they can write it down. Also they live forever. Some interesting plays on gender identity and parenthood result. Very unexpected ending. Beneath the Surface of Two Kills by Shauna O'Meara (5/5) A hunter in a world similar to ours but with strange creatures hunts the rarest and most valuable of all--not for money or fame, but to carry out a death row prisoner's last meal request. He knows the request is a stalling tactic, and he would see the man's heinous crimes punished sooner rather than later. Beyond All Weapons by L. Ron Hubbard (1/5) An L. Ron Hubbard scifi story from 1950. I very much doubt Hubbard meets the requirements of obscurity to qualify for Writers of the Future, but his name is on the book, he created the contest, and it's published by the Church of Scientology, so fuck me, right? It's an early scifi story with terrible prose, lifeless cardboard characters, and a twist ending I saw coming from light years away. Basically, it has all the problems that plague a lot of early pulp scifi, in that it succeeds almost entirely on the strength of its big ideas because everything else is complete garbage. Sixty years later, the strength of the ideas, assuming they were even strong at the time, is nonexistent because I've already seen it all before. It's old hat now. What's left just isn't worth reading. If you're not an OCD completionist like me, I'd strongly recommend skipping it. Animal by Terry Madden (5/5) A terrifying glimpse into an overcrowded future where zoos no longer exist, not because the animals are extinct, but because it's cheaper to keep their genetic material on ice than to keep living specimens, especially when people can just go on "virtual safaris" in the comfort of their own home. It's also a future where the human population is so large that it's too expensive to waste food on pets, so we no longer have pets. It's a future where you need a license to have a child. This one gave me heart palpitations, because I could see all of this happening easily. Mark my words, this story will be seen as prophetic one day. Rainbows for Other Days by C. Stuart Hardwick (5/5) A heart wrenching story about a cyborg whose programming doesn't allow him to feel his humanity fully, because he is set to watch over an Earth that is slowly recovering from human pollution and he needs to remain resolute in his duties. The only problem is, unlike in Wall-E, there are still some people on Earth, and they are kept confined in a concrete mega structure, away from nature, for both their protection and for the Earth's continued recovery. That is, until a little girl finds her way outside, and into the cyborg's life (and heart). Things don't end happily. Get your tissues ready. Giants at the End of the World by Leena Likitalo (3/5) A short, melancholy tale about a world on the brink of change. It's essentially a wild-west, manifest destiny situation, with railroad lines on the horizon, set to shake things up and change everything. Except there are giants, and camel-oxen. It's hard to say if this is another world entirely (perhaps a human colony), a post apocalypse Earth, or historical fantasy. You're given little info about the world and I felt myself starved for context the entire way. The giants are never given any depth beyond that they're giants and people are amazed at how big they are. This story could've been straight historical fiction about the early United States and lost nothing of value, because none of these fantastical elements have any impact on the story or characters. Still, the emotional journey of the two main characters is well done and the prose was decent. Carousel by Orson Scott Card (1/5) Oh boy, here we go. What's almost as bad as L. Ron Hubbard? If you answered Orson Scott Card, give yourself a cookie. I'm sure there's a Hubbard story in every one of these collections because why wouldn't there be, right? I hope the same isn't true of Card, though. There's only so much of these two I can take. This might be what finally breaks me of my OCD completionist tendencies. Basically, god resurrected everyone. People die, but they come back immediately. They don't eat anymore, or feel emotions, or care about much, but they're still them in a sense. I suppose the idea is that their soul doesn't come back with them and that this is what humans look like without a soul. Some guy's family all dies in a car crash, he hates that they're back but soulless and shitty, somehow winds up personally talking to god despite not being special or significant in any way, and god changes it back to how it used to be when people died for good. I guess nobody thought to lodge a complaint with god before this genius showed up. Or maybe this dude is the only one who has a problem with how things are, in which case good job deciding for everyone else on Earth. I found it to be overly spiritual, cheesy, and trying way too hard to seem profound when it is, in fact, the opposite. This is a story to send your churchgoing grandmother who reads Dean Koontz and Dan Brown all the time. That's literally the only demographic I can think of that would actually appreciate this. Even religious people my age would probably roll their eyes at this. The Clouds in Her Eyes by Liz Colter (2/5) This is a story I could've liked a lot more if there were more to it. Basically, we're treated to a dying world. Drought is widespread. There is no rain and no crops. People are forced to harvest these creatures called "sparksters," from the ground, which emit electricity and soak up water like a sponge. The electricity makes them dangerous to harvest, and the protagonist's mother and brother were both killed by them. They're begrudgingly eaten as food and used as the primary source of drinking water, which makes them pretty important. Our protagonist is a young girl who sees a flying ship slowly approaching her home over months that nobody else sees. When it gets close enough, the captain speaks to her, and basically says that her surname "storm-bringer," isn't just a title, and that she has the power to bring back the rain which will overwhelm the sparkster's ability to absorb water, drown them, and restore her dying world to its former glory. I like the dreamy, fantastical nature of it, but it just didn't dive deeply enough into anything. There's no compelling character drama, we get no information on what the sparksters actually are, or about the nature or history of the girl's powers. It seems to imply that the sparksters are the direct cause of the drought because of their sponge-like properties, and that the drought is relatively recent, meaning they were not always around. Where did they come from if they're not a native species? Are they aliens? An infestation from an isolated island, or uninhabited continent recently discovered? Why can our protagonist control the weather, and why does nobody know that except for invisible men sailing invisible sky ships? It felt like the weather powers and the sparksters were from two completely separate stories that were mashed into one, giving no time to fully develop either into something worthwhile. If nothing else, this story really drives home a piece of writing advice I've heard from several fantasy authors, which is that you should ideally only have one kind of magic or fantastical element in your story that is deeply elaborated on and expanded out into every aspect of society, rather than tons of cool magic and fantasy stuff that is only shallowly explored. What Moves the Sun and Other Stars by K.C. Norton (2/5) This is a confusing one. It took some time and some re-reading of passages to get any sort of grasp on what this story is trying to do, and it's a tenuous grasp at best. The first thing that threw me off is that it presents itself as science fiction. Our main character is a robot who has attained human level consciousness and has been stuck on a comet full of mutants and toxic rivers and other nasty stuff for a thousand years. Is the comet some long abandoned prison colony? A garbage dump for the unwanted? Who knows. For all intents and purposes it's simply hell. A human man by the name of "Pilgrim," who emits a glowing light finds our protagonist and says that it is special--the first robot to attain consciousness--and he has come to rescue it. He also has found a mutated bird creature that he's intent on escaping the comet with as well, and they run into some snags on the way to his bright, white, heavenly ship but eventually succeed in escaping. It seems to me that, despite the scifi trappings, this is really a modern allegory of sorts. Perhaps a religious one? The comet seems hell-like, the ship seems heaven-like, and Pilgrim seems, well, Christ-like. Is it actually trying to invoke The Wizard of Oz and The Pilgrim's Progress, or am I seeing literary allusions where there aren't any because I want so badly for all this nonsense to mean something? Like I said, my grasp on this is tenuous at best. The only thing I feel confident about is that it's not meant to be taken literally. What the underlying message is, though, I couldn't say. There are tidbits of several cliche messages to choose from. Hope conquers fear, persistence leads to success, your fate isn't determined by where you were born and who your parents are. It's kind of all over the goddamn place and overall I'm not too pleased with it. I finished it thinking a conversation with the author about what she was trying and failing to say would be far more interesting than actually reading the story was. Long Jump by Oleg Kazantsev (4/5) This a tough one to summarize as it deals with some heady metaphysical concepts and theoretical physics type stuff, but I will do my best. Far in the future mankind attempts to transport a man via faster than light travel. Things go wrong and a microscopic black hole is created just outside the solar system which is growing at a slow rate and will destroy the Earth in ten thousand years. The pilot is theorized to be trapped inside the black hole, stuck in heavily dilated time, unable to kill himself due to quantum immortality, literally waiting for the universe to die so that he can die as well. He is most likely insane. Our viewpoint character is an alcoholic pilot who knew the man that disappeared as he was involved in the first experiment. He gets forcibly recruited to be the second person to attempt the long jump. Humanity needs this to work now more than ever since the habitability of the solar system has an expiration date. Our guy has a VR simulation to give him human contact (and thus keep him sane) through virtual people called 'gestalts'. The experiment immediately goes wrong the same way the first one did, and the protagonist is trapped in isolation just as the previous test subject was, utterly alone, unable to die, a small capsule his entire universe. He retreats into virtual reality and runs into a traumatized gestalt of the previous pilot's girlfriend, whom he starts a years-long relationship with before she dies suddenly in an accident. He learns how to manipulate the code of the VR sim and bring her back to life. Problem is, she knows he did it and isn't happy about it. After killing herself and being revived multiple times, she eventually learns the full truth of what she is and begs to be left alone to die for good. This has a lot going for it. Like the best science fiction it uses futuristic ideas to tell a very human, character-centered story rather than blather on about abstract ideas and concepts while the characters remain cardboard cutouts. The idea of a fictional/virtual woman being created by a man's mind and then gaining sentience and free will and leaving him is always a fun one, and I was reminded of the movie 'Ruby Sparks,' which is a favorite of mine. The one thing that holds this back for me is that the whole faster-than-light travel and quantum immortality angle, although really cool, came across as superfluous. All this time was spent setting up this smart, deeply disturbing existential horror and then the story turns into a pretty typical tale of VR addiction that could have been on an episode of Star Trek or Stargate. The two ideas just weren't woven together very tightly. These Walls of Despair by Anaea Lay (5/5) This struck me as what would happen if you took China Mieville's writing and replaced all the nihilism, all the gross imagery, all the edginess with hope, beauty, and maturity. The pervasive weirdness and ambiguity are still there, but serve a different purpose. Our protagonist is something called a "sentimancer," which is basically an emotion chemist. He mixes emotions in vials in order to inject them into people for various purposes, such as getting them through a loss, or giving them the emotion they think would best serve them during a criminal trial. At the start of the story he is acting in the latter capacity, offering a prisoner awaiting trial his services, which she denies. She is, however, no ordinary criminal. She tried to end the world by waking up the creator god whose dreaming sustains their entire reality, and the short conversation our protagonist has with her drives him on a quest for answers about her motive and the nature of the world he lives in. This is a picture perfect example of how to pull off the sort of mystery and ambiguity that so, so many writers are clearly going for in their short stories, while leaving the reader satisfied instead of frustrated and confused. Masterfully done and certainly in contention for the best story of this collection. Synaptic Soup by Val Lakey Lindahn (1/5) Not a story. Rather a piece of non-fiction filler that is nothing but someone sucking the dick of the Writers of the Future contest and L. Ron Hubbard. It literally ends with the words, "His seed has spread to every corner of the world, and it is a better place for it." I think the people whose lives were ruined by scientology would beg to differ on that point, but whatever you say lady. Robots Don't Cry by Mike Resnick (2/5) A simplistic and cliche story about a robot nursemaid named Sammy who looked after a girl plagued by various diseases all her life. She eventually died in her 30s, alone, on a barren colony planet. Five hundred years later treasure hunters find Sammy, reactivate him, and are touched by the story of his loyalty and his simple request to be able to cry over the loss of his human. I don't know what it is, but every story they've included in this collection by already established authors fall incredibly flat. I was willing to cut Resnick some slack, assuming this story was written in the late 70s or 80s when this would've been less of a complete cliche, but it was actually written in 2004. So yeah, idk. It's not offensively bad or anything but there's just not much originality here, it's very bland and forgettable. The Shaadi Exile by Amanda Forrest (4/5) A touching, heartbreaking story of two women's experience within a culture of arranged marriage spread across light years, where you have to leave your entire family behind forever because decades will pass while you are travelling the stars to your new home and they might already be dead by the time you arrive. The Pushbike Legion by Timothy Jordan (4/5) A poignant and existentially haunting tale of nano-machines gone wrong. The infamous "grey goo" scenario. The entire world, or near enough, has been reduced to a desert of "dust" (nano-machines), except for a small bubble of civilization that has inexplicably been spared but is slowly running out of resources and people. Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask by Randy Henderson (5/5) This is a poignant, intelligently written tale of a society founded on the now familiar scifi concept of memory transfer technology. In a twist on inheritance cliches, our protagonist is a poor outsider waiting for his rich grandfather to determine which family members will get which of his memories before he dies, which seems will happen soon. He's a justice, and his memories of his law career are the most coveted, as they will theoretically lead to a lucrative career as a new justice for the recipient. It seems that nobody is willing to actually study law for themselves anymore when you can wait for a gift of your grandfather's memories. Little does anyone know, grandfather has secretly come to despise and disagree with this society's cruel, classist laws he helped uphold his entire life, which leads to him giving all his memories and possessions to his grandson, who he intentionally allowed to live isolated and in squalor in order to give him the right morality and empathy to drive him to change the system, much to the chagrin of his rich and entitled children. This was just so, so good, and touched on so many things. Classism, wealth inequality, entitlement, oligarchy, identity, family legacy, etc. Absolutely my favorite story in this collection, it blew me away.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Riley

    In 1983, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest to help discover and nurture aspiring new science fiction writers by giving them a workshop for developing their skills and the opportunity to be professionally published. Since then, it has expanded to include its companion contest, Illustrators of the Future, and an impressive list of well-known judges compiled throughout the years. This year’s Writers of the Future anthology marks the 30th year of the publication (the 25th year In 1983, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest to help discover and nurture aspiring new science fiction writers by giving them a workshop for developing their skills and the opportunity to be professionally published. Since then, it has expanded to include its companion contest, Illustrators of the Future, and an impressive list of well-known judges compiled throughout the years. This year’s Writers of the Future anthology marks the 30th year of the publication (the 25th year of Illustrators of the Future) and does well to show why it continues to thrive while other competitions have fallen to the wayside. I’ve been familiar with the Writers of the Future Contest for over 20 years. There was even a time, many moons ago, that I entered. Surprise, I didn’t win. My forte isn’t short stories, but I’ve enjoyed reading the anthologies, some more than others, and love looking at the illustrations. They even include short stories and thoughts on writing from well-known authors and illustrators. Of course, one of L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp fiction short stories is included, Beyond All Weapons the chosen story this year (if you remember, I reviewed the audio drama not too long ago). Plus, there are contributions from Mike Resnick, Val Lakey Lindahn, Robert Silverberg, and Orson Scott Card, who was honored this year at the awards ceremony. Perhaps, it’s a reflection of the world today or something the judges were going for, but many of the stories in volume 30 have common themes – characters trying to escape the guilt associated with a death in their past, the struggle to conserve humanity at the end of times, and machines trying to understand humans. Then again, one could say that these themes are to be expected in science fiction, but I found it interesting that they appeared so often. One of my favorites was actually the first story in the book, “Another Range of Mountains”. The main character, Lacra, is a mirrorpainter, someone who can pull moments in time, past images, from reflections – mirrors, water, glass, etc. She’s been called to a count’s home to help track down his kidnapped daughter, but she must navigate a city that fears her and her own strange past. She soon realizes that not everything is as it seems. The author, Megan O’Keefe, paints a colorful world and an interesting main character with a skill I’ve never had the pleasure to read before. Her descriptions made me feel like I was right there seeing what Lacra was seeing, and I know for certain I would buy a whole series featuring her. Also, I really like the illustration by Sarah Webb that accompanies this story. It tells a colorful story all by itself. My next favorite was “Long Jump” by Oleg Kazantsev. It basically asks the quest, “What happens when you stick a person in an experimental star craft with only an intelligent computer simulation to keep him company?” The story was a little hard to follow at first, but I loved where Kazantsey took it. He really delved deep and calculated in how a person’s histories and flaws could be reflected back on them. The computer’s response was enlightening, and I love when a story stretches the mind. Also, I liked the illustration by Adam Brewster that went with this story, especially the color version. Finally, I want to bring attention to Timothy Jordan’s “The Pushbike Legion”. When I started reading it, I really thought it was going to be a snorefest. It’s an end-of-times type story where a single town has been spared from a cataclysmic event. The town is surrounded by a desert that just appeared out of nowhere one day and anyone who tries to enter it turns to dust. The human race is dying off and there aren’t enough people with creative skills, like leather crafting and blacksmithing, so they just keep reusing resources until a simple bike chain is as valuable as gold. The collective mind of the town has degraded and many of the residents act like sheep following the flock. It got to be frustrating to read. It wasn’t until when one of the local farmers decided to recount the day the desert appeared did I start to actually get into it. Jordan takes the story into a whole direction I really didn’t see coming. The illustration by Cassandre Bolan that accompanies this story takes the image of the town to a whole new level. She definitely made the desert more dramatic than I first imagined it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Writers of the Future Volume 30. I had my doubts at times, but ended up pleasantly surprised. I recommend it to readers who like science fiction and fantasy, or stories that stretch the mind.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    I found it hard to try and write a review of Writer's of the Future, Vol. 30. Because books like these use stories from multiple authors, you cannot approach reviewing the book as you would if you were to review a novel written by a single person. Each writer has their own style of writing, each with their own pros and cons. The point of these anthologies is to give the reader a wide range of writers and give them a sampling of what type of stories are out there. In the case of Writers of the Fu I found it hard to try and write a review of Writer's of the Future, Vol. 30. Because books like these use stories from multiple authors, you cannot approach reviewing the book as you would if you were to review a novel written by a single person. Each writer has their own style of writing, each with their own pros and cons. The point of these anthologies is to give the reader a wide range of writers and give them a sampling of what type of stories are out there. In the case of Writers of the Future, they took the stories of the finalists in the competition of the same name, and show the world some of the best young fantasy and science fiction authors. I went into this anthology looking for stories that could "wow" me and cause me to really take a look at the authors. There were, indeed, a couple that stood out to me, but I had hoped for more. The editors presented 15 different authors, each with there own short story. Most of the stories ran around 20-30 pages and gave the authors a chance to quickly explore an idea while showcasing their writing. There was a good diversity of stories and plots, so it never felt like one was copying the other, either. There were a couple passages but L. Ron Hubbard, Orson Scott Card, and Mike Resnick, but they didn't feel all that special. I would have liked if they gave up that space to other new authors in the competition instead. On top of that, the sister competition, Illustrators of the Future, brought in their finalists to create illustrations for each short story. I found this a really cool way to merge both writing and art giving more people the opportunity to be put forth into the greater community. I'm not an art expert, but I really did enjoy each of the illustrations. There were a couple passages but L. Ron Hubbard, Orson Scott Card, and Mike Resnick, but they didn't feel all that special. I would have liked if they gave up that space to other new authors in the competition instead. Some of the favorite stories I found out of all of them were "Shifter" by Paul Eckheart and "Rainbows for Other Days" C. Stuart Hardwick. Personally, I really connected with those two the most. The first was really interesting in the way that Eckheart could switch narrative perspectives within a single character without losing track of what was happening. The premise of the book, the ability to morph into a different person by almost literally drawing yourself into their life, is really interesting and I love what he did with it. The latter was also an intriguing concept, but I took a liking to it for its strong message about protecting the environment. One of the essences of science fiction is that they give us a vision of the future and, quite frankly, Hardwick's depressing vision of the Earth seems eerily prophetic in the way we are going now. The other stories are good as well, but these stood out the most. Overall, I really liked Writer's of the Future, Vol. 30, both for the stories it provides and for the opportunity it gives these young new authors and illustrators. There were a couple authors who really stood out and I would definitely love to find more of their work. Not all the stories are on the same level and I had trouble connecting to a few of them. If you like science fiction and fantasy, this would definitely be a good book to buy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jaki

    This review and more at http://tangledbookmarks.com *I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I’ve mentioned before that anthologies by various authors can be a real hit’n’miss affair. You may find a couple of stories that you love, and the rest you hate. So how do you rate an anthology volume? Is finding three stories that you totally love and discovering new authors worth the book? Or d This review and more at http://tangledbookmarks.com *I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I’ve mentioned before that anthologies by various authors can be a real hit’n’miss affair. You may find a couple of stories that you love, and the rest you hate. So how do you rate an anthology volume? Is finding three stories that you totally love and discovering new authors worth the book? Or do you think that you must love 95% of the stories to find it worthy? Do you judge each story out of 5, then add them up and average it out? I’m never sure how to do it. In L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30, two stories stood out head and shoulders for me – funnily enough, they were the very first stories in the book. Those two stories have got me hunting down the authors looking for more of their work – and that, I have to say, would be worth the price of the book alone. Discovering two new authors I am unaware of, is what these anthologies are all about to me. There were other stories that I enjoyed, some I didn’t like at all (the L. Ron Hubbard pieces almost sent me to sleep), some gorgeous illustrations. But yes, those two stories made this book worth it. Another Range of Mountains by Megan O’Keefe is a cracker of a tale. A woman who can scry through reflective surfaces – mirrors, glass, water, the gleam of a lightshade. She’s running from something, a secret that is gradually revealed and breaks your heart. A fantasy tale, set in your typical medieval fantasy world. Grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go. Shifter by Paul Eckheart is the second tale. Wow. An amazing moving story of a family of “shifters” – who can write themselves into being. Good vs Evil. A strong tale that has me looking for this author, to see what else he has written. As I mentioned, the L. Ron Hubbards bits were just flat out dull and …well, felt “old”. I’m not a fan of his by any means, so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But I’m pretty sure they’ve snuck in a piece on Dianetics which had me rapidly flicking the pages to finish it. *yawn* The illustrations were for the most part, beautiful. As an artist myself, I do enjoy seeing them, and many of them also had me scouring the web looking for the artists. All in all, to me this book is worth it. Two superbly strong well-written tales that captured me, along with a smattering of other pieces I enjoyed, and this anthology is one that’ll go straight on the bookshelf.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    *free copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review* I believe this is the first time that I can honestly say that I enjoyed every story in a compilation book. My overall rating would be a 4 1/2 stars. Each author, new to the craft with a couple of notable exceptions, created future worlds wonderfully. They made me feel and breathe the worlds. If I hadn't know better I would have sworn they were veteran authors. I personally much prefer the trade paperback format the publisher has *free copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review* I believe this is the first time that I can honestly say that I enjoyed every story in a compilation book. My overall rating would be a 4 1/2 stars. Each author, new to the craft with a couple of notable exceptions, created future worlds wonderfully. They made me feel and breathe the worlds. If I hadn't know better I would have sworn they were veteran authors. I personally much prefer the trade paperback format the publisher has started using with this volume. The larger size lends itself to more comfortable reading as well as improved presentation of the artwork that accompanies each story. I greatly enjoyed each picture being presented both in black and white and in color. That added more to the series in my opinion. I would highly recommend Writers of the Future Volume 30 to all fans of speculative fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I believe everyone will enjoy it. My personal favorite stories were "Rainbows for Other Days", "Giants at the End of the World", "Carousel" and "Robots Don't Cry". What follows is more of my impressions that might include some spoilers. There were only two problems I noticed with any of the stories. "The Pushbike Legion" took a little bit to get into. Unlike the other stories I had to work a little harder before I felt submerged in the story. The second problem only occurred to me in hindsight. While reading the story I completely missed it and perhaps it is only in how I understand the speculative nature of speed of light travel that is at fault. In L. Ron Hubbard's "Beyond All Weapons" the insinuation is that the group traveling at that speed experienced a 'slowing of time' so that many years passed by while they only experienced nine days. They found a 'graveyard' full of headstones with human names on it. These stones appeared centuries old. By my reading into the story that was an earlier group that had been lost when trying to reach such speeds only a couple decades before. If that was the case, by my understanding of relativity, since both groups had traveled at the same speed and the same distance, the time between settlements should have remained constant.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I was very impressed by the quality of writing found within this book. It can sometimes be hit-or-miss with multi-author anthologies (or even single author anthologies), but this one is almost entirely hits. Obviously what constitutes a good story and good writing is somewhat subjective; if you don’t care for science fiction or fantasy, you probably won’t enjoy most of the stories in Writers of the Future. If you’re a fan of the genre(s), though, you’re in for a treat with this book. I’m a fan o I was very impressed by the quality of writing found within this book. It can sometimes be hit-or-miss with multi-author anthologies (or even single author anthologies), but this one is almost entirely hits. Obviously what constitutes a good story and good writing is somewhat subjective; if you don’t care for science fiction or fantasy, you probably won’t enjoy most of the stories in Writers of the Future. If you’re a fan of the genre(s), though, you’re in for a treat with this book. I’m a fan of fantasy, and a bigger fan of science fiction (though I don’t write in those genres personally), so I was thrilled when I realized that the judges found some amazing new talent to share with the world. I didn’t love every story in this collection (some of the stories just weren’t my cup of tea, but that’s the way it goes with reading), but none were bad, and some were excellent. Some standouts: I’m a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, so it’s no surprise that I loved his story “Carousel.” It’s one of those stories that’s entertaining and a good story on its own, but it also gives you something deeper to keep thinking about long after you’ve finished reading the story. I also loved Paul Eckhart’s story “Shifter” – the ending gave me chills (and very nearly brought me to tears). The premise of Shauna O’Meara’s “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills” was clever, and the resolution reminded me of one of my favorite childhood fairy tales. "Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask" by Randy Henderson is one of those stories where I hope (please please please!) the author will someday expand the short story into a full novel, or even a series of novels (sort of like Orson Scott Card did with Ender’s Game). An amazing story (and winner of this year’s Golden Pen Award), 12-year-old Trystan wants to change the world, and I’d love the chance to read more about him and what he can accomplish with his grandfather’s memories. If you enjoy science fiction and/or fantasy, you’ll definitely want to pick this collection up and add some names to your “Authors to Watch” list!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    First off, I have to say that I enjoy sci-fi short story anthologies over all, having read various collections of differing themes. Moreover, Having read and enjoyed other editions of Writers of the Future, I was thrilled when offered a copy of the 30th edition. The publisher has made some changes with this edition which I enjoyed. First off, the copy I have is (large) trade paperback size. This is a great format for not only reading (although it makes the book a big harder to pack), but a bette First off, I have to say that I enjoy sci-fi short story anthologies over all, having read various collections of differing themes. Moreover, Having read and enjoyed other editions of Writers of the Future, I was thrilled when offered a copy of the 30th edition. The publisher has made some changes with this edition which I enjoyed. First off, the copy I have is (large) trade paperback size. This is a great format for not only reading (although it makes the book a big harder to pack), but a better showcase for the artwork. This brings up the second change. Not only is the artwork shown in greyscale illustrating the stories but, at the end of the book, there are color plates of all of the artwork from the book. For some of the illustrations, this didn't matter much. The illustration for "Giants at the a End of the World" and certain others WERE much more evocative with the addition of color. What we all rightly come to Writers of the Future for, however, is the writing. As in previous years, with only a couple of exceptions, the stories chosen for this volume were both entertaining and thought-provoking. Rather than give a running summary of each story (a short of a short story?), I will say that my favorites were "Rainbows for Other Days" and "The Pushbike Legion." Both of these stories were post-apocalyptic (as is roughly 1/3 of all sci-fi) in nature but attracted me for different reasons. **********Spoilers Follow*********** "Rainbows" is the story of a care-taker in an environmentally destroyed world. This is not a story of hope, however, but (in my opinion) of the beauty which can be found even in the darkest of times. "Pushbike," on the other hand, is a story (In my opinion) of the hope that can come when someone doesn't give up to what "common knowledge" or "common superstition" surround them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    An amazing collection of sci-fi/fantasy short stories with beautiful illustrations! While I felt some of the short stories were "meh", I still was able to find some that were just... epic! There's definitely at least a few short stories in there for everyone, which is why I felt the need to rate this 5 stars. It's hard (rather, "impossible") to please everyone, so I wasn't expecting every short story to please me. In the end, all of them had excellent concepts and kept me thinking and re-writing An amazing collection of sci-fi/fantasy short stories with beautiful illustrations! While I felt some of the short stories were "meh", I still was able to find some that were just... epic! There's definitely at least a few short stories in there for everyone, which is why I felt the need to rate this 5 stars. It's hard (rather, "impossible") to please everyone, so I wasn't expecting every short story to please me. In the end, all of them had excellent concepts and kept me thinking and re-writing them in my head and asking myself "what if". I was constantly thinking and that is what I look for and enjoy most in books. A lot of the short stories captured emotions perfectly. I was able to "feel", so to speak, what the characters were going through, and was really able to feel for them, whether it was love, hatred, or sadness. While some of the authors are already big names, the majority were new to me and I hope to see big things from them in the future. I loved that before every short story there was an "about the author and illustrator" section, and they were written in a way that encourages you to read it because it was interesting and, in some cases, amusing. I LOVED that the illustrations appeared black and white in the short stories, but near the end of the book there was the entire collection in COLOR! I was VERY pleased to see that!!! The cover and entire layout of the book was really nicely done. Overall I think this is a must have book for any reader's collection. It will definitely stay in mine, that's for sure!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jett

    I received this book free of charge through Goodreads First Reads giveaways, this review may contain spoilers. I absolutely loved this book! I'm so glad that I was lucky enough to get a copy. Also, the bookmark that came with it was greatly appreciated, you can never have too many of those :) This anthology had such diverse and interesting pieces from talented writers with beautiful artwork to accompany them. Each short story captured my attention and kept it until the very last page. The stories I received this book free of charge through Goodreads First Reads giveaways, this review may contain spoilers. I absolutely loved this book! I'm so glad that I was lucky enough to get a copy. Also, the bookmark that came with it was greatly appreciated, you can never have too many of those :) This anthology had such diverse and interesting pieces from talented writers with beautiful artwork to accompany them. Each short story captured my attention and kept it until the very last page. The stories contain various concepts ranging from zombies, robots, mirrorpainters (I hadn't heard of this term beforehand) and diverse interesting themes. If I had to choose a favorite story from the collection, I would choose "Rainbows for Other Days" by C. Stuart Hardwick. It resonated with me and was able to affect me emotionally, I felt what the main character felt just by his thoughts. The illustration by Andrew Sonea was just breath-taking. I am jealous of his talent. That's not to say that his talent overshadows any of the other works by very gifted artists. Every picture is so beautiful, I took a good solid ten minutes thoroughly appreciating each page. I'm very happy that the edition I received had full page, color photos of all the art. I would recommend this anthology for anyone interested in science-fiction, fantasy, short-stories :) Happy reading!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tony Parsons

    This year’s 2014 sci-fi winners include approximately 15 original stories by new writers & 16 story-specific illustrations. The very competitive superstars of sci-fi & fantasy writers return once again. My favorite: Robots don’t cry (Mike Resnik). My other favorites: Shifter (Paul Eckheart), Animal (Terry Madden), & Giants at the end of the world (Leena Likitalo), A shout out to all the illustrators’ remarkable work. Seonhee Lim & Andrew Sonea a tie for my favorites. Awesome book cover, great pi This year’s 2014 sci-fi winners include approximately 15 original stories by new writers & 16 story-specific illustrations. The very competitive superstars of sci-fi & fantasy writers return once again. My favorite: Robots don’t cry (Mike Resnik). My other favorites: Shifter (Paul Eckheart), Animal (Terry Madden), & Giants at the end of the world (Leena Likitalo), A shout out to all the illustrators’ remarkable work. Seonhee Lim & Andrew Sonea a tie for my favorites. Awesome book cover, great pictures, font & writing style. A very well written set of Science Fiction & Fantasy all in 1 book. The majority of them were very easy to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. No grammar/typo errors, repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. Most of these stories would make great Sci-fi or fantasy movies, animated cartoons or mini TV series. There is no doubt in my mind every story in there deserves a rating of 5 stars. Thank you for the free book Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angie Lisle

    A collection of science-fantasy/speculative-fiction short stories featuring the winners of the annual Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest. I enjoyed the majority of stories in this collection. A couple stories couldn't hold my attention but I'm not going to name them because they just weren't my cup of tea. That doesn't mean they won't appeal to others. Each story was well thought out and it shows in the quality of the writing. I received a free copy of this book from Library Thing in A collection of science-fantasy/speculative-fiction short stories featuring the winners of the annual Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest. I enjoyed the majority of stories in this collection. A couple stories couldn't hold my attention but I'm not going to name them because they just weren't my cup of tea. That doesn't mean they won't appeal to others. Each story was well thought out and it shows in the quality of the writing. I received a free copy of this book from Library Thing in exchange for a review. I'll admit, I'm not into Scientology so I was wary of L. Ron Hubbard's name in the title but none of that stuff made it into this book and, to be honest, the more I read this book, the more I didn't want the book to end. I'm a huge fan of short story collections, especially when they are well-done, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to check this book out. I look forward to hunting down other volumes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Stockett

    I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion in this review. The Writers of the Future is an amazing program! This is the second of their collections that I have read, and I am just as impressed as I was with the first. It's so neat that they are able to find amateur writers that can write such quality fiction. This is a truly solid collection of stories from amateurs with a few veterans peppered in as a bonus. (Since it's the 30th anniversary, they had some established writers I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion in this review. The Writers of the Future is an amazing program! This is the second of their collections that I have read, and I am just as impressed as I was with the first. It's so neat that they are able to find amateur writers that can write such quality fiction. This is a truly solid collection of stories from amateurs with a few veterans peppered in as a bonus. (Since it's the 30th anniversary, they had some established writers contribute as well.) While it's true that not every story connected with me, the majority were fantastic, and even my least favorites were still better than average stories. I wrote just a few thoughts on each individual story below. Another Range of Mountains by Megan E. O'Keefe (3.5 stars) One of my favorite things about fantasy and science fiction is the exposure to new ideas and new situations. What if every reflective surface had magic within it that stored all the images it reflected? My brain naturally went to thinking about whether it stores every possible angle, and what resolution it is stored at. Despite my nerdiness trying to ruin it, it was a really well put together story that even surprised me with a twist near the end. Shifter by Paul Eckheart (4 stars) I liked this story a lot. It's a new twist on shapeshifters. This story brings a whole new meaning to the power of the written word. The ending was emotional, bringing a new ray of hope all bundled up in a feeling of tragedy. Powerful stuff. Beneath the Surface of Two Kills by Shauna O'Meara (3.5 stars) This is a well crafted story that cleverly blends two stories about two completely different kills. We have the noble hunter, and the vicious murderer, but how different are they? Artistic Presentation by L. Ron Hubbard (2 stars) The overall message of this essay was a good one. Artists should take the time necessary to do a good job and create a quality product. I see that as good advice for any profession, and I would say it's a universal principle. And that's exactly the problem with this essay. If the essay would have been one sentence long and just said, "Take the time to create a quality product", it would have been much better. Unfortunately, he takes most of the essay to emphasize how this is not a universal principle. He goes to great lengths to say how businessmen try to do everything cheaper by doing it the easy way. Anyone who has ever worked in business knows that there are many ways to compete, and usually the most successful businesses compete on more than just cheaper price. Furthermore, efficiency doesn't have to mean that quality is sacrificed. You could probably pass on this essay. Just know that quality work is a good thing, whether you're an artist or not. Beyond All Weapons by L. Ron Hubbard (4.5 stars) It's super fun to have some bonus stories by established authors. This is the first one in this collection, and it is terrifying. I kind of saw the ending coming. But, despite having predicted it, it was still chilling. It definitely takes some good writing to give me chills, especially when I saw it coming. The ending was easier to predict because the effects of the theory of relativity are well known, but it's especially impressive to think of the time period when this story was written. Einstein's theory was a fairly new thing, making this story that much more amazing. Animal by Terry Madden (2.5 stars) If you discover that cross-species pregnancy surrogates are possible, who knows what happens next? This story was a little weird for me. Even though it wasn't my favorite, it was still well written. Rainbows for Other Days by C. Stuart Hardwick (3.5 stars) This is a good post-apocalyptic story that deals with the balance between man's freedom and man's insatiable thirst to expand and consume natural resources. When man over consumes hard decisions have to be made to save the planet and humanity itself. It was a little dark and pessimistic, but I enjoyed it. Giants at the End of the World by Leena Likitalo (4 stars) This fantasy story deals with the emotional turmoil of living in a frontier world where being challenged to a duel means either ceasing to live, or having to live with killing someone. (I'm just grateful to live in a world where being challenged to a dual means that you play a game of Super Smash Brothers). This story captured that emotion well. I also loved the scenes about the majesty of the giants. It made me want to go to The End of the World and see them for myself. ...And Now Thirty by Robert Silverberg (5 stars) Robert Silverberg is a Science Fiction giant. This short essay is overflowing with his love for science fiction. The essay was written in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Writers of the Future contest. It gives us some history of the contest, and more importantly, shows how much love he really has for the good that this contest does. Having only been exposed to Writers of the Future one year ago, (through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway of volume 29) I'm a little late to the game, but it was really neat to read about what a powerful program it has been over the years. Carousel by Orson Scott Card (4 stars) This is a great story. It's a very unique take on the resurrection. It also has a dash of the "be careful what you wish for" theme. I've always loved Card's writing and this is no exception. The Clouds in Her Eyes by Liz Colter (3.5 stars) This is a fun story. It plays on the idea that we all dream of, that we are special, that we have a hidden sight, or a hidden power. I enjoyed the ambiguity, that at first we don't know if she really has a special sight, or if she is just crazy. And let's be honest, controlling the weather is just cool. What Moves the Sun and Other Stars by K.C. Norton (4 stars) I really like this story. There's lots to like: a penal colony akin to hell, scary demons, AI that develops a soul, and people living on comets. Definitely a fun read. Long Jump by Oleg Kazantsev (4 stars) This story is really scary. It's about loneliness. It's about self indulgence. It's about madness. I really enjoy H.P. Lovecraft, and one of his themes is having his characters driven mad my terror. The scenario here actually seems scarier to me. Being driven mad by loneliness seems much worse. Powerful stuff. These Walls of Despair by Anaea Lay (2.5 stars) This story is really well crafted. However, I think the style just isn't my thing. It seems like we're intentionally left in the dark on a lot of things, perhaps to make a more ethereal mood? Who is Dhalig Mora? Why would awakening him end the world? I thought the idea of the sentimancer, someone who can brew any emotion or feeling, was a neat one. However, the world building (or lack thereof) just didn't work for me. I think I could potentially really like this story if it were more fleshed out. But I had so many unanswered questions and so much confusion that I ended up not enjoying it, despite the things I liked. Synaptic Soup by Val Lakey Lindahn (4 stars) This is an excellent essay about the writing process as well as the artistic process. It touches on some of the history of the art contest associated with Writers of the Future. It makes me realize what a truly neat thing it is that L. Ron Hubbard started. Robots Don't Cry by Mike Resnick (5 stars) This one might be my favorite story of the whole collection. Robots are just machines, they just run programs. Or do they? Is it possible they could feel emotion? even pain? Can they feel love? What is love anyway? Sammy just wanted to cry, and he almost got me crying in his place. The Shaadi Exile by Amanda Forrest (4 stars) This is a powerful story. On the surface, it's about arranged marriage, or perhaps about how culture could spread across the stars. But then it goes much deeper. It's about fear. It's about hope. It's about the sacrifices we make for others because of the love we can have, even for a stranger. The Pushbike Legion by Timothy Jordan (4.5 stars) I love this kind of story. It starts out feeling like it's in modern time. Then I found out it's in a world without modern technology. I assumed I was reading a fantasy story. Then I found out the setting wasn't what I thought it was at all. I don't want to spoil it, but I loved the way the setting was slowly revealed. The characterization was solid. I generally cared about the individuals, and about the society as a whole. I loved the explanation for why there world was the way it was. It was scary in some ways, but also had an ending filled with hope. Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask by Randy Henderson (4 stars) I've thought a lot about how it would change our world if we could digitize our thoughts and our memories. While this story isn't about that, it is about a world where memories could be transferable. But, it's actually about a lot more than that. It's about the value of personal experiences and the value of seeing things from another person's point of view. How much more empathy would we have in the world if we could truly and literally walk a mile in someone else's shoes? Great story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sam (Hissing Potatoes)

    I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you! It's very difficult to find quality anthologies, and Writers of the Future Volume 30 is definitely one of the few best I've ever read. The creativity of the authors and their ability to stretch the limits of the imagination intrigued me with every story. The authors combined science fiction and fantasy elements within familiar societies, elevating the stories to thought-provoking entertainment. I will definitely be checkin I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you! It's very difficult to find quality anthologies, and Writers of the Future Volume 30 is definitely one of the few best I've ever read. The creativity of the authors and their ability to stretch the limits of the imagination intrigued me with every story. The authors combined science fiction and fantasy elements within familiar societies, elevating the stories to thought-provoking entertainment. I will definitely be checking out many of the authors to see what other stories and novels they have created. If speculative fiction intrigues you in the least, I recommend checking out this anthology, because it'll provide a little bit of every angle of the genre.

  28. 4 out of 5

    janice g. phelan

    Some ideas never visited by others and well worth the fantastic read. Thank all of you, writers and illustrators. This anthology of new writers is totally unique. Imagination was in great supply among all the new writers. This bodes well for all of the avid science fiction and fantasy readers and hopefully all the new writers and illustrators as well. Thank you all for the wonderful readings and the thought processes needed at the end of each tale to figure out what just happened. Jan Phelan Temple Some ideas never visited by others and well worth the fantastic read. Thank all of you, writers and illustrators. This anthology of new writers is totally unique. Imagination was in great supply among all the new writers. This bodes well for all of the avid science fiction and fantasy readers and hopefully all the new writers and illustrators as well. Thank you all for the wonderful readings and the thought processes needed at the end of each tale to figure out what just happened. Jan Phelan Temple, TX.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I've always enjoyed the WOTF anthologies and this one was no exception. A wide variety of unique stories. All were good. Only complaint -- not enough traditional fantasy stories in this volume (or any of the others). Lots of SF and urban fantasy, though. I've always enjoyed the WOTF anthologies and this one was no exception. A wide variety of unique stories. All were good. Only complaint -- not enough traditional fantasy stories in this volume (or any of the others). Lots of SF and urban fantasy, though.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    3.5 ”Shifters” and ”Robots don’t cry” are two of the stories that made a bigger impression on me.

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