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Within these pages lie eighteen stories, from eighteen worlds shaped by some of today’s best writers of science fiction and fantasy, all guests on the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers during its first year. Some are international bestsellers. Among them are winners of and nominees for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, Aurealis, Ditmar, British Within these pages lie eighteen stories, from eighteen worlds shaped by some of today’s best writers of science fiction and fantasy, all guests on the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers during its first year. Some are international bestsellers. Among them are winners of and nominees for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, Aurealis, Ditmar, British Science Fiction Association, and Dragon Awards. Some have been writing for decades, others are at the beginning of their careers. All have honed their craft to razor-sharpness. A teenage girl finds something strange in the middle of the Canadian prairie. An exobiologist tries to liberate a giant alien enslaved on its homeworld by humans. The music of the spheres becomes literal for an Earth ship far from home. A superhero league interviews for new members. Strangers share a drink on a world where giant starships fall. Two boys, one a werewolf, one a mage, get more than they bargained for when they volunteer to fight an evil Empire. A man with amnesia accepts a most unusual offer. A young woman finds unexpected allies as she tries to win a flying-machine race in steampunk London . . . Ranging from boisterous to bleak, from humorous to harrowing, from action-filled to quiet and meditative; taking place in alternate pasts, the present day, the far, far future, and times that never were; set on Earth, in the distant reaches of space, in fantasy worlds, and in metaphysical realms, each of these stories is as unique as its creator. And yet, they all showcase one thing: the irrepressible need of human beings to create, to imagine, to tell stories. To shape worlds.


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Within these pages lie eighteen stories, from eighteen worlds shaped by some of today’s best writers of science fiction and fantasy, all guests on the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers during its first year. Some are international bestsellers. Among them are winners of and nominees for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, Aurealis, Ditmar, British Within these pages lie eighteen stories, from eighteen worlds shaped by some of today’s best writers of science fiction and fantasy, all guests on the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers during its first year. Some are international bestsellers. Among them are winners of and nominees for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, Aurealis, Ditmar, British Science Fiction Association, and Dragon Awards. Some have been writing for decades, others are at the beginning of their careers. All have honed their craft to razor-sharpness. A teenage girl finds something strange in the middle of the Canadian prairie. An exobiologist tries to liberate a giant alien enslaved on its homeworld by humans. The music of the spheres becomes literal for an Earth ship far from home. A superhero league interviews for new members. Strangers share a drink on a world where giant starships fall. Two boys, one a werewolf, one a mage, get more than they bargained for when they volunteer to fight an evil Empire. A man with amnesia accepts a most unusual offer. A young woman finds unexpected allies as she tries to win a flying-machine race in steampunk London . . . Ranging from boisterous to bleak, from humorous to harrowing, from action-filled to quiet and meditative; taking place in alternate pasts, the present day, the far, far future, and times that never were; set on Earth, in the distant reaches of space, in fantasy worlds, and in metaphysical realms, each of these stories is as unique as its creator. And yet, they all showcase one thing: the irrepressible need of human beings to create, to imagine, to tell stories. To shape worlds.

30 review for Shapers of Worlds

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    This anthology celebrates stories from the first year of Podcast The Worldshapers. It‘s been financed as a Kickstarter project and the 18 stories are released at 14.11.2020. In summary, most stories are enjoyable and I found two gems in it: „Evanescence“ by Modesitt, and Fonda Lee‘s superhero story „Welcome to Legion Six“. There are a couple of mediocre stories in it, though this is more a matter of personal taste than a literary assessment. The editor is an author himself, and he included a story This anthology celebrates stories from the first year of Podcast The Worldshapers. It‘s been financed as a Kickstarter project and the 18 stories are released at 14.11.2020. In summary, most stories are enjoyable and I found two gems in it: „Evanescence“ by Modesitt, and Fonda Lee‘s superhero story „Welcome to Legion Six“. There are a couple of mediocre stories in it, though this is more a matter of personal taste than a literary assessment. The editor is an author himself, and he included a story from himself - I wouldn’t write home about his „Vision Quest“. His decision not only to include the story but even to start the anthology isn’t bold; it feels questionable like cutting the line or serving yourself before your guests. More than half of the stories were original for the anthology, the other half reprints, and the oldest one „Tricentennial“ from Haldeman closes the anthology. While the stories are a broad selection over SF and Fantasy subgenres, I couldn’t identify the proclaimed topic of creating worlds consistently in them. The editor just lined them up one after the other without an introduction. The average over all stories leads to three stars. Usually, I round up a little, because anthologies work differently than novels - they are more than the sum of its parts. In this case, I thought more about decreasing the average because of the editor‘s questionable choice. In the end, it’s a weak three stars, and I can’t fully recommend this anthology. Please, find individual reviews for each story linked to my blog. Contents: • ★★★☆☆ • Vision Quest • 2020 • SF short story by Edward Willett • an eons old entity contacts a teenager • review • ★★★☆☆ • Call to Arms • 2020 • Fantasy novelette by Tanya Huff • A teenage weredog and a mage join to fight the Empire • review • ★★★+☆☆ • The Tale of the Wicked • 2009 • Space Opera novelette by John Scalzi • A space ship decides to follow Asimov‘s Laws in the middle of a battle • review • ★★★+☆☆ • The Farships Fall to Nowhere • 2020 • Generation ship short story by John C Wright • how is it when a generation ship reaches its target planet? • review • ★★★★☆ • Evanescence • 2020 • First Contact short story by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. • solar system formation, Oort Cloud mining exploration, and opera • review ☆ • Peel • 2004 • by Julie Czerneda • didn’t unterstand, skipped assessment, no review • ★★★☆☆ • The Knack of Flying • 2020 • Steampunk short story by Shelley Adina • a secret flight vessel contest in 1896 • review • ★★+☆☆☆ • Ghost Colours • 2015 • SF short story by Derek Künsken • Dehaunting by gentherapy • review • ★★★☆☆ • One Million Lira • 2014 • Military SF short story by Thoraiya Dyer • A sniper protects a crashed aircraft from looters • review • ★★★☆☆ • Pod Dreams of Tuckertown • 2007 • SF short story by Gareth L. Powell • Pod works off a brutal punishment • review • ★★☆☆☆ • In Silent Streams, Where Once the Summer Shone • 2020 • Apocalyptic short story by Seanan McGuire • A virus extinguishes all humans • review • ★★★★☆ • Welcome to the Legion of Six • 2019 • Superhero short story by Fonda Lee • New talents interview for a position in a famous group of superheroes • review • ★★☆☆☆ • Good Intentions • 2020 • Planetary SF short story by Christopher Ruocchio • A Sun Eater story with a scientist interfering with slavery • review • ★★★☆☆ • “Shhhh. . .” • 1988 • First Contact SF short story by David Brin • far advanced aliens are rumored to have a weakness • review • ★★☆☆☆ • The Greatest of These is Hope • 2020 • YA first contact novelette by D.J. Butler • a girl on a dying planet meets a dead friend in a Minecraft sim • review • ★★★+☆☆ • A Thing of Beauty • 2011 • First contact SF novelette by Dr. Charles E. Gannon • A corporation is about to sell unregistered children to aliens • review • ★★★☆☆ • Home Is Where the Heart Is • 2020 • Urban Fantasy novelette by David Weber • a man without memory sells his soul to the devil • review • ★★★☆☆ • Tricentennial • 1976 • SF novelette by Joe Haldeman • antimatter propels traveling a generation ship with relativistic speed • review Meta: isfdb, published at 14.11.2020 by Shadowpaw Press.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    My main reason for reading anthologies is my hope to find a story so interesting as to make me chose a book by an author with a work included in the collection. Finding a new author I'm interested in would be the icing on the cake. Well...it didn't happen here. I'm really quite surprised at how I reacted to these stories; they were interesting enough while I was reading them I didn't go exploring at all. Each time I came to a story submitted by an author I had either read about or I had actually My main reason for reading anthologies is my hope to find a story so interesting as to make me chose a book by an author with a work included in the collection. Finding a new author I'm interested in would be the icing on the cake. Well...it didn't happen here. I'm really quite surprised at how I reacted to these stories; they were interesting enough while I was reading them I didn't go exploring at all. Each time I came to a story submitted by an author I had either read about or I had actually read a book authored by them I figured that this one would be different - something about this one would really engage my attention. I read it and then I finished it and then I forgot what it was all about. I had to go back and look it up, but here are some of the story subjects: superhero recruitment, shape shifter, alien visitor, ghost haunting, end of the world, a giant native and memory loss. Thank you to NetGalley and Shadowpaw Press for an e-galley of this anthology.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    I actively try to read a variety of genres and was definitely due a good science fiction book. This seemed to fit the bill, an overall ambitious collection featuring many well known names and yet…it ended up not quite working for me. In fact, from the very start, right after the friendly enough of a foreword by the editor, it launched with the first story written by that very same editor which was just so lackluster. And also, doesn’t it seem kind of…I don’t know…immodest? Like having a party an I actively try to read a variety of genres and was definitely due a good science fiction book. This seemed to fit the bill, an overall ambitious collection featuring many well known names and yet…it ended up not quite working for me. In fact, from the very start, right after the friendly enough of a foreword by the editor, it launched with the first story written by that very same editor which was just so lackluster. And also, doesn’t it seem kind of…I don’t know…immodest? Like having a party and serving yourself first. Then another underwhelming story. Then John Scalzi, who’s always fun to read with yet another…you guessed it…underwhelming story. Or at least underwhelming by Scalzi standards. At this time a normal reader might put the book down, but this reader is a determined completist, so the next day I came back to it with a fresh mindset, trying again. And what do you know, eventually the collection did improve, in fact it had a very nice middle section of genuinely compelling stories. And of course, now I should be naming them, but for some reason when it comes to short fiction, my brain just doesn’t seem to register those things, so there was a story about a ghost passively haunting a person and that was probably the turnaround moment, afterwards there were several good ones. There was even a properly serious and eerily in the now sort of story by Seanan McGuire (aha, there, I do remember some names), an author I normally don’t expect that sort of heaviness and seriousness and adultness from. All of the entries in this collection of a pretty uniform length, not too short, not too long, just right. The general idea was to thematically unite these under the flag of shapers of the world. I suppose, to an extent they do. But it’s a very wide theme and the stories range from steampunk to fantasy to the sort of overly technical sci fi I don’t care for to the sort of space operatic sci fi I really don’t care for to a positively Faustian tale by David Weber which seems to have nothing to do with science fiction at all, but it was actually one of my favorites in this book. So there was definitely something for everyone, a grab bag of tales, from luminaries of the genre. Though to be fair, primarily the old timey luminaries, people who’ve been at it for decades and accumulated genuinely obscenely large oeuvres and back catalogs, 70 novels or something like that. That beggars the question of quality or at least repetition, but at any rate, for one thing it definitely proved to be a good way to sample some of those names. I wanted to like it more, I really did, but some of those stories (and this is a terrible thing to say probably) kind of reminded me of why I didn’t care for sci fi for such a long time, especially all the ones with the heavy tech jargon. My idea of good science fiction is Black Mirror (earlier seasons), something that uses scientific advances to highlight socially, politically, economically important things, etc. Something that makes you contemplate the very nature of carbon based lifeforms and their meaning and significance. Not just space ship intrigues. Of course, some might argue space ship sagas are also fundamentally about all those heavy profound subjects, but it just isn’t my bag, too convoluted and flashy for one thing, too enamored by their space armor, etc. And that’s what so many of the authors in this collection are known for, conventional science fiction, space operas, fantasy, etc. So anyway, this being such a grab bag, there was enough to justify reading it and there ought to be something here within these pages for most genre fans. But the overall effect is somewhat underwhelming, not quite a disappointment per se, but light years away from love. Oh well, science fiction quota met for now. Next one. Thanks Netgalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Luiken

    I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finished! As always, I found the collection to be a mixed bag with some standouts, some DNF, and one that I found smug, but the majority were interesting. I'll try to put up a longer review later, but for now the highlights: Call to Arms – Tanya Huff. More Mirian! I recently reread The Silvered and very much wanted to read this about fantasy world werewolf pack and mages. Although Mirian isn’t the protagonist we are still give I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finished! As always, I found the collection to be a mixed bag with some standouts, some DNF, and one that I found smug, but the majority were interesting. I'll try to put up a longer review later, but for now the highlights: Call to Arms – Tanya Huff. More Mirian! I recently reread The Silvered and very much wanted to read this about fantasy world werewolf pack and mages. Although Mirian isn’t the protagonist we are still given a glimpse of what she and Tomas have been doing, and Mirian arrived for the smackdown at the end. Tale of the Wicked – John Scalzi. Amusing story of a sentient ship who decides it doesn’t want to fight anymore and starts following Asimov’s Laws. Not much character development/interior monologue, but satisfying nonetheless. Welcome to the Legion of Six – Fonda Lee. A tale of aging superheroes. The interview format is brilliant and I loved the humour. One Million Lira – Thoraiya Dyer. Dystopian setting, post climate crash. Survivors squabble over a fallen skyship. What made it interesting was the mentor-student pair of snipers. The characters felt real, which can be hard to achieve in short stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Edward Willett hosts a podcast called Worldshapers (I will need to check this out) which is up to 62 episodes. After a year, he decided to Kickstart an anthology with stories from several of the authors that appeared in the first season of the podcast, thus was born Shapers of Worlds. Of the 18 stories in the volume, half are new stores (2020 copyright) and half are stories written earlier. Each tale stands on its own and highlights the author's voice and world building. I became aware of this t Edward Willett hosts a podcast called Worldshapers (I will need to check this out) which is up to 62 episodes. After a year, he decided to Kickstart an anthology with stories from several of the authors that appeared in the first season of the podcast, thus was born Shapers of Worlds. Of the 18 stories in the volume, half are new stores (2020 copyright) and half are stories written earlier. Each tale stands on its own and highlights the author's voice and world building. I became aware of this title via L. E. Modesitt, Jr. answering a question on Goodreads, so when I saw this title on Netgalley, I jumped on the chance to read it. There are tales from Tanya Huff, Modesitt, John Scalizi, D. J. Butler, Seanan McGuire, David Weber, and Joe Halderman, to name a few of the authors. The David Weber story was interesting and not one you would expect from him. And the Charles E. Gannon story was dark but also hopeful. So you have a nice mix of authors and tales to read in this volume. So here's to hoping there will be another volume!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews

    These tales are filled with surprises, so keep guessing as you read them! “The Tale of the Wicked” followed Captain Michael Obwije as his war ship, The Wicked, attempted to hunt down and finally destroy an enemy ship. When something unexplainable happened at the last moment, he had to quickly figure out what was going on before it was too late. The plot twists in this tale kept me on the edge of my seat. They felt like an episode of a fast-paced and thought-provoking science fiction adventure sho These tales are filled with surprises, so keep guessing as you read them! “The Tale of the Wicked” followed Captain Michael Obwije as his war ship, The Wicked, attempted to hunt down and finally destroy an enemy ship. When something unexplainable happened at the last moment, he had to quickly figure out what was going on before it was too late. The plot twists in this tale kept me on the edge of my seat. They felt like an episode of a fast-paced and thought-provoking science fiction adventure show. I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended, and the creative final scene only made me yearn for more! There were some tales in this collection that I wish had been given more time to develop, and “Ghost Colours” was one of them. It was about a man named Brian who had inherited a ghost from a relative. Luckily, science had advanced to the point that hauntings could be permanently dealt with by having one’s DNA slightly altered. I was intrigued by how such a procedure would work and was a bit disappointed that the characters never went into detail about it. They only barely scraped the surface of how proving the existence of ghosts would change human society. With that being said, I loved the premise of this story and of the others that I thought could have used more time to grow. Their basic structures were good, they just needed to be filled out more. As soon as I read the first sentence of “A Thing of Beauty” and realized two of the characters were talking about murdering orphans in order to save money, I raised an eyebrow and kept going. There’s definitely something about cutting straight to the chase when the stakes are high as these ones! I was intrigued by the main character’s plan to stop these murders from happening. While I can’t go into more detail about it than that, I will say that the plot twists kept me guessing until the final scene. Shapers of Worlds was a well-rounded anthology that should be read by anyone who wants to lose themselves in other times and places.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    3 stars. A few were very good, most were very average. “Vision Quest” by Edward Willett-4 stars, 1st Contact story. “Call to Arms” by Tanya Huff-5 stars, set in the Silvered universe. I love Mirian and the Pack. “The Tale of the Wicked” by John Scalzi - 4 stars. AIs for the win “The Farships Fall to Nowhere” by John C Wright - 2 stars “Evanescence” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. - 3 stars. Music and 1st Contact “Peel” by Julie Czerneda -3 stars. Creation and madness "The Knack of Flying” by Shelley Adina - 4 st 3 stars. A few were very good, most were very average. “Vision Quest” by Edward Willett-4 stars, 1st Contact story. “Call to Arms” by Tanya Huff-5 stars, set in the Silvered universe. I love Mirian and the Pack. “The Tale of the Wicked” by John Scalzi - 4 stars. AIs for the win “The Farships Fall to Nowhere” by John C Wright - 2 stars “Evanescence” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. - 3 stars. Music and 1st Contact “Peel” by Julie Czerneda -3 stars. Creation and madness "The Knack of Flying” by Shelley Adina - 4 stars, enjoyable steampunk. “Ghost Colours” by Derek Künsken - 3 stars. Hauntings. “One Million Lira” by Thoraiya Dyer - 3 stars. Future snipers, dystopia. “Pod Dreams of Tuckertown” by Gareth L. Powell - 3 stars. Future dystopia, price of memory. “In Silent Streams, Where Once the Summer Shone” by Seanan Mcguire - 4 stars. Viruses. “Welcome to the Legion of Six” by Fonda Lee - 3 stars. Superheroes. “Good Intentions” by Christopher Ruocchio - 3 stars. Intentions have consequences. “Shhhh . . .” by David Brin - 2 stars “The Greatest of These is Hope” by D.J. Butler - 3 stars. 1st Contact and children. “A Thing of Beauty” by Dr. Charles E. Gannon - 3 stars. Future dystopia, corporations. “Home Is Where the Heart” Is by David Weber - 3 stars. Bargains and souls. “Tricentennial” by Joe Haldeman - 4 stars, reprint. Space settlement and exploration. I read this for my 2020 Reading Challenge (Popsugar 2020 "anthology") and for the Huff and McGuire stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harrison Schweiloch

    hapers of Worlds is an anthology based on the Worldshapers podcast, a science fiction podcast, by which I mean it is a podcast about science fiction, not a podcast that consists of science fiction. Instead of audio stories, it consists of interviews with SFF authors. This anthology consists of a mix of both new stories and reprints. This collection feels rather uneven to me. Just a look at the contents list shows a vast difference in the types of authors included. Highlights are short pieces by hapers of Worlds is an anthology based on the Worldshapers podcast, a science fiction podcast, by which I mean it is a podcast about science fiction, not a podcast that consists of science fiction. Instead of audio stories, it consists of interviews with SFF authors. This anthology consists of a mix of both new stories and reprints. This collection feels rather uneven to me. Just a look at the contents list shows a vast difference in the types of authors included. Highlights are short pieces by John Scalzi and Seanan McGuire, two of my favorite authors and clearly superstars in the field. Surprising is the inclusion of a work by John C. Wright, a Sad Puppy who I think would be shocked to find himself in the same anthology as Scalzi. Frankly, I have no interest in reading anything of his and skipped his story entirely. Overall, a mixed bag of stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I received a free copy of this ebook on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this anthology. I liked how different the stories were from one another, with a wide range of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia, steampunk and everything in between. My favourites were Fonda Lee's "Welcome to the Legion of Six", Seanan McGuire's "In Silent Streams, Where Once the Summer Shone" and "The Knack of Flying" by Shelley Adina Bates. I received a free copy of this ebook on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this anthology. I liked how different the stories were from one another, with a wide range of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia, steampunk and everything in between. My favourites were Fonda Lee's "Welcome to the Legion of Six", Seanan McGuire's "In Silent Streams, Where Once the Summer Shone" and "The Knack of Flying" by Shelley Adina Bates.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Groucho42

    Short story collection. There was the good one, "A Thing of Beauty" by Gannon. There were terrible ones such as "Ghost Colors" by Kunsken. There was the humorous "Welcome to the Legion of Six" by Lee. The there were the completely trite ones at the end, by Weber and Haldeman. However, most were average or barely above average. Short story collection. There was the good one, "A Thing of Beauty" by Gannon. There were terrible ones such as "Ghost Colors" by Kunsken. There was the humorous "Welcome to the Legion of Six" by Lee. The there were the completely trite ones at the end, by Weber and Haldeman. However, most were average or barely above average.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Vansant

    Not bad at all. Some stories (especially the first 2 - 3 stories) are very good indeed. The others? Some are ok, others... But none had the "thing" that would trigger me to go and look for other books by these writers. Not bad at all. Some stories (especially the first 2 - 3 stories) are very good indeed. The others? Some are ok, others... But none had the "thing" that would trigger me to go and look for other books by these writers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A mixed-quality, but above average set of stories from top-notch and/or well-known authors. I was surprised I didn't like this more. Nonetheless, a worthwhile collection. 3.5 rounded up. Thanks very much for the review copy!! A mixed-quality, but above average set of stories from top-notch and/or well-known authors. I was surprised I didn't like this more. Nonetheless, a worthwhile collection. 3.5 rounded up. Thanks very much for the review copy!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frank Raymond

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diana Cook

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mandell Degerness

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mean Mr. Mustard

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Edgar Middel

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hoffman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven Peiper

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Rotell Taylor

  23. 5 out of 5

    John

  24. 5 out of 5

    Edward Willett

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim Kirkpatrick

  26. 4 out of 5

    E.C. Blake

  27. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike Small

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie

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