Title: Diverse Energies
Publish date: October 1st 2012 by Tu Books
Source: ARC received from the publisher
In a world gone wrong, heroes and villains are not always easy to distinguish and every individual has the ability to contribute something powerful.
In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.
Oh anthologies… you are so difficult to review. Diverse Energies was an anthology that appealed to me because I usually do enjoy dystopian stories, but have been a little burnt out on them and it focused on stories from underrepresented cultures.
But the thing about reviewing anthologies is that I feel differently about all of the stories in it. I thought that some were very strong and some seemed very weak. The anthology opened on a strong note with Ellen Oh’s The Last Day, though and with that note in mind, I kept reading even when the stories were a bit weaker. But let’s break it down to the strongest and the weakest points…
Good Girl by Malinda Lo- Lo managed to create a vivid and bleak world in only pages and the allure between Kyle and Nix jumps from the page.
Blue Skies by Cindy Pon- Her main character is so interesting. He does something technically “bad,” but I couldn’t judge him for it. I loved how so much of this story is about just… wistfulness, I guess? That’s not quite the right word, but that’s close to it. Pon’s character wants higher standing, wants blue skies and I loved the ending to the story as well.
Least favorite story:
Freshee’s Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson- I nearly put the book down and this was the second story. I kept having to remind myself that the first story was strong, and I’m glad I did so as I discovered several stories that I really enjoyed. Freshee’s Frogurt was told like a police interview and seemed so stilted. Perhaps because it’s technically all dialogue, but the voice of the main character in this anthology irritated me beyond measure.
To sum up: A little uneven, but that tends to happen in anthologies. I’d recommend this one if you’re tiring of dystopians. You can get quick doses of the genre this way instead of overwhelming yourself.