Book Review of Stories from the World of Tomorrow: The Way the Future Was!

 

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Here’s a review I started several eons ago before my life was derailed by summer holidays, or vacation, as my American children insist.

I love reading anthologies precisely because it is difficult to sustain attention at busy times so a quick few pages here and another story there soon add up to a whole book. And what a delightful collection it is, something for everyone, catering to both the hard-core nerd, [which is not an insult] and the soft-skinned escapist. [Which probably is an insult.]

As before, I want to avoid spoilers, so instead I chose a favorite quote from each, which was tough because there were far too many to choose from. My Kindle looks like a stripy tiger with all those highlighted lines.

Artificial Girls on the Illuminated Highway by Amanda Bergloff

“The women promised physical delights, while the male proclaimed his ego.”

A Deep Breath of Tomorrow by Raymond K. Rugg

Father looked skeptical. “Yes, yes, your robot is an electronic marvel, Bert. But being able to differentiate between red and green, and being able to smoke a cigarette, these things hardly qualify your automaton to be a fit companion for a small child.”

The King’s Contest by Wenda Morrone

“It was sixty-some years before boys broke in again. Thus began an unfortunate pattern: men contrived safety devices, boys outwitted them in sixty-some years.”

Deadman’s Hand by Rick Bruner

“Socially I was a pariah. There were the military protocols and in addition, no one wanted to incur Witty’s wrath. So I messed alone, watched the videos alone; it was shaping up as a very lonely trip.”

Drift by Thresher Grey

“Emmit’s great-uncle Wynford made an excellent example. The man had spent half of the memorial service stuffing miniature quiche down his trousers.”

Exit 5710 by Cassandra L.

“The truck loomed large outside the rows of neat bungalows, a hulking, metal-and-rivet behemoth amongst polite, sleek sedans.”

Master of the Underworld by Michael Chandos

“Robots, yes, I said I’d like some companionship, but not shipped in like spare parts. People are alive! Search your knowledge bases for the definition.”

Elektro The Westinghouse Moto-Man and I by William Stanforth

“We spend the evening playing charades. Elektro and I are on the same team and we fail miserably, which actually works out as Bill is a particularly sore loser and does not take defeat gracefully.”

One Step Forward by Matthew Pedersen

“ … what you’re doing right now is just one small piece of a horrifying puzzle! It’s no different than someone driving around in a parking lot for an extra fifteen minutes looking for a spot closer to a store, or someone microwaving a gross, chemical laden TV diner every day of the week rather than taking the half hour it takes to make a proper meal. You’re using technology to get out of the most minute amount of effort, rather than its intended purpose.”

Perfect Progeny by Bobbi A. Chukran

She walked off, shaking her head. “Your grandmother would have a conniption fit if she saw this,” she said, staring at the giant Tomato Man figure. She shivered. “And a perfect tomato? Who needs perfect? The taste is all that matters to me. Nothing good will come of growing vegetables like this. Trust me, son, this will never catch on.”

Meeting Across the River By Michael McAndrews Bailey

“Get to the point, tin can,” Dad said. “Based on today’s activities and caloric intake, Cecily could be allowed to have two burritos for supper tonight without violating standard caloric intakes.”

The Coil By Sebastien Mantle

“Just a few months before every major city on
earth sports its own big glowing bug zapper.”

There is No Way Like the American Way by Stephen Hill

“Square dead lawns surrounding square dead houses, all bound by square dead concrete paths both narrow and wide, spread out before them towards a thin line of charcoal that swallowed the rest of the horizon to the east and to the west.”

The Mobius Comet By Craig J. Ham

“Her thoughts and remembrances disappeared like morning dew, fresh with the promise of a new day, disappears before the rising sun.”

The Robot Who Smoked By Stephanie Cage

“Viv would be sure to egg her and Barrett on to start a family, but Barrett wasn’t keen – ‘expensive little beggars, kids, and so many things that you have to worry about’ – and besides, how did you start a family with someone you never saw except when they were eating or snoring?”

Welcome to the Greatest Show in the Universe By Deborah Walker

Zelda smiled. “The cards are unclear, as they always are, my dear. But I will say this to you: look underneath the surface of your problems. There are unseen layers in our universe.” “I’d hoped for something a little more specific, Zelda.”

Stories from the World of Tomorrow: The Way the Future Was! Darkhouse Books. Kindle Edition available from all good booksellers as well as Amazon.

Meanwhile, I’d welcome your recommendations for other recent or pending reads too?

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