In anticipation of the Writer’s Games kicking off this weekend, here are my thoughts on a book of short stories I recently enjoyed.
Why I picked it up:
I received a free e-book version of L. Ron Hubbard presents Writers of the Future volume 38 (amazon associate link) from the publisher through the Library Thing early reviewers program.
Because this is a collection of stories by contest winners, and says it is “the best new SF & Fantasy of the year” right on the cover, I had high expectations: I expected some really great science fiction and fantasy stories.
What I liked:
There is so much to like about this book! It opens with a gallery of color illustrations by the winners of the illustration contest, one for each story, that piqued my interest and created anticipation. There is a nice range of stories exploring times from Earth’s history to planets in the far future with some time travel in there as well. I noticed a recurring theme of the power of knowledge and the dangers of memory manipulation which I find very interesting. Before each story and essay there is an extensive, informative bio for the author and illustrator which helps orient the reader for each new experience.
I especially enjoyed “The Single Most Important Piece of Advice” by Frank Herbert followed by one of his stories and then an essay by his son about teamwork and writing with others as he continues to create in his father’s world of Dune. Those three pieces in a row felt like a special moment.
The story by the editor David Farland that accompanies the cover illustration is also very special as it is the last story he wrote. He died only days after he finished editing this book.
What I didn’t like:
There were a couple of stories I didn’t like, and sadly, one of them was chosen as the opening story. This made it difficult for me to get into the book. But luckily, those intriguing, beautiful illustrations at the beginning and the craft essays throughout, pulled me further into the book. My personal preference would have been more science fiction and less fantasy.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦ 4 out of 5
Overall, I enjoyed the majority of the stories, the illustrations are beautiful, and I really liked the inclusion of craft essays and stories by Frank Herbert and other prominent authors and illustrators.