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Night Shade
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse / Edition 1

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse / Edition 1

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Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence . . . the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon . . . these are our guides through the Wastelands.

From the Book of Revelation to ''The Road Warrior'', from ''A Canticle for Leibowitz'' to ''The Road'', storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving eschatological tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. In doing so, these visionary authors have addressed one of the most challenging and enduring themes of imaginative fiction: the nature of life in the aftermath of total societal collapse.

Gathering together the best postapocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today's most renowned authors of speculative fiction - including George R. R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King - Wastelands explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon.

Whether the end of the world comes through nuclear war, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm, these are tales of survivors, in some cases struggling to rebuild the society that was, in others, merely surviving, scrounging for food in depopulated ruins and defending themselves against monsters, mutants, and marauders. Wastelands delves into this bleak landscape, uncovering the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the genre's core.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597801058
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 01/01/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 348
Sales rank: 541,815
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Joseph Adams, called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble, is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as Epic, Other Worlds than These, Armored, Under the Moons of Mars, Lightspeed, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Way of the Wizard, and others. He is a six-time finalist for the Hugo Award and a five-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award. He is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed and Nightmare, and is the co-host of’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

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Wastelands 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
Wastelands is a book containing 22 short stories of life after an apocalypse. The editor did a really good job at picking stories detailing a variety of different world ending scenarios and the struggles of those left to rebuild society and start over. Some of these stories are just so-so....nothing special or memorable. Others, though, were really great. There are some that take place in the near future and some that take place so far away in time that people aren't even recognizable as people anymore. Some of these stories are very sad and don't show much hope for humanity, while others end on a very optimistic and happy note...a fresh start. "All of them explore one question: What would life be like after the end of the world as we know it?" If you are into the Post-Apocalyptic sub-genre, then this is definitely a book you should check out.
Dierckx More than 1 year ago
Somebody once said that after a disaster there is always at least one survivor to tell the story to others. But what if you are the sole survivor and there is no-one else on Earth to talk to? Long ago I read a SF-story (or should I say a post-apocalyptic story? Oh well, what's in a name?) about a man who was not only the sole survivor of the human species but of all existing life including vegetation. Because of his injuries he could only crawl. After several months he finally reached the Ocean, crawled into the water and died. His decomposing body would provide the Ocean with atoms and molecules so that in a far future, new life could emerge from it. Because of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Cold War, post-apocalyptic literature was popular. But the fall of the Berlin Wall meant also the end of post-apocalyptic literature. Today there is a revival of this genre. Probably because adventure and the possibility of starting all-over have a kind of charm. Maybe the most notorious example is Cormac McCarthy who received the Pulitzer-Price for his novel 'The Road'. In this collection, you won't find stories where an invasion by Aliens or an uprising of Zombies are responsible for wastelands all over the globe. The editor of this anthology, John Joseph Adams, says that they could be the subject for another anthology. The best thing I can do right now is to give you the name of each author and the title of his/her story. The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King Salvage - Orson Scott Card The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels - George R.R. Martin Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S. Buckell Never Despair - Jack McDevitt When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt Still Life with Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion Mute - Gene Wolfe Inertia - Nancy Kress And the Deep blue Sea - Elisabeth Bear Speech Sounds - Octavia E. Butler Killers - Carol Emshwiller Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus - Neal Barret, Jr. The End of the World as we Know It - Dale Bailey A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are a few stories that drag and dissapoint but there are others that keep you wanting to know more about that world. Very solid collection of readings and lots of fun read. Great book to pick up.
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bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An anthology of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic short stories. As is usually the case with anthologies, I found some of these more satisfying than others, although all of them were well-written. A surprising number of them have only very lightly sketched-out apocalyptic settings, which was sometimes disappointing, and several left me wondering quite what the point was supposed to be. But the best of them are wonderfully original and memorable, making the book as a whole feel well worth my time.The highlights:"The People of Sand and Slag" by Paolo Bacigalipi. This one, which features indestructible people living happily in a toxic landscape, seriously got under my skin. I found it incredibly depressing and bleak, mostly because the characters have only the faintest inkling of what they've lost, and no idea of how depressing and bleak it is."When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" by Cory Doctorow, about a group of computer nerds keeping the internet up while the rest of the world is collapsing, was admittedly a bit ridiculous, but it entertained me greatly with its geekiness."Judgment Passed" by Jerry Oltion introduces us to a small group of people, mostly agnostics, who have apparently missed the Christian Rapture by not being on the planet at the time. Religious folks might be justifiably annoyed at this one, but atheistic me couldn't help enjoying it."Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler. In this story, the civilization-destroying plague robs people of the power of speech, making it probably the most creatively horrific doomsday scenario in the collection.And "The End of the World As We Know It" by Dale Bailey. This one is a sort of meta-end-of-the-world story that skillfully reminds us that the world is always ending for somebody.
eleanor_eader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This anthology of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic tales is fantastically bleak, enjoyable, readable fare; small masterworks of the contributing authors who rise to, and above, the challenges of this theme. While none of the stories are unique to this volume, Stephen King¿s story The End of the Whole Mess is the only one I¿d read before, and I was delighted to find that it heralds an equally strong 21 tales, and ¿ a rather nice touch - a `further reading¿ list of novels in the genre at the back. I will briefly mention my favourite stories (barring the King, because I¿m a constant reader which more or less equals `biased fangirl¿): The People of Sand and Slag by Paolo Bacigalupi is a sad and gut-churning little tale of the end of humanity, despite the tech-evolutionary advantages that have ensured its survival¿like so much of the genre, this is one to think on for a while after reading. The last tale in the book, Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of Purple Flowers by John Langan is a fabulous read with a nice shivery imagery running through it; like the earlier The End of the World as we Know it by Dale Bailey, this one has a slight tongue-in-cheek meta-fiction feel, but as the author says `I admired what he¿d [Bailey] achieved, but I also felt a bit of rivalry, a desire to show that no everyone would roll over and go gently into that good night¿. I found Mute by Gene Wolfe quite frightening, the premise of Judgement Passed by Jerry Oltion amusing and unnerving by turns.This is one not only one of my favourite sci-fi volumes, but my favourite collection of short stories by multiple contributors¿ so often these are hampered by `filler¿ or weaker stories and I cannot emphasise enough how even the stories that I didn¿t enjoy as much as the best ones, left me wanting to explore their particular take on the end of the world in more detail making this collection an apocalyptic powerhouse of ways to end the world.
CKmtl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction. The wonderful entries more than made up for the couple that didn't work very well for me.On the plus side: the geeky delight of Doctorow's When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth, the brutal bizarreness of Bacigalupi's The People of Sand and Slag, the respectively silent and lightless worlds of Butler's Speech Sounds and Martin's Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels, and Bailey's meta-analysis-peppered The End of the World as We Know It.On the minus: the Mormon factor in Card's Salvage didn't do much for me (it struck me as very "Apocalypse--Now with 100% more Mormons!"). Also, the breathless style of Langan's Episode Seven just plain wore me out. If its page-spanning sentences (lots of parentheses, commas, dashes) were meant to create a rushed stream-of-consciousness feel, I suppose it succeeded. It worked extremely well at the very end, but the first 90% of the story were exhausting to read.Prospective readers should note that not all of the stories are action-y, lone-survivor stories, or set in the midst of an occurring apocalypse. While some do fit that bill, most are set in a world where the eradication was not so near-total.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this collection of post-apocalyptic short stories. Some I've read before, but all was well written. The End of the Whole Mess -Stephen King. A cure for man's bad behavior might also be its down fall. Its well written, enjoyable characters. Stephen King knows how to write a short story.Salvage - Orson Scott Card. I read this in Folk of the Fringe. I didn't like it then, and skipped it.The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi - This is another story I've read. This story sticks with you - I think its the only story in this anthology where humanity lost its humanity to survive.Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert - I think the story was too vague about exactly who what was going on and why the new family was hated. I didn't really enjoy it. How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem. Another story I've read. Its well written, typical two teens trying to survive together. The endurance race with internet is a nice touch :)Dark, Dark Were The Tunnels - George R.R. Martin. Spacing fairing man comes back to earth and finds evolved/devolved humanity in tunnels and doesn't understand.Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S. Buckell. Humanity is the mend, girl trying to find a better life against the wishes of her parents. Well written, quite light. Never Despair - Jack McDevitt - Again, humanity is on the mend, starting to explore. One of these explorers, treasure hunters, meets an artificial intelligence, temporarily turned on. When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow. This story is scary. It takes place in the now, and one of the few stories where the apocalypse actually happens. Nice touch adding Google to the story.The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt. Scary story about something mixing DNA to form strange new creatures. Unfortunately, this isn't plausible. The story is good, but it doesn't make sense. Most of the creatures would have a short, short life or dead before born.Still Life with Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey. When the world ends, how to pick up the pieces. Is it meaningful?Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells. A wonderful story about the last of humanity, the poor, the unskilled, trying to survive as the rich and powerful take off too other worlds. King Arther inspires these characters.Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion. Astronauts come back to earth and find that they are left behind after Revelation. Are they meant to repopulate the earth, was it God? This is a very thought provoking story.Mute - Gene Wolfe. I'm not sure its post-apoclyptic. It feels more like the kids are in purgatory. I'm not sure if it should have been included in this collection. The story is well written though.Inertia - Nancy Kress. Is a disfiguring illness also a blessing to humanity in disguise? Another well written story that should not be missed.And The Deep Blue Sea - Elizabeth Bear. The world is a radiation filled hell hole. The main character sells her soul to the Devil for a meaningful employment, but when he comes calling, she needs to make a choice.Speech Sounds - Octavia Butler. A truly moving story about a devastating illness that takes away a persons ability to communicate. This story made me almost cry. But, there is hope at the end.Killers - Carol Emshwiller. A twisty little story about life where the fight for terrorism is brought to the home front. Along with climate change, we meet a lady in a community that Seems to be holding its own and its own humanity...Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus - This is a humorous take on post-apocalyptic story. Includes suspicious androids, a gun happy possum, and a mechanic in love, with a side of poker. Fun story. The End of the World As We Know It - The world ends, but not the way its portrayed in TV. The last known survivors, a man and woman also survive, but not to go forth and be fruitful.A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg. Culture goes away, bye bye piano, libraries, art gallery. Quite typical.Episode Seven: Against the Pack
Antares1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse is a collections of short stories dealing with the aftermath of the end of the world. As is usual with anthologies some were interesting others not so much. The Stephen King contribution had been made into a TV episode, so it was familiar before I'd gone more than a paragraph. Octavia Butler's contribution was also haunting, but from the descriptions I'm not sure I'd like her other novels. I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I can't really point out the others I found interesting. There were a couple that I found rather distasteful. One involved genetically changed humans that were in effect no longer human. I hope that sort of future would never come to pass. If we're willing to sacrifice our reverence for life, then I hope I don't survive to that future.
kevin277 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brilliant collection. The future is full of possiblities, but these are tales of darker imaginings. Some of the most renowned authors give their own spin on what happens after the End. Some speculate that humanity would survive the collapse of civilisation, others question what we would become. Although the Apocalypse might arrive in many different ways, these stories offer hope and a warning to appreciate what we have now. A great read for any forward thinking person, who sometimes wonders what the future will bring.
jewboysrevenge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When reading the back cover of this book, it looks terrible, like classic bad sci-fi. Then you look at the list of authors and realize the luminaries involved. The stories are varied and well-written, and it is one of the better anthologies out there.
SpongeBobFishpants on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Without question this was one the best books of the last 5 years. Although not a big fan of short stories for the obvious reason, (they end far to quickly when they are good) I was thrilled with the selection included in this anthology. So often it seems, anthology editors believe that "good" is synonymous with "so obtuse as to be nearly incomprehensible". As if style were indeed far more important than content. Thankfully Adams avoids this and has put together one of the best anthologies in the genre that I have seen. Although I was initially a bit cautious, once I began reading I found it nearly impossible to put down. There were only 2 or 3 stories I might be inclined to call "clunkers", the rest falling into a range between "pretty good" and "Whoa, who was THAT author and what the hell else did they write?" Adams includes a bibliography of sorts at the end of the book that lists a fair number of classic and newer tales of the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic genre. Definitely a good start but by no means definitive. I strongly urge anyone who is either interested in exploring the genre or is a devotee from way back to give this one a try. I suspect you will love it.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For a retrospective of the post-apocalyptic story ¿ and of the best contemporary science fiction and horror authors dabbling in the sub-genre ¿ you can¿t do much better than this collection. In most anthologies, you might expect to find a couple of excellent stories, a couple of clunkers and many just middling. But Wastelands contains more than a fair number of excellent stores, and not a clunker among them. The story styles range from hard SF to haunted-house horror, from meta-fiction to urban fantasy. These authors examine post-apocalyptic surviving from every angle, from the religious to the post-human to the mundane.While some selections may be familiar to many readers ¿ such as Stephen King¿s ¿The End of the Whole Mess¿ and Orson Scott Card¿s ¿Salvage¿, which open the volume ¿ Wastelands also may introduce you to many new authors. Stand-outs include ¿The People of Sand and Slag¿ by Paolo Bacigalupi, a chilling portrayal of post-humanism; ¿The Last of the O-Forms¿ by James Van Pelt, a story of genetic mutation in the style of Ray Bradbury; ¿Speech Sounds¿ by Octavia Butler, which posits the loss of human language; ¿Killers¿ by Carol Emshwiller, a dark tale of survival following an endless war; and probably my favorite, ¿The End of the World as We Know It,¿ a slyly metafictional piece that pays homage to the sub-genre as a whole. But as I said, there is not a clunker here ¿ every story in Wastelands is definitely worth reading.
Spiceca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For anyone interested in the post-apocalyptic or dystopian genre this is a great addition to your collection. All of the stories contained were at minimum 3 stars worth. Many were much better than average. The editor also includes a list of recommended reading for those interested in this genre which (while will eventually be outdated) was a very nice touch. Great collection and highly recommended.
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just as the title implies, this anthology compiles apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories by authors such as Stephen King, Octavia E. Butler, Gene Wolf, Orson Scott Card, and others (most of the authors have published apocalyptic novels of some sort). While all the stories deal with the same subject matter, the form of apocalypse varies vastly, as does the tone, which can range from terrifying to despondent to hopeful. Because the collection features well-established authors, the quality of writing is consistent throughout. Though certain stories did not appeal to me for one reason or another, this had to do with my taste preferences rather than the skill of the author, and in general, I enjoyed reading it.
sapphire--stars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very awesome collection of stories! My sweetheart found this book and bought it for me...knowing my love of post-apocalyptic fiction...and I really enjoyed it! Looking at it now I am going to add it to my re-read pile and add a better review after a revisit it. I do remember that it began with "The End of the Whole Mess" by Stephen King, a story I really like and have read many times. I recently relieved that this another compilation by John Joseph Adams, as is The Living Dead. Small world!
HeikeM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It would go to far to review every single story here, just want to say that this is quite a fantastic little collection, brilliant stories, all sorts of scenarios after the big whatever: war, virus, environmental collapse - a couple maybe not quite so great but on the whole a very good compilation. The book also includes short bios of the authors, so you can put the books of your favourites straight onto your shopping list.
Devatipan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very mixed bag indeed. The best are indeed very good (my personal favourite was the very first one - The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King, which truly creeped me out. But too many were distinctly pointless, even weak. A stronger editorial hand was definitely required!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many of the writers here grace my shelves separately with their works. As a huge consumer of the genre, I was eager to see their take on it and wasn’t disappointed. Each story is unique, each one leaving a different feeling being, and each one brilliant. None of the cheap plot devices and lazy writing typically assumed with this sub-genre: instead thoughtful and well written stories that grabbed me right from the beginning. The short intro to each by the editor was insightful as was the recommended reading section included. I strongly recommend this anthology as well as it’s follow up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About half the stories aren't worth reading, the other half vary from being extremely interesting to basically pointless