L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future
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From Publishers Weekly
The 19th installment in Hubbard's annual contest series contains more top-notch stories than last year's volume and is likely to satisfy science fiction and fantasy aficionados looking for fresh ideas and new twists on old conventions. Luc Reid's marvelous "A Ship That Bends" imagines a world that is literally flat, where seafarers try to maneuver around the edge and onto the other side. Joel Best's "Numbers," in which the essence of life can be boiled down to a single equation, has the detached, bleak feel of a Kubrick nightmare as well as the magnetism of one. Ken Liu's"Gossamer," an elegant twist on the first contact story, asks: what if we finally meet another life form, but have no idea how to communicate with them? The clear winner, however, is Jay Lake's "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night," a quirky meditation on personal freedom and responsibility that follows a cosmos-trotting pug named Wiggles as it leads a young boy on a surreal journey to the supposedly mythical Garden of the title; think William Burroughs meets Men in Black. Some stories are too long-winded like Brandon Butler's vampire tale "A Few Days North of Vienna" and Hubbard's essay on the nature of suspense meanders. Still, this engaging, if over-packed, volume should be required reading for aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
L. Ron Hubbard's legendary writing career spanned more than half a century of enduring literary achievement and creative influence, encompassing more than 250 published novels, novelettes, short stories and screenplays in every major genre. Among his best-selling and classic speculative fiction trendsetters are "Battlefield Earth," "Mission Earth," "Fear" and "Final Blackout."
Algis Budrys has been over the years, the Editor in Chief of Regency Books, Playboy Press, all the titles at Woodall's Trailer Travel publications and L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
When the story starts out, the demon lives in the waters beneath Charon's boat (in the River Styx), where he often interrupts the Charon's job ferrying the dead across the water. While toying with a deceased soul, the demon is conjured into the Elenora, a woman who has apparently gained some skill as a witch. Elenora wants to use the demon in a plot to torment, torture and then kill the Miara, her brother's new wife. She is upset about the end of her incestuous relationship with her bother, and the fact that her brother's new wife will replace her as the heir to his great fortune.
Conjured by Elenora, the demon's body remains in her cellar within a chalked five-point star and circle of candles, while Elenora commands the demon's ethereal spirit to accompany her on her devious errands. The demon's ethereal self has impressive power to direct suggestions and temptations to other people.
Elenora's evil designs and the demon's lustful impulses cause pain in the lives of all those they encounter in the execution of the Elenora's plan to regain her place as the only woman in her brother's life. But the demon's own cruel actions shock him into a remembrance of when he was mortal youth, before he died and was consigned to his demon state. His recalls the event when, as a young soldier, he let violent and sexual urges overcome him to victimize a fleeing civilian woman -- an act which transformed him into a monster even while he was still human. The demon is also affected by the nobility and goodness within Miara, and even by the deeply hidden honor and ethical sense within Elenora's outwardly soulless brother. Eventually the story, which has intentionally shocked with depravity, reveals a shocking amount of redemption and morality.
I would put the stories in four categories of excellence (well, three of excellence and one of crap).
Group One: The best
Walking Rain - Ian Keane's tale of supernatural beings in present day America, reminiscent (but not derivative) of American Gods, is compelling. The writing is lush, the characterizations beautiful. Hands down the best of the best. I can't say enough about this story. The book is worth buying for this story alone.
Into The Gardens of Sweet Night - Algis Budrys weaves a fairy tale-like tapestry of words as a boy takes a fantastic journey into the sky looking for the fabled gardens. Sometimes the discussions on freedom get a bit thick, but still great.
Blood and Horses - Myke Cole brings us a story of military sf where rebels riding horses seek the oil that gives life, losing their own blood fighting against a technically far superior opponent.
Group Two: The very excellent (in no particular order)
From All the Work Which He Had Made - Michael Churchman's style is strikingly odd at first, but within a page he had made me a convert with this interesting tale about the development of a humanoid robot exploring the questions of his soul.
Dark Harvest - Geoffrey Girard brings us a story about what happens when you find your worst nightmare dying in a field, and it becomes a tourist attraction. Excellent writing, and a wonderful story.
Beautiful Singer - Steve Bein's story of a haunted sword is elegant in its way of presenting feudal Japanese culture and characters.Read more ›
Fortunately, this volume is one of the rare exceptions. Boy does it have terrific stories!
I too am also a contestant trying to get into this superb anthology. I've read and entered since the beginning, though with inconsistent output. Let's hope I and the others who haven't gotten a chance yet to be recognized for their writing/yarning talent will be in next year's anthology.
There's only one niggling afterthought that I have to express here. Is it me, or have the L. Ron Hubbard "How to write" articles within the newer volumes become increasingly obscure and irrelevant? Bring back the more basic articles that graced the first ten volumes of this anthology series, please!
Overall, top-notch work!
Most recent customer reviews
While I do not get a chance to read much science fiction, I decided to pick up this book mainly because I enjoy short stories. And I must say that this book surprised me. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2003
It's not perfect but I found this anthology very satisfying. When every single one of the stories is able to take me somewhere interesting, then the anthology is worth the money.. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2002
I've now read all the books through Volume 15 of this series and am very impressed with the continued high quality of both the fiction and the articles. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2000 by mjames
I love short story anthologies and this is a book packed with good stories. from "Blade of the Bunny" to a thought provoking "The Price of Tea in China" every... Read morePublished on March 2 2000 by K. Moots