Breaking an anthology like A People’s Future down into its component parts not only diminishes it, but misses out on the very purpose of its existence. This is not twenty-five individual and discrete voices; this is a holistic shout. And, let’s be clear, A People’s Future is undeniably a shout. It is not a debate or a discussion: it is a full-throated, blood-curdling scream ... the beautiful tragedy of em>A People’s Future is that it is entirely plausible… and fundamentally terrifying ... the stories are united by their outrage ... powerful anthology. This is not a book that will unify the country, nor bridge any of its many divides. In some stories, it is undeniably preachy; in others, it indulges the insular superiority of science fiction readers. But in others there are soaring heights of imagination, spirit and humanity ... As a vision—as a scream—em>A People’s Future is potent and resonant, with the potential to echo for years to come. For those it is speaking to, em>A People’s Future offers not hope, but belonging. A shared sense of outrage. A unifying call to arms. And, above all, the reassurance that now, then, and forever, you are not alone
... a stellar group of writers that represents the multicultural reality of the United States. This refreshing multicultural representation...means the stories have a broader foundation and context for the telling ... It provides a clear path to examine what the future holds and to ask questions about what legacies we're building in the present ... A People's Future of the United States...shows that the future is the result of what we are writing now.
As a whole, the collection challenges the ideas of who the people of the future United States might be—and therefore also challenges assumptions about who the people of the United States are now. While not every story here is equally strong, the best of them all have small acts of defiance and connections between the marginalized at their hearts ... A People's Future of the United States is not a simple read, nor a comfortable one. It begins from the premise that our current precarious situation will almost certainly get much worse. But within all of the futures contained here, there remain people, people whose marginalizations, whose existence on the edges of what some ideologies would think of as America, have given them profound depths of resilience. These futures are not easy. But they show us how we too might find ways to live, and live well, no matter what is coming.
Fantastic ... despite each writer working independently from one another, there is a sense they were, in fact, working from the same literary equivalent of a show bible, or a predetermined world-building script ... optimism runs deep throughout most of the stories contained in this volume, and many of them are downright hilarious and/or charming ... LaValle and co-editor John Joseph Adams do a superb job of varying length, tone, and tempo in a way that is neither jarring nor too safe and predictable. Dark stories seamlessly segue into more hopeful narratives; comedy and drama coexist, sometimes within the same tale. Moreover, while the stories do not unfold in a strictly linear fashion (which would be impossible), we do get a general sense of beginning in the not-too-distant future and traveling further and further into the decades, the millenniums, the eons, giving the anthology a narrative arc closer to a novel than a collection of disparate stories ... both timely and timeless. It is a sobering and enlightening glimpse into the tension, division, opposition, and terror characterizing the last few years, the last several years, the last hundreds of years, as well as, most likely, all the years to com ... features representations of these myriad means of resistance, making it not only an essential read for these current troubled times, but for all those troubled times yet to come.
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers... offers numerous examples of just how good that very best can be ... It’s rare for any collection, let alone one of this size, to be completely devoid of duds; most of these sorts of assemblages have at least a couple of pieces that don’t quite measure up. However, that does not seem to be the case here ... The end result is a rock-solid collection whose quality never wavers – every story is a standalone reward ... This kind of provocative and passionate writing illustrates just how valuable and powerful speculative fiction can be; these stories help show who we are by looking toward who we might become.
... not all the missiles landed where expected. Writers, of course, are notorious for not dutifully following prompts, and I doubt that many of these futures are ones we’ll want to believe in ... many of the stories are powerfully written and passionately felt, but there’s also the inescapable sense of wandering through a dystopian theme park where each ride is scarier than the last ... LaValle & Adams have assembled an impressively diverse group of contributors, not only in cultural terms but in terms of their relationships to genre.
Although every story doesn't land with the same impact, each one challenges our notions of the often-idealized American past, present, and future. No matter what the struggle or hardship, almost every character resists in his or her own way ... There are some stories where the writers seem to have pulled their punches and missed important opportunities to push readers further out of our comfort zones ... Given the wide range of themes and narrative styles, A People's Future of the United States is clearly aimed at and should appeal to more than the usual fans of speculative or science fiction.
Despite all the big names, there are great stories and not-so-great ones ... Overall, readers may find the collection to be a sort of inkblot test; those who feel optimistic about the future may find stories of fighting against oppression uplifting, but for those who already feel anxious, reading how bad things could get may be a bit nauseating ... A mixed bag of topical, speculative tales.
An outstanding collection written by 25 heavy hitters of speculative fiction, offering dazzling and often chilling glimpses of an uncertain future in which America teeters on the brink ... Each story builds a plausible extrapolation of the current world, and each character is well drawn. This bold collection is full of hope, strength, and courage, and will be welcomed by readers looking for emotional sustenance and validation of their experiences in a challenging time.