Ken Liu deploys a glittering bricolage of multimedia materials to chart his future of telepresence tourism in 'Jaunt' and discovers surprising sociopolitical consequences in the new recreational tech ... Especially for a younger writer, Rich Larson pulls off an amazing portrait of lonely and bitter senior citizen Ivan ... So much of Cory Doctorow’s work imagines ingenious solutions to our current binds that this anthology is a perfect fit for his talents ... Editor Lichfield wisely saves what is arguably the best story for last. 'Vaccine Season,' by Hannu Rajaniemi ... Being written so close to our daily pandemic realities, these stories risk contradicting the news on the ground here in May 2021. But their conceptual, daring and compassionate narratives overcome such niggling hazards to perform with brio and clarity the job that science fiction was always meant to do: walking the readers through the 'garden of forking paths' and assuring us that life can flourish, despite all challenges and crises, if we only deploy our imaginations.
While the stories vary in tone, setting, and, at times, historical plausibility, there are some general shared concerns common to all of the stories, primarily how societies come to be shaped to endure future pandemics ... While the anthology is understandably a little uneven, there are enough strong entries to make this worth a look for anyone interested in near-future sf.
The sober but hopeful sixth installment of hard SF anthology series Twelve Tomorrows...excels when focused on human impact, while weaker entries rely too heavily on stereotypes or invented technology ... Madeline Ashby’s uneven 'Patriotic Canadians Will Not Hoard Food!' devolves into defeating rhetorical straw men, and Ken Liu’s dry, allegorical 'Jaunt' explains ideas rather than utilizing them ... At their best, these intelligent, emotional, and vibrant stories show a compassionate way forward through an ongoing crisis.