Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead Edited by Gordon Van Gelder


Welcome to Dystopia is a collection of 45 dystopian short stories that are dark, politically charged, and unsettling.

I rarely read short stories because they almost always leave me wanting more. It’s hard for me to resist dystopia, however, so I had to see what this collection had to offer.

In case the title didn’t give readers a hint, the editor makes it plain that the current U.S. president served as inspiration for this anthology and the stories within it. That may dissuade some people from reading this book, but others will probably find it quite interesting.

Each story is set in the near future, and the way in which things have changed for the worse vary. No story has a happy ending, and each of them is chilling in its own way.

Some of the stories I liked best:

by N. Lee Wood
Two women with cancer have extremely different experiences with their cancer treatment. One lives in New Zealand, the other lives in the U.S.

The Terrific Leader by Harry Turtledove
Despite freezing and scrounging for edibles in the snow to stave off starvation, a girl eagerly looks forward to tuning in to one of the government-mandated channels to hear the Terrific Leader speak about how great everything is, was, and always will be.

Newsletter by Jennifer Marie Brissett
A bookstore owner warns patrons to keep certain books in a safe place, and that their book orders are being monitored.

We All Have Hearts of Gold© by Leo Vladimirsky
An advertising agency is tasked with selling the public on the Goldshirts, an enforcer group that “makes America safe again”, as a good thing.

Dangerous by Lisa Mason
Vaginas are dangerous and must be registered with the government.

Designed for Your Safety by Elizabeth Bourne
A high-tech building goes into lock-down mode, trapping employees, who are desperate to get out despite a deadly illness infecting people outside.

While I liked some stories more than others, the book as a whole was unputdownable for me. Anything having to do with politics is a particularly touchy subject these days, so I’ll recommend this book to open-minded readers who love dystopia.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of OR Books via Netgalley.


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Editor: Gordon Van Gelder
Title: Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead
Genre: Dystopia, Short Story, Anthology
Publication Date: January 29, 2019 by OR Books
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

Brutality, infrastructure collapse, daily threats of war: 45 writers of speculative fiction share their visions of what’s to come.

Fighting in the streets, corruption at the highest levels, thuggish police, a daily threat of nuclear war: few of us thought we’d find ourselves here, so far into the 21st century. What’s next? Are we really going to be “great again,” however that’s meant?

In this diverse and vigorous mix of original stories by newcomers and luminaries, writers offer their takes on what life might hold for us in the next few years. The resulting visions of oppression, and daily struggle are sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, but always thought-provoking.

Including stories by K. G. Anderson, Richard Bowes, Elizabeth Bourne, Scott Bradfield, J.S. Breukelaar, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Becca Caccavo, Don D’Ammassa, Stephanie Feldman, Eric James Fullilove, Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Leslie Howle, Matthew Hughes, Janis Ian, Michael Kandel, Thomas Kaufsek, Paul La Farge, Yoon Ha Lee, Michael Libling, Heather Lindsley, Lisa Mason, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, James Morrow, Ruth Nestvold, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Marguerite Reed, Robert Reed, Madeleine E. Robins, Jay Russell, Geoff Ryman, James Sallis, J. M. Sidorova, Brian Francis Slattery, Harry Turtledove, Deepak Unnikrishnan, TS Vale, Leo Vladimirsky, Ray Vukcevich, Ted White, Paul Witcover, N. Lee Wood, and Jane Yolen.

About the Author

GORDON VAN GELDER (born 1966) is an American science fiction editor. From 1997 until 2014, Van Gelder was editor and later publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, for which he has twice won the Hugo Award for Best Editor Short Form. He was also a managing editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction from 1988 to 1993, for which he was nominated for the Hugo Award a number of times. As of January 2015, Van Gelder has stepped down as editor of Fantasy & Science Fiction in favour of Charles Coleman Finlay, but remains publisher of the magazine.

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