Make Shift: Dispatches from the Post-pandemic Future

Edited by Gideon Lichfield. MIT, $19.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-262-54240-1
The sober but hopeful sixth installment of hard SF anthology series Twelve Tomorrows (after Entanglements) offers visions of “more resilient, more just” post-Covid futures. Editor Lichfield’s international lineup 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. But a breathtaking portrayal of parental intimacy anchors Indrapramit Das’s Murakami-esque “A Necessary Being,” which traces Kolkata’s rewilding through the eyes of a lost girl and the mecha pilot who adopts her. The Sherlockian “The Price of Attention” by Karl Schroeder, about an autistic forensics consultant’s kidnapping case, is a soulful tribute to coping and growth. Adrian Hon delicately explores the nuances of self-governance movements, diaspora, and how art meets technology in the standout “Little Kowloon.” Also included is Wade Roush’s interview with Afrofuturist Ytasha L. Womack, which reframes short fiction as “a way of problem-solving futures.” At their best, these intelligent, emotional, and vibrant stories show a compassionate way forward through an ongoing crisis. (May)
Reviewed on : 01/25/2021
Release date: 05/04/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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