cover image L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 36

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 36

Edited by David Farland. Galaxy, $15.95 trade paper (450p) ISBN 978-1-61986-659-1

This hefty, competent anthology showcases 12 consistently solid short stories, each accompanied by a full-color illustration. Though Farland cites originality, plot, emotional effect, and memorability as criteria for his selections, most of these tales fit a fairly traditional mold. Several stories, including the chilling “Foundations” by Michael Gardner and “Educational Tapes” by Katie Livingston, carry today’s technology into unsettling futures. Others, such as Leah Ning’s “Yellow and Pink” and F.J. Bergmann’s “A Prize in Every Box,” explore human frailties in nightmarish worlds. Most effective emotionally are “Stolen Sky” by Storm Humbert, which features a sympathetic alien narrator, and “Trading Ghosts” by David A. Elsensohn, both of which imagine brutal choices necessitated by space travel. Though never mind-blowing, this anthology offers a worthwhile survey of new voices in the field, rounded out with four stories from established authors and three essays on craft. Genre enthusiasts should take note. (Apr.)