Pub. date: June 2008
$7.99, 320 pages,
Reviewed by Danny Adams
[Editor’s Note: The following review was originally written for the October 2008 issue of Some Fantastic, which was never published. This marks its initial publication.]
Cory Doctorow has made a point of explaining his stories by saying that he doesn’t predict the future — he predicts the present. He wasn’t necessarily following any slippery slopes to someday conclusions, but rather extrapolating all of the potential consequences for things happening right now. While most of the stories in Future Americas aren’t quite that immediate, many if not most do take that next logical step. If you can genetically tailor your children, what happens if the child still doesn’t meet the standard you wanted? Are there alternatives to burial in an environmentally-challenged land? Is forensics becoming too technical at the expense of human instinct?
New York, NY: Del Rey Books, 2001; $18.00 trade paperback; 544 pp.
Reviewed by Matthew Appleton
This review originally appeared in the October 2001 issue (#158) of The New York Review of Science Fiction.
The need to wage war is a trait that nearly every human culture shares. As the ultimate extension of politics, acts of warfare wholly or partially define many of the turning points in human history. Writers throughout the ages, building upon and sometimes even borrowing from our oldest recorded myths, such as Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and The Iliad, prominently display this aspect of society. Of course, writers of military fiction pursue various agendas with widely differing results. Some celebrate war and the warrior-king, finding noble truths and actions on the battlefield, while others, at the other end of the spectrum, pointedly portray the horrors of war and the acts of individual depravity that occur during warfare. Yet, throughout that spectrum there is a constant: You learn about the human condition when you study individuals at war.