They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

  • Mood:

Writers of the Future Volume XXV

Table of Contents
"Gardens of Tian Zi" by Emery Huang (Gold Prize Winner)
illustrated by Douglas Bosley
"The Shadow Man" by Donald Mead
illustrated by Brianne Hills
"Life in Steam" by Grá Linnaea
illustrated by Ryan Behrens
"The Assignment of Runner ETI" by Fiona Lehn
illustrated by A.R. Stone
"The Candy Store" by Heather McDougal
illustrated by Jamie Luhn
"Risqueman" by Mike Wood
illustrated by Evan Jensen
"Gray Queen Homecoming" by Schon M. Zwakman
illustrated by Tobias A. Fruge
"The Dizzy Bridge" by Krista Hoeppner Leahy
illustrated by Aaron Anderson
"Gone Black" by Mathew S. Rotundo
illustrated by Luke Eidenschink
"The Reflection of Memory" by C.L. Holland
illustrated by Oleksandra Barysheva (Gold Prize Winner)
"After the Final Sunset, Again" by Jordan Lapp
illustrated by Joshua J. Stewart
"The Farthest Born" by Gary Kloster
illustrated by Mark Payton

Twelve Excellent Stories and Twelve Excellent Illustrations

This afternoon I finished reading Writers of the Future Volume XXV. Good job, everyone! I have to say that I am split in mind -- and for a very good reason. Having attended the Writers of the Future XXIV Event and Workshop, Volume XXIV is always going to be a special collection of stories, writers and artists. We did a damned good job. But having been through that, I also have a special affinity to the latest crop, especially after watching the streaming video feed of the WOTF XXV Event. I think we had an exception class of artists in Volume XXIV -- but I also can feel the deep joy of the Volume XXV authors at the illustrations of their own stories. So I'm probably not one to judge the quality of the Volume XXV class of artists -- too biased. (grin)


"Gardens of Tian Zi" by Emery Huang (Gold Prize Winner)
illustrated by Douglas Bosley
Corporations take over the world after the collapse of governments and technology is both controlled and sold on the black market. Sure, we've seen stories like this before, but this one is exceptionally well written and vibrant in its settings. Certainly prize worthy -- congratulations -- but not my personal favorite story in the collection. Well done.

"The Shadow Man" by Donald Mead
illustrated by Brianne Hills
The shadows burned onto buildings and stone by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima are brought to life in this brilliantly told tale, which also has a darker yakuza stain running through it. Easily the most beautiful story in the collection. High praise.

"Life in Steam" by Grá Linnaea
illustrated by Ryan Behrens
Take the classic Gibson & Sterling The Difference Engine and ramp it up to including AIs, add a Church Inquistor, a steampunk universe and stir -- and you'd only have a fraction of the taste of this story. Well done.

"The Assignment of Runner ETI" by Fiona Lehn
illustrated by A.R. Stone
The details of the how and the why of this foot race develop deliciously slowly, only to have the underpinnings torn assunder. We can't stop, we can't easily go forward -- how the hell are we going to get out of this situation? I was certainly primed for this story with V for Vendetta on cable the other night. This probably is my favorite story for Volume XXV. High praise.

"The Candy Store" by Heather McDougal
illustrated by Jamie Luhn
This reminded me a lot of last year's Gold Prize story, "Bitter Dreams" by Ian McHugh, except we're in an alternate Old West instead of the Outback. Nice fantasy with a lot of tension. Would have been very predictable and maybe even boring in less capable hands. Well done.
I really liked Jamie Luhn's illustration for "The Candy Store". It's whimsical, but there is an undercurrent of something going on.

"Risqueman" by Mike Wood
illustrated by Evan Jensen
Wow. This one bites awfully close to home. Near future SF story of mathematics and statistics.
The best health advice is: Don't get sick.

And it's not an American P.O.V. Had to read Robert Silverberg's essay on WOTF to get this story out of my mind late at night. Well done.

"Gray Queen Homecoming" by Schon M. Zwakman
illustrated by Tobias A. Fruge
One of the consequences of slow star travel is that with the passage of time, can you go home again? This future is not what it seems at first, and the casual use of deceptively beautiful technology makes for both a very foreign future and a well-designed one. Well done.

"The Dizzy Bridge" by Krista Hoeppner Leahy
illustrated by Aaron Anderson
Lovely worlds building in an alternative universe which not only has a long history and backstory which is just hinted at, but a complexity which is fascinating. Nice job of making people suspicious. Well done.
The illustration by Krista Hoeppner Leahy really captures the two emotions of the bridgemaker and the little boy. It's a dark piece which positively glows in just the right place. In color, this would be an eyestopping magazine cover.

"Gone Black" by Mathew S. Rotundo
illustrated by Luke Eidenschink
Ah, finally a hard military SF story. And nicely done, too. Unlike the invading aliens in my own 29th century SF stories, these guys have captured one of the aliens, but it's not easy to keep them alive. A good military setting, too. Well done.

"The Reflection of Memory" by C.L. Holland
illustrated by Oleksandra Barysheva (Gold Prize Winner)
A fantasy world where names and the naming of things is terribly important. Sure we've seen this trope before, but there's a nice mystery tied into a fast-paced travel quest -- this could be beautifully expanded into a much longer tale. Probably my favorite straight fantasy story of the bunch. Exceptionally well done.
This was the illustration which, on the night of the WOTF XXV Event, I wanted to know how it related to the story. I'm here to tell you that Oleksandra Barysheva's splitting illustration works perfectly.

"After the Final Sunset, Again" by Jordan Lapp
illustrated by Joshua J. Stewart
First story I read in the collection, because Jordan is an online friend. A Phoenix in the City story where one constantly wonders how the hell this all got started. (grin) We'll call it my favorite urban fantasy story of the collection. Exceptionally well done.

"The Farthest Born" by Gary Kloster
illustrated by Mark Payton
A very different slow star travel with an excellent technological twist -- practically the exact opposite of all the technology in my own 29th century writings. (grin) And you think your family life is complicated? The mid-story twist is completely unexpected. Exceptionally well done.
You'd get the wrong impression of the story if you saw Mark Payton's illustration without context, but its details really dovetail the story itself. And only when I was writing this did I notice the four corner tabs, letting us know this is a photograph mounted in a scrapbook. What a nice touch.

So there you have it. The Writers of the Future Volume XXV. But don't take my word for it -- get your own copy. I think you'll be seeing these people again in the future.

Dr. Phil
Tags: anthologies, authors, books, fantasy, reviews, science fiction, wotf
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 6 comments