Seeds of Change
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Beboy
Review by Gayle Surrette
Prime Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780809573103
Date: 29 August 2008 List Price $19.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Seeds of Change is an anthology where each of the nine authors deals with a pivotal issue that faces us today. Each of the stories is just a bit in the future, but a future built on a thread found today and taken to its conclusion. Each story has a short introduction or set up for the reader. Authors in this anthology include: Jay Lake, Ted Kosmatka, K.D. Wentworth, Blake Charlton, Ken MacLeod, Jeremiah Tolbert, Mark Budz, Nnedi Okarafor-Mbachu, and Tobias S. Buckkell.
There are nine stories in this work and they're all excellent. Some of the stories hit me harder than others, but that's pretty much to be expected. What I didn't expect is how long it took me to read through the stories -- not because they didn't hold my attention, but because as I finished each story I found myself having to close the book and think about them for a while. Some haunted me longer than others but they all resonate with the problems splashed across our newspapers and science journals.
The first story in the book, "N-words" by Ted Kosmatka is a short work about a woman who is grieving for her husband. Because of her husband's death, her estrangement from her sister has been somewhat healed. As our viewpoint character, the grieving widow gives us the context of her husband's death as she remembers events from her past. Genetic engineering has advanced enough that scientists brought back Neanderthals, only they weren't what was expected and integrating them into society didn't go as smoothly as they'd expected.
"Drinking problem" by K.D. Wentworth is an amusing tale of what happens when, to cut down on recycling, you are assigned a bottle to hold your beverage and you must carry it with you or it sounds an alert. The bottle also talks. Remember those annoying soda dispensing machines? These are a lot worse. How people react to their bottles makes for a quirky but interesting story.
Blake Charlton in "endosymbiont" has given us a bittersweet story of a young girl dying of brain cancer. Her parents react in different ways trying to help her. But all is not as it seems. There's a strong theme of responsibility, choice, and morality woven throughout. This is one that's not easily forgotten.
I think you get the idea, these are not your usual short stories -- each one is a true gem. If you haven't already found this book on the shelves, go look for it now. It will supply hours of absorbing reading and lots of food for thought.