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Diverse Energies [Kindle Edition]

K. Tempest Bradford , Rahul Kanakia , Malinda Lo , Cindy Pon , Paolo Bacigalupi , Ursula K. Le Guin , Ken Liu , Rajan Khanna , Tobias S. Buckell , Joe Monti
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

“No one can doubt that the wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. No one can doubt that cooperation in the pursuit of knowledge must lead to freedom of the mind and freedom of the soul.”
—President John F. Kennedy, from a speech at University of California, March 23, 1962

In a world gone wrong, heroes and villains are not always easy to distinguish. Here is a collection of stunning original and rediscovered stories of hope and tragedy that pit students, street kids, “good girls,” kidnappers, and child laborers against their environments, their governments, and sometimes themselves as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future in the stars with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction.

The editors of this volume are setting aside a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, which enables writers of color to attend a Clarion writing workshop, where legendary Octavia Butler got her start.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 452 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (14 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009R9XFP2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #710,008 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: Diverse Energies 31 Jan. 2013
I'm not the hugest fan of short stories. I think there's a really fine balance between a story not worth telling and a story worth giving a novel's worth of words to develop. Balanced on the knife edge between those two things are the really successful short stories.

That doesn't mean to say I don't enjoy a lot of short stories I read - it's just generally I enjoy them with a pinch of resentment, wishing that I had 300 pages, not 15. Most of the stories in Diverse Energies are no exception.

The premise of a culturally diverse book featuring protagonists from all cultures, with a bit of LGBT thrown in for good measure, was dreamt up in response to apparent `whitewashing' of YA literature. I can't say I know much about this, in all honesty, except to say that a lot of the YA books I read feature white, straight protagonists. I expect this has a lot to do with the fact that so many prominent YA writers are white and straight than inherent racism and homophobia in the genre - as the saying goes: write what you know, and I don't feel we should criticise authors for doing that. But, equally, we shouldn't pass over culturally diverse fiction, or LGBT fiction, just because of current trends. Who's to say such a book wouldn't start the next trend, anyway?

Diverse Energies, then, reads like a perfect sampler of different authors who write in these fields. I can't say I didn't enjoy reading any of the stories in the collection, despite my sometimes frustration that they were only short, though Ursula Le Guin and Daniel H. Wilson's offerings were my particular favourites. Each story was exactly what it promised to be - a little pocket of another culture in a dystopian future, equal parts fascinating and frightening in most instances.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining science fiction anthology with a multi-racial theme 23 Nov. 2012
By CurlyGeek04 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. It's a science fiction anthology that includes stories from Paolo Bacigalupi and Ursula LeGuin. While I don't read a lot of anthologies, I like the idea of finding new authors to read. The theme of this anthology is diversity. Its editor, Tobias S. Buckell, who is Caribbean and British, explains that he wants science fiction to represent many races and cultures, not just one.

This anthology introduced me to new ideas and authors, and scary visions of the future that could very well exist. I skipped around a little, and there are a couple of stories I didn't finish. A few stories I didn't like at first but once I gave them ten pages I was deeply drawn into them. I definitely enjoyed the book as a whole, not just for the statement it's making, but because it's good sci-fi/dystopian fiction. If you like your science fiction heavy on science and technology, this won't be the book for you. But if you're looking for good fiction about strange worlds and cultures, or what race and class conflicts might look like in the future, you'll enjoy this.

Some of my favorites:
"The Last Day" by Ellen Oh. Set in Japan, this story is the closest thing I've ever seen to what it might feel like to be around when a nuclear bomb goes off. I won't forget this story any time soon.
"Good Girl" by Malinda Lo. About a dystopian future where mixed-ethnicity people are considered to have terminal illnesses and forced to live underground. And there's an outside world that nobody's seen.
"A Pocket Full of Dharma" by Paolo Bacigalupi. If you've read Pump Six, Bacigalupi's book of short stories, you'll be disappointed because this story comes from that book. A fascinating story though and one of the best in this collection. Bacigalupi's writing really stands out here, and if you haven't read anything by him, this is a great place to start.
"Blue Skies" by Cindy Pon. A story of the futuristic divide between haves and have-nots. In this story, the "haves" (ten percent of the population) breathe through oxygen tanks and have all kinds of futuristic technology where the "have nots" are lucky if they live till thirty. But the real story here is about a brief human interaction between the two classes.
"Solitude" by Ursula LeGuin. I've had trouble reading LeGuin, having started two of her books and put them both down. This story was different. It's about a woman who is a field ethnologist, someone who studies different cultures. She finds a culture that is extremely difficult to communicate with, and the only way to learn about them is to reside in their village with her two young children. During the time she stays there, her children become so integrated into the culture it becomes impossible to take them from it.

I also enjoyed stories by Ken Liu, Rahul Kanakia, and Rajan Khanna. There were just a few I didn't care for - a couple were too action-oriented for my tastes, and one started out really interesting but lost me after a while.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark dystopian short stories. 13 Feb. 2013
By Tanya Patrice - Published on
A dark collection of dystopian short stories, with diverse settings & characters - some stories I loved more than others, but overall, I would recommend this book. Below is a recap mf my thoughts on each of the stories.

The Last Day, Ellen Oh. What a way to start off this collection of short stories. This dystopian society is damn dreary and depressing ... kind of the tone of the entire collection. It's an alternate history of WWII set in Japan. The World has been divided into 2 super-powers - The President of the West and The Emperor of the East - and they are at war. Nobody is winning, and The Emperor has resorted to forcibly drafting kids as young as 12.

Freshee's Frogurt, Daniel H. Wilson. This story seemed out of place, lacking both diversity and a strong dystopian society. In it, a convenience store clerk tells a detective how he ended up in the hospital thanks to a malfunctioning domestic robot ... apparently the first of many incidents. This is an exerpt from Robopocalypse.

Uncertainty Principle, K. Tempest Bradford. Excellent story that left me hoping this gets turned into a full length novel. A teenager, Iliana, experiences 'temporal shifts' where she experiences something that causes a change in the World, but nobody else sees it.

Pattern Recognition, Ken Liu. Kids in an orphanage are told that they've been rescued from a hellish world outside, and are made to play video games all day. But only later do the children find out the truth. Gripping, and I liked the emotional conflict at the end - are they being used and abused, or are they better off because they have been removed from their damaged environments?!

Gods of the Dimming Light, Greg van Eekhout. This story felt woefully short and a bit contrived to me, and it wasn't one of my favorites. Edward, a teenager, decided to participate in a research study for some money, but it's not what he thinks.

Next Door, Rahul Kanakia. The rich in this society have the technology to live in a virtual world, ignoring the poor, destitute & filthiness of their society. This story follows a boy and his boyfriend as they try to find the perfect (i.e. non-bug infested) location for their next squat. But, it doesn't look good for them at the end. This is my favorite (dark) dystopian society featured in the book - not my favorite story though as I thought it a bit rambling at times.

Good Girl, Malinda Lo. One of my favorite stories. In this society, racial purity is celebrated, and if you have the features of a "mixed race" it makes you an outcast. Kyle, is searching for her brother who vanished a few months before. Her search leads her to Nix, who lives under-ground, and claims to have information on where he went.

A Pocket Full of Dharma, Paolo Bacigalupi. The soul of the Dalai Lama has been placed in a computer program, up for sale to the highest bidder, and it winds up in the hands of a beggar. I don't know what to think of this story - it was well told but lacked a d...

Blue Skies, Cindy Pon. In an environmentally devastated future Taiwan, a boy kidnaps a rich girl for ransom. I loved the build-up but the ending left me flat. Would have loved to have seen a little more about the Stockholm Syndrome that the rich girl seemed to have been developing.

What Arms to Hold Us, Rajan Khanna. Indian children are slave labor in a mine, where their bodies are linked to a robot used for the actual physical labor, but it wears the kids down quickly. A bit predictable as to what is going to happen, but still an interesting story. Also liked that the author left it up to us to figure out if the "good guy" is actually "good" or if the "bad guy" is "bad."

Solitude, Ursula Le Guin. This is the one story in the collection where the World is both a utopia for one person and a dystopia for another. It's a perfect example of the way different cultures struggle to see through each others' eyes. An anthropologist goes to a planet with her two young children to study the ways of a culture that seems to have no community. The mother and older son learn a lot about the culture; the young daughter becomes part of it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but enjoyable 4 Jan. 2013
By Jen @ The Bevy Bibliotheque - Published on
Oh anthologies... you are so difficult to review. Diverse Energies was an anthology that appealed to me because I usually do enjoy dystopian stories, but have been a little burnt out on them and it focused on stories from underrepresented cultures.

But the thing about reviewing anthologies is that I feel differently about all of the stories in it. I thought that some were very strong and some seemed very weak. The anthology opened on a strong note with Ellen Oh's The Last Day, though and with that note in mind, I kept reading even when the stories were a bit weaker. But let's break it down to the strongest and the weakest points...

Favorite stories:

Good Girl by Malinda Lo- Lo managed to create a vivid and bleak world in only pages and the allure between Kyle and Nix jumps from the page.

Blue Skies by Cindy Pon- Her main character is so interesting. He does something technically "bad," but I couldn't judge him for it. I loved how so much of this story is about just... wistfulness, I guess? That's not quite the right word, but that's close to it. Pon's character wants higher standing, wants blue skies and I loved the ending to the story as well.

Least favorite story:

Freshee's Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson- I nearly put the book down and this was the second story. I kept having to remind myself that the first story was strong, and I'm glad I did so as I discovered several stories that I really enjoyed. Freshee's Frogurt was told like a police interview and seemed so stilted. Perhaps because it's technically all dialogue, but the voice of the main character in this anthology irritated me beyond measure.

To sum up: A little uneven, but that tends to happen in anthologies. I'd recommend this one if you're tiring of dystopians. You can get quick doses of the genre this way instead of overwhelming yourself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Diverse Dystopian Short Stories 19 April 2014
By Crystal - Published on
Review Copy: purchased

I was excited to get my hands on Diverse Energies. Dystopia is an area of young adult literature that has been flourishing over the past few years especially following the release of The Hunger Games, but there is still a need for more works featuring protagonists from diverse backgrounds. To spell it out more clearly, it would be great to see more young adult dystopias with protagonists that are something other than straight white teens. With Diverse Energies, the editors and contributors were hoping to help fill this need and create change in the landscape of young adult science fiction.

Before the stories begin, readers find a quote from John F. Kennedy: "The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men." This demonstrates the spirit of this book. There is a high value placed on diversity. The stories shared here reveal the strength and beauty of that diversity even in the midst of chaos.

Dystopian stories typically have a corrupt entity taking unfair advantage of the masses often after war or another apocalyptic event. Since that is a fairly standard storyline, I was wondering how unique these short stories could be. It turns out that the voices were distinct and each one has a different storyline with its own particular flavor. There are stories of war, rebellious robots, child slavery, extreme economic disparity, time travel, among others.

Most of the stories manage to end with a bit of hope, but like many dystopians, they are all pretty bleak so they do tug on emotions. In the very first story by Ellen Oh, the pain took me by surprise. I didn't expect so much intensity right away. These authors meant business. The very next story, Freshee's Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson, is told in a lighter tone though the subject matter is also intense. I appreciated hearing the stories told in radically different ways.

An anthology for me is like an appetizer sampler. The variety almost ensures that there will be something to appeal to everyone. Also, there isn't such a large investment required of the reader when stories are so brief. I was happy to meet some new authors through this book and will be seeking out more of their works.

Recommendation: Dystopian fans buy it now and even if you aren't a dystopian fan, I would recommend you read it soon. The worlds and characters are rich and it is amazing to see what the authors have imagined into being within just a few pages.

Review originally published at Rich in Color [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent Anthology 4 July 2013
By Jon (Scott Reads It!) - Published on
Thank you Tu Books for a review copy of
this book in exchange for a honest review.

The problem with reviewing anthologies is that usually the stories are extremely inconsistent and uneven. Diverse Energies' stories range from excellent page turners to absolutely terrible stories that I could barely read. All of the stories feature people of diverse ethnicities, it was definitely nice to read about POCs for a change.

My Favorites:

Freshee's Frogurt by Daniel H. Wilson - This short story is actually an excerpt from Robopocalypse, a book that I've had on my "To-Read" list for a while. This story is in the form of an interview, "World War-Z" style, and it is 100% mindless fun. I definitely need to read Robopocalypse soon.

Gods Of The Dimming Light by Greg Van Eekhout- This story was so unusual and original! I love how Norse mythology was incorporated into it and I'll definitely check out the author's novels.

Good Girl by Malinda Lo - A strange story that reminded me of Enclave for some reason, but it still was pretty original. This story features an unconventional LGBT romance which was interesting to read.

Not-So-Good Stories:

A Pocket Full Of Dharma by Paolo Bacigalupi - I expected alot more from this short story considering how popular Shipbreaker is. This story was pretty generic and was nothing special.

Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin - This story was so uninteresting and I couldn't bear to read any more of it. I actually quit reading this story because I was so bored out of my mind.
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