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.