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on 30 March 2010
This is a collection of 22 short studies (and some recommendations for further reading) that all share the post-apocalyptic genre. There are some great stories in here, but also a few that either don't really belong here or that I personally didn't really enjoy. A lot of the authors will be familiar to fans of apocalyptic fiction as they have often written well known full length stories of a similar nature.

Almost all of these stories are set many years, or even generations, after some sort of disaster. The disasters are quite varied in nature, and not even specified or important in some cases, and the stories are mostly quite imaginitive in terms of the premises on which they are based. However, a lot of them simply weren't that interesting to me or didn't really go anywhere. If you're a fan of the genre then you will probably find something you like here, but I recommend that you try 'Beyond Armageddon' first if you haven't already. It's a similar compilation edited by Walter Miller.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 April 2009
Like another reviewer has said, I'm not really a short story fan...... usually. I am however, a fan of post apocalyptic/end of the world/last man standing type fiction, so chose this book hoping to find a few good stories to tide me over until I found my next 'currently reading'.

The stories have been well selected and although they all follow a similar subject matter, they're all so different and even the very, very short stories stay with you after you've read them. It was interesting to find a few new takes on the genre and for this reason I'm glad I read 'Wastelands'. These stories have helped me find a few new branches to head along and broaden the subject for me.

This is the perfect book to have by your bedside, for those times when you only want to dip into a book....but be warned, even with the best intentions of "I'll just read one story to wind down before I drift off" can turn into ".....maybe I'll just read one more little story THEN I'll call it a night......or perhaps just a couple more....."

This is a great book for anyone familiar with the genre, but equally if you're new to this type of subject it's a gentle lead in to some of the best SF writers around.

What I really liked was the index at the end which gives further suggested reading lists. All books should come as standard with one of these. I had already found and devoured most of the further reading list given, but there were a couple that have now been added to my 'to be read' list.

Get this book whether you're familiar with the subject and looking for new paths or you're new to the subject and looking to explore it. There's something for everyone here.
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on 20 September 2011
I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in the post-apocalyptic genre. Its full of interesting and often very personal ideas of the fears and thrills one can expect of life after the end of the western world as we know it, and offers a series of snapshots into very different worlds.
Some are completely post-apocalyptic, set hundreds of years after the often forgotten cataclysmic events, while others speak of the end of the world as if they are within living memory.
Altogether a brilliant compendium of the genre, definitely worth buying.

My only grumble is the lack of work from other nationalities, leaving this book a soley western, and by this I mean American, end of days view. Amazing still is how very different the visions are from people of the same nationality.

Buy it, you will love it.
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on 30 July 2008
Somebody once said that after a disaster there is always at least one survivor to tell the story to others. But what if you are the sole survivor and there is no-one else on Earth to talk to?

Long ago I read a SF-story (or should I say a post-apocalyptic story? Oh well, what's in a name?) about a man who was not only the sole survivor of the human species but of all existing life including vegetation. Because of his injuries he could only crawl. After several months he finally reached the Ocean, crawled into the water and died. His decomposing body would provide the Ocean with atoms and molecules so that in a far future, new life could emerge from it.

Because of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Cold War, post-apocalyptic literature was popular. But the fall of the Berlin Wall meant also the end of post-apocalyptic literature.

Today there is a revival of this genre. Probably because adventure and the possibility of starting all-over have a kind of charm. Maybe the most notorious example is Cormac McCarthy who received the Pulitzer-Price for his novel 'The Road'.

In this collection, you won't find stories where an invasion by Aliens or an uprising of Zombies are responsible for wastelands all over the globe. The editor of this anthology, John Joseph Adams, says that they could be the subject for another anthology.
The best thing I can do right now is to give you the name of each author and the title of his/her story.

The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King
Salvage - Orson Scott Card
The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi
Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert
How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem
Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels - George R.R. Martin
Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S. Buckell
Never Despair - Jack McDevitt
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow
The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt
Still Life with Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey
Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells
Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion
Mute - Gene Wolfe
Inertia - Nancy Kress
And the Deep blue Sea - Elisabeth Bear
Speech Sounds - Octavia E. Butler
Killers - Carol Emshwiller
Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus - Neal Barret, Jr.
The End of the World as we Know It - Dale Bailey
A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg
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on 9 December 2014
As a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction I have contemplated picking up “Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse” many times. However, when the 2014 eclectic reader challenge required me to read an anthology I decided that the time was right to finally procure it.

The book contains quite a varied cross-section of the apocalyptic sub-genre although they all lean towards a more “realistic” science fiction basis. Therefore there are no stories in the collection involving zombies, alien invasions, vampires or any other fantastical events. Personally, I tend to prefer the more plausible scenarios in my apocalyptic fiction but I still think it would have been nice for John Joseph Adams to have included at least a sample of this side of the sub-genre.

As with all anthologies there were some books I really enjoyed, some I found okay and other that just didn’t work for me. My favourite had to be “Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler which takes places in a world where people have lost the ability to communicate. So people find they can no longer understand each other and so violence and chaos ensues. I found myself really getting drawn into this story and I appreciated the fact that the ending actually contained an element of hope. At the opposite side of the spectrum to this was “Salvage” by Orson Scott Card which I quite simply found rather boring. I just couldn’t engage with the story although I suspect part of this was because at times it felt like it was leaning too much towards being a form of minor propaganda for the Mormon Church which did put me off.

One minor issue that came up when I read the novel is that is fundamentally quite a downer to read. Reading one apocalyptic novel can be quite depressing but working through several stories as part of a collection like this just kicks the feeling into overdrive. In all honesty it wasn’t easy to read through so much loss, bleakness and tragedy and I would really advise people to try and spread the collection across many weeks.

Overall, if you like post-apocalyptic fiction then you probably want to give this anthology a try unless you are the type of person who prefers zombie or alien invasion styled end of the word scenarios as these are not present. Personally, I do have to say that I probably found an equal amount of stories I enjoyed compared to those I didn’t so for me the entire collection falls slap bang into the average category.
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on 2 August 2011
This is a fairly eclectic collection of post-apocayptic fiction with lots of different styles.

I purchased it expecting the sort of fiction dealing with the onset or immediate aftermath of an apocalypse, this isn't what it delviers as most stories occur years after the event, and the stories are also a little US-centric but this is no big deal as they are largely well selected and all very different.

The notes before each story are also a nice touch and I very much enjoyed going through this book.
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on 15 January 2010
I thought this was an excellent collection of short stories, however there was a few 'duffers' that I thought weren't up to scratch, but I guess thats normal for any short story book. There was also a couple of stories that were very loosely connected to the post-apocalyptic genre which seemed out of place.

That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories, and will definitely be checking out some of the authors. I found myself craving to read more from several of them and would of loved to have read a whole novel.

It's worth a read for anyone new or old to the genre. Lots of interesting ideas and different takes on the post-apocalyptic story. The list at the end of the book is an excellent reference to read more from the genre.
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on 29 April 2012
I'm not sure exactly how to review this item, as I'm still a little bit lost between my expectations and what this book actually could offer me.
The selected stories are brilliant, and the quality of the writers displayed here is just amazing. Still I found quite hard to keep some interest on this book, when the stories are definitively to short to have some pleasure while reading them. There's always the feeling of something missing, that shouldn't come with such amazing writing quality.
In the end, this books stands between a good book, with brilliant stories, and something where we could never get truly satisfied as we should.
It's a pity that such an amazing idea got lost in such short stories.
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on 18 January 2010
This is a great addition to the canon of Apocalyptic Fiction. Loads of stimulating and well written stories, some hopeful, most certainly get you thinking about where we're going as a race. Highly recommended. I can't think of a better intro to this kind of fiction on the market. If you want to go onto a full novel dealing with this issue you could try 'While the Gods SLeep' which is brilliant. I think it's written by j finch or something like that.
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on 14 October 2008
I have never been a big fan of short stories, but this is a fantastic collection, I read it non-stop from beginning to end.

It also has an excellent list in the back of the book of further reading for fans of apocalyptic fiction.
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