Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
edited by John Joseph Adams
Famine, Death, War, and Pestilence: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the harbingers of Armageddon—these are our guides through the Wastelands… From the Book of Revelation to The Road Warrior; from A Canticle for Leibowitz to The Road, storytellers have long imagined the end of the world, weaving eschatological tales of catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. In doing so, these visionary authors have addressed one of the most challenging and enduring themes of imaginative fiction: the nature of life in the aftermath of total societal collapse.
Gathering together the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades from many of today’s most renowned authors of speculative fiction—including George R.R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King—Wastelands explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon.
This harrowing reprint anthology of 22 apocalyptic tales reflects the stresses of contemporary international politics […] All depict unsettling societal, physical and psychological adaptations their authors postulate as necessary for survival after the end of the world. [T]he volume’s common denominator is hubris: that tragic human proclivity for placing oneself at the center of the universe, and each story uniquely traces the results. Some highlight human hope, even optimism, [or] treat identity by exploring mutation. Several […] gauge the height of human striving, while others […] plumb the depths of human prejudice, jealousy and fear. [Some] will break your heart.
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
My favorite anthology of all time—packed with masterworks.
—Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble
A first-rate anthology that quite convincingly represents the more recent SFnal view of the apocalypse.
I can’t help but give this collection the highest recommendation. I think this will be a cornerstone for most reader’s shelves.
Editor Adams provides a bit of everything that is best about the trope, from bleak, empty worlds to beacons of hope in an otherwise awful situation. […] A well-chosen selection of well-crafted stories, offering something to please nearly every post-apocalyptic palate.
A classic […] perfect for those moments when we want to take a trip to the end of the world.
Few books have had the impact on me that Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse did. […] A great collection that gets my highest recommendation.
Wastelands is an exceptional anthology. In scope and vision it can only be compared to Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions. […] I highly recommend this anthology for anyone who enjoys reading anything. […] Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse is the best anthology of any kind I have read to date.
—Grasping for the Wind