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Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind's Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny (Dover Doomsday Classics)

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"This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!" — Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction. These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of  our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and th "This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!" — Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction. These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of  our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and their works are Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke's "No Morning After." The first-ever apocalyptic fantasy about global warming, "The End of the World," appears here, in translation from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. "The Pretence," by Ramsey Campbell, questions the nature and structure of everyday life in the aftermath of a doomsday prediction. In addition, thought-provoking stories by Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Greg Bear, Erica L. Satifka, and others offer an end-of-the-world extravaganza for fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. "These doomsday tales are highly original, thought provoking, and reality questioning. Recommended as a collection for fans of intriguing and eccentric sci-fi!" — Read Well


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"This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!" — Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction. These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of  our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and th "This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!" — Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction. These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of  our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and their works are Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke's "No Morning After." The first-ever apocalyptic fantasy about global warming, "The End of the World," appears here, in translation from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. "The Pretence," by Ramsey Campbell, questions the nature and structure of everyday life in the aftermath of a doomsday prediction. In addition, thought-provoking stories by Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Greg Bear, Erica L. Satifka, and others offer an end-of-the-world extravaganza for fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. "These doomsday tales are highly original, thought provoking, and reality questioning. Recommended as a collection for fans of intriguing and eccentric sci-fi!" — Read Well

30 review for Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind's Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny (Dover Doomsday Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Ever wonder how the world will end......well, you'll find a multitude of ways life as we know it can be destroyed in GRAVE PREDICTIONS. For lovers of the weird and bizarre, this sci-fi/fantasy/horror collection of 16 short stories was not as scary as I hoped, but certainly thought-provoking.THE END OF THE WORLD - (Eugene Mouton) - 3 Stars - Whew! Global Warming at its "hottest"!THE COMET - (W.E.B. Du Bois) - 3 Stars - Only the dark silent figure and the woman in silk are left....with death and s Ever wonder how the world will end......well, you'll find a multitude of ways life as we know it can be destroyed in GRAVE PREDICTIONS. For lovers of the weird and bizarre, this sci-fi/fantasy/horror collection of 16 short stories was not as scary as I hoped, but certainly thought-provoking.THE END OF THE WORLD - (Eugene Mouton) - 3 Stars - Whew! Global Warming at its "hottest"!THE COMET - (W.E.B. Du Bois) - 3 Stars - Only the dark silent figure and the woman in silk are left....with death and silence all around them until....headlights, but wait!....what the?....ok....great ending!THE PEDESTRIAN - (Ray Bradbury) - 3 Stars - Just taking his daily LONG walk....all alone in the world....until the pick-up.NO MORNING AFTER - (Arthur C. Clarke) - 3 Stars - Ha! Had a few too many buddy?....a hallucination maybe?....Well, no worries now!UPON THE DULL EARTH - (Philip K. Dick) - 4 Stars - Be careful what you wish for Rick, and watch out for the white winged shadows....oh, and do not look in the mirror!2 B R O 2 B - (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) - 3 Stars - Check out the Bureau of Termination....Must call for an appointment!I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM - (Harlan Ellison) - 4 Stars - Trapped....Starving, but not alone....Ewwwww, gross......Resignation.THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS - (Ursula K. Le Guin) - 3 Stars - The misery of a little one....disgustingly awful and so sad.THE ENGINEER AND THE EXECUTIONER - (Brian M. Stableford) - 4 Stars - The life system....robotic warning....destruction....deadly spores....Ha! The End.THE END OF THE WHOLE MESS - (Stephen King) - 4 Stars - Want to live in a place with less violence?....not this one....an experience gone bad.TIGHT LITTLE STITCHES IN A DEAD MAN'S BACK - (Joe R. Lansdale) - 5 Stars - Dear Mr. Journal....where were you when they dropped the big one?....the triangle is broken and the weight of the world is on his back....such sadness and despair, but oh how the deadly intertwining vines come together. Creepy good!JUDGEMENT ENGINE - (Greg Bear) - 3 Stars - End time....the last new generation....deadly errors....genocide....destruction....lessons of life.AUTOMATIC - (Erica L. Satifka) - 4 Stars - No way to leave....stuck in the stench of NYC....rent your body part and live for free!....a mold spore nightmare.THE BLACK MOULD - (Mark Samuels) - 2 Stars - Ewwwww....see the ravages of live mold spores.THE PRETENCE - (Ramsey Campbell) - 3 Stars - Boy this started out great; too bad it turned long and tedious. The warning from the Finalists....the delayed flight....turbulence....the strange reunion...."Believe in whatever matters to you and it will stay with you forever." INVENTORY - (Carmen Maria Machado) - 3 Stars - Trying to survive a deadly virus....lots of visitors....lots of sex....escape. Overall, it was a bit frustrating (my copy) not having a table of contents or paragraph breaks between stories, but still a 3+ Star read and Oh What A Fantastic Book Cover! (Thank you Dover Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in sixteen utterly different, yet apocalyptically stunning ways. The End of The World …….Eugene Mouton (2 stars) -  Global warming- You know the path we are currently on. The Comet …….W.E.B. Du Bois (3.5 stars) -  What if you thought you were one of the last people on earth?  What if you had a second chance?  Would you have changed? The Pedestrian …. Ray Bradbury (5 stars) - I loved this one.  Mr. Leonard Mead loves to g This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in sixteen utterly different, yet apocalyptically stunning ways. The End of The World …….Eugene Mouton (2 stars) -  Global warming- You know the path we are currently on. The Comet …….W.E.B. Du Bois (3.5 stars) -  What if you thought you were one of the last people on earth?  What if you had a second chance?  Would you have changed? The Pedestrian …. Ray Bradbury (5 stars) - I loved this one.  Mr. Leonard Mead loves to go for a stroll at night, then one night the police come. No Morning After ……...Arthur C. Clarke (3 stars) - You know it’s time to quit drinking when…… Upon the Dull Earth ……… Phillip K. Dick (5 stars) -  Another bright spot in this collection.  Love is a many splendored thing, guard it well.  And when all seems lost,  remember if it seems too good to be true, well it likely is.  Who you gonna call? 2 B R O 2 B …….. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - (4 stars)  Think about the advances we have made in technology and medicine.  Already the average lifespan is much greater than it was in the past.  What if this trend continues and in the future people can be expected to live much longer, perhaps even 200 years.  What other controls would have to be established in order for our little planet to accommodate everyone?   I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream …...Harlan Ellison - (2.5 stars) Outwardly: dumbly, I shamble about, a thing that could never have been known as human, a thing whose shape is so alien a travesty, that humanity becomes more obscene for the vague resemblance.  Inwardly: alone.  Here.  Living under the land, under the sea, in the belly of AM, whom we created because our time was badly spent and we must have known unconsciously that he could do it better. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas …….. Ursula K. Le Guin -  (3 stars)  The city of Omelas is a truly beautiful  and joyous place of crisp, clean fields and magnificent mountains with moss covered gardens..  A place where children could run and play and people danced in the streets.  But in the basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, there is a room.  A room that houses the ultimate cost of their happiness.  Too sad. The Engineer and the Executioner ……. Brian M. Stableford -  (3.5 stars)  The best and the brightest of earth’s engineers has accomplished the unthinkable.  A life- system on a previously dead asteroid.  Everything is used and reused as the life-system evolves and improves.  But wait.  Could that spore that I detect put earth at risk? The End of the Whole Mess ……. Stephen King -  (4 stars)  What if there was a way to stop the violence, put an end to war once and for all?   Did you ever make a mistake and not realize it until it was too late? Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back …….. Joe R. Lansdale (4.5 stars)  If the end does come by way of nuclear warfare, who is to blame?  The scientist or the politician?  Still there are survivors who make it to an underground shelter.  Years pass and who knows perhaps it is a brave new world up there.  Shall we go see? Judgement Engine ….. Greg Bear -  ( 1 star)  I did not care for this one at all.  I had a difficult time relating and I do believe that it just went on for far too long.  Endtimes, massive mistakes, genocide? Automatic ……. Erica L.Satifka -  ( 2 stars) Can’t leave New York City?  The rest of the countryside uninhabitable?  No worries you can rent out your body parts to survive. The Black Mould ……… Mark Samuels - (2 stars)  Forget cockroaches it will be mould spores that survive us all and take over the planet. The Pretence ………. Ramsey Campbell  - (1 star) This is a case of a mistitled story.  It should have been called “How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Story 101”  This one is about the apocalypse as predicted by a religious group.  Too bad the author felt the need to go on and on and on and on, with pointless drivel.   Hmmmmm? Inventory ……… Carmen Maria Machado - (1 star)  A deadly virus you say.  Well it is not here yet.  May as well have some mind numbing sex with as many different partners as possible. Personally I find reviews of this nature tedious.  I say that as someone who reads a great many reviews on a daily basis and sure there is the exception, but still.  Now I know they are tedious to write as well, so my apologies. ( I will not be doing this again ever.)  Do not let that deter you from giving this a try.  There are some good stories to be had here. My thanks to Dover Publications and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    INTRODUCTION - (Harlan Ellison) - No denigration to Ellison as a writer, but this 'Introduction' felt more like something someone would post on facebook after a few too many. *** THE END OF THE WORLD - (Eugene Mouton) - This essay by a 19th-century French writer of the fantastic is unfortunately still awfully relevant. Sure, there are a few predictions here that haven't aged all that well, but the vast majority of Mouton's fears have turned out to be very well founded. (His main concern: global w INTRODUCTION - (Harlan Ellison) - No denigration to Ellison as a writer, but this 'Introduction' felt more like something someone would post on facebook after a few too many. *** THE END OF THE WORLD - (Eugene Mouton) - This essay by a 19th-century French writer of the fantastic is unfortunately still awfully relevant. Sure, there are a few predictions here that haven't aged all that well, but the vast majority of Mouton's fears have turned out to be very well founded. (His main concern: global warming caused by increased industry and population density.) *** THE COMET - (W.E.B. Du Bois) - I never knew that the famed civil rights activist had written a piece of post-apocalyptic fiction! This public-domain piece is also available online, here: http://hilobrow.com/2013/05/21/the-co... A low-level bank employee is busy with a seemingly-unenviable task in the vaults when the Earth whisks through the tail of a comet. The astronomical event was predicted; its effects were not. When the man emerges from the sealed-off depths of the bank, he is shocked to find that it seems that he may be the last man on Earth: everyone around him has succumbed to toxic vapors from the passing comet. The language the piece is written in is rather florid and overwrought, to the present-day reader. However, the point of the story is clearly impassioned and still-valuable, even today. DuBois was primarily concerned with human rights, not fiction, and this is a story with a message: (view spoiler)[The bank vault survivor is a black man, and he discovers another survivor: a wealthy white woman. The two are as far from each other as can be, according to social rules of race, gender and class. Yet, with all those things stripped away, for a brief moment they relate to each other as simply two human individuals: equals... until, unexpectedly, the outside world comes crashing back in with some joy, but also terrible tragedy. (hide spoiler)] I'm extremely glad to have read this. Later thought: I've been asked many times: What is the appeal of post-apocalyptic fiction? I think DuBois cuts right to the heart of it, here. The question at the core of much of this genre is: What would we be, if everything we take for granted was stripped away? Often, authors answer that question with "barbaric and terrible in oh so many ways." DuBois has a different answer, and I think his has much truth to it. ***** THE PEDESTRIAN - (Ray Bradbury) - Published in 1951, two years before his most-famed work, 'Fahrenheit 451,' the themes here will be very familiar to anyone who's read that book. The short story also makes very clear what Bradbury meant when he made his controversial statement that his novel was not about the dangers of censorship but about the evils of television. The content of this story is simple: a solitary man takes his habitual evening walk through his neighborhood, passing house after dark house full of people sitting and watching TV. No one else is on the streets - and the man is stopped and arrested by an unmanned police vehicle for his suspicious and deviant behavior. The message is precisely the same as that of 'Fahrenheit 451' and it's stated even more clearly here. Yes, the faceless government forces are cracking down on "regressive" and anti-social behavior. But the reason is because that is what the masses want. The man we see here - an unemployed writer - has cultivated skills that are undesired by his society. He is single; no one even wants him as a partner. Every single other person in his neighborhood is happy to eschew personal contact. As in the novel, the oppressive dystopian government that we glimpse here is actually doing exactly what the majority of the people wants - and that is the truly frightening aspect of the prediction. The danger is not necessarily that a future society will be crushed by forces from above - but that a future society will no longer see value in intellectual freedom and the diversity of complex and dissenting expression of opinions. Personally, I don't think that TV is all that bad. It certainly CAN be bad, but it doesn't have to be. It's just another media format, and is perfectly able to convey worthwhile content. I would be more in agreement with the noted TV journalist Edward R. Murrow, who, not long after this story (and Fahrenheit 451) was published, in 1957, said: "It might be helpful if those who control television and radio would sit still for a bit and attempt to discover what it is they care about. If television and radio are to be used to entertain all of the people all of the time, then we have come perilously close to discovering the real opiate of the people." However, while I might not agree that TV is the danger, I certainly do agree with Bradbury's core idea regarding the dangers inherent in the dumbing down of society and the waning interest in intellectual pursuits in general. **** NO MORNING AFTER - (Arthur C. Clarke) - A re-read... but I read it long ago. Clarke isn't generally known for his humor, but this is an excellent piece of black comedy. Benevolent, telepathic aliens are desperate to contact humanity with a message of the greatest import for us. However, the only guy they manage to reach is both wildly depressed and three sheets to the wind - and believes he's hallucinating. **** UPON THE DULL EARTH - (Philip K. Dick) - Horrific and surreal. A woman can summon... things... to her. Angels? Aliens? Vampires from another dimension? She believes she is destined to join them, against the protests of her fiance and her family. She has some sort of scientific? occult? setup in order to facilitate her transformation. But things so wrong... and then they go worse. I think this is my favorite piece that I've read from Philip K. Dick. *** 2 B R 0 2 B - (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) - I've never been a big fan of Vonnegut, though I've tried. I had mixed feelings about this one, as well. In a near future, the Earth's overpopulation problem has been solved by strict laws. Aging has been "cured" and people can live youthfully indefinitely - but the necessary corollary is that births must be limited. Voluntary euthanasia is encouraged. In his trademark darkly humorous style, Vonnegut portrays this situation as grotesque and inhumane. I actually disagree, so I couldn't really wholeheartedly embrace the story. (view spoiler)[It seems unlikely that in a situation where medical advances can control aging; that we could not also control conception - "unexpected" triplets about to be born just wouldn't be a situation. (hide spoiler)] ***** I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM - (Harlan Ellison) - A re-read, of course - but I was actually surprised at how much of the story I'd forgotten (although, the final scene stayed with me clear as day!) There are a lot of stories in which humanity's technology turns on us, but this is the ultimate classic example of the theme. A supercomputer has become sentient - and with consciousness it developed a consuming hatred of its creators. Wiping out civilization was child's play - and now, only five human beings remain, kept alive indefinitely (and interminably) for the sole reason that the AI enjoys torturing and tormenting them, messing with both bodies and minds. Death would be a welcome release. I can confirm: still horrifically nasty after all these years! ***** THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS - (Ursula K. Le Guin) - Another re-read. This is a powerful and thoughtful story; one that should be read by every student of ethics. (Whether it really fits the theme of this anthology is another question, but...) LeGuin asks the question: does the good of the many REALLY outweigh the good of the few... or the one? Even if you believe you have answered that question for yourself, to your moral satisfaction, this piece will cause you to question your convictions. The city of Omelas is a utopia - but it also contains a small, but awful, misery. Is it acceptable? Justified? Opinions will differ. Every time I read this story, I come away from it convinced that Ursula LeGuin is a better person than I am. *** THE ENGINEER AND THE EXECUTIONER - (Brian M. Stableford) - Classic-feeling sci-fi. Extremely predictable, but fun... well, fun, in a way. A robot has been dispatched from Earth with a mission: an engineer's experiment; creating artificial life within a distant asteroid, has been adjudged too dangerous to be allowed to continue. There's a possibility that his self-replicating biota could infect and wipe out all life on Earth. The engineer argues emotionally that this possibility is so remote as to be ridiculous - but there's no arguing with the implacable machine intelligence of a robot. **** THE END OF THE WHOLE MESS - (Stephen King) - Previously read in both 'Nightmares & Dreamscapes' and the 'Wastelands' anthology. Still worth the third read! Told as a dying man's last confession and testament; the reader learns what did the world in: an unprecedented discovery, and a well-meaning attempt to save humanity from our own worst natures. As it has been said, 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread,' and, blinded by hubris, a genius researcher failed to correlate the damning data before it was too late... ** TIGHT LITTLE STITCHES IN A DEAD MAN'S BACK - (Joe R. Lansdale) - Not for me. If you like horror that's gross just for the sake of being gross, you may feel differently. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of dangerous and poisonous mutants, a nuclear engineer wallows in his guilt and his wife's hatred, while nursing a bizarre obsession with the daughter who died in the atomic blasts. ** JUDGMENT ENGINE - (Greg Bear) - At the end of the universe, evolved intelligences contemplate a thorny philosophical problem, and a mundanely flawed romantic relationship is examined. I had a hard time getting into this one. *** AUTOMATIC - (Erica L. Satifka) - A terrible plague nearly wiped out humanity. There would be no one left alive if not for the aliens from Ganymede, who apparently find humans quite fascinating. Earth has been saved... sort of... but (there's always the 'but') as a tourist attraction / zoo / breeding program - after all, we're an endangered species. Most of the few remaining survivors are grateful or at least content, even though the Ganymedans aren't really necessarily all that good at 'keeping' humans. But our protagonist is a dissatisfied Winston Smith-type who attempts to resist and would most likely rather die free than live to provide entertainment to aliens. ** THE BLACK MOULD - (Mark Samuels) - Sticking in the words "aeons" and "nameless dread" in random places does not Lovecraft make. An unsuccessful imitation of an antiquated writing style mars this recitation of the progress of black mold spores that take over the universe. **** THE PRETENCE - (Ramsey Campbell) - One of the most interesting end-of-the-world pieces I've read (and I've read a lot). Not plot-oriented, the long piece creates an atmospheric feeling of creeping dread. Our protagonist is a regular guy - a family man and classical music afficionado. He has nothing but disdain for the doomsday cult that's been gaining traction, calling themselves 'The Finalists.' When he wakes up the morning after their prophecied 'end,' obviously, the fanatics were wrong and nothing happened. Or... did it? Everything seems just a bit... off. *** INVENTORY - (Carmen Maria Machado) - Our protagonist has an affinity for lists. She likes enumerating things. Here, she details the people she has had sexual contact with throughout her life. But gradually, we realize this is not just someone's list of conquests, but the story of a devastating, apocalypse-level epidemic. And since the disease is spread through personal, physical contact, this particular 'inventory' is terribly apropos. Many thanks to Dover and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this collection. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth McKinley

    Grave Predictions - The End of the World - Eugene Mouton A prediction from 1872 about how Mouton thought the world would end. Oddly enough, his prediction was from global warming. An interesting assessment from the past. Reads like an essay. 3 out of 5 stars The Comet - W.E.B. DuBois Jim and Julia are the last people left alive in NYC after the earth passes through the tail of a comet and the population is decimated by poisonous gas. Jim is a poor black man and Julia is a rich white woman. As they co Grave Predictions - The End of the World - Eugene Mouton A prediction from 1872 about how Mouton thought the world would end. Oddly enough, his prediction was from global warming. An interesting assessment from the past. Reads like an essay. 3 out of 5 stars The Comet - W.E.B. DuBois Jim and Julia are the last people left alive in NYC after the earth passes through the tail of a comet and the population is decimated by poisonous gas. Jim is a poor black man and Julia is a rich white woman. As they come to grips with their situation, they are about to put racial prejudices aside when Julia's family show up alive and the racist views begin flying again. Sad story. 3 out of 5 stars The Pedestrian - Ray Bradbury Leonard takes a stroll every night all alone in this empty world for fresh air and to see what there is to see. Every night he returns, except this night. Even when you're the only person left on earth, Big Brother still messes with you. 3 out of 5 stars No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke Intelligent life on the planet Thaar have discovered that Earth's sun will blow up in three days. They must find someone on earth who has the ability in their mind to receive telepathy so they can save the earthlings. Unfortunately, the only person they are able to communicate with is Bill. And Bill is on a bender due to Brenda leaving him. 4 out of 5 stars Upon the Dull Earth - Phillip K. Dick Sylvia is special. She is able to communicate with angel-like beings from the other side. They tell her how wonderful it is in their world and that she will be one of them once she dies. Rick is frightened to death at Sylvia's special ability and would do anything to keep her in our world. Be careful what you wish for. Creative short story with a unique premise, but the ending drags on and on. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars 2BR02B - Kurt Vonnegut Jr If they discovered the cure for aging and everyone on the planet could live forever, how long would you really want to live. Thought provoking tale 4 1/2 out of 5 stars I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - Harlan Ellison A man against machine story. AM is the all-knowing god now and he hates the creatures that built him. He's destroyed them all except 5. These five are now his play things as he puts them through countless layers of hell. 2 1/2 out of 5 stars The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas - Ursula K. LeGuin The residents of Omelas happiness is dependent on the misfortune of one locked up child. About as enjoyable as a root canal. 1 out of 5 stars The Engineer and the Executioner - Brian M. Stableford A philosophical showdown between a man that created an artificial world that was deemed too dangerous by the powers that be and the robot that was sent to terminate the creator and his creation. Thought provoking. 4 out of 5 stars The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King Howard's brother, Bobby, is a certifiable genius. And geniuses like to push the envelope. Bobby is obsessed with world peace and discovers a small town in west Texas where violence is non-existent. So, he goes there to discover why. When in doubt, test the water and like all good things, there always has to be a catch. Fun tale that I enjoyed from start to finish. 5 out of 5 stars Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back - Joe R. Lansdale For one of the men that helped build the bombs that ended the world, Karma can be a real bitch. Way out there one from Lansdale. 4 out of 5 stars Judgement Engine - Greg Bear Just shoot me. I tried. I really tried to get into this, but it was god awful and a complete waste of 25 minutes. 0 (only because I can't do negative) out of 5 stars The Black Mould - Mark Samuels Cosmic mould spores take over the universe and control every living thing. Meh. 1 1/2 out of 5 stars The Pretence - Ramsey Campbell An endless journey into nothing. This story droned on forever. A confusing attempt to be shadowy and mysterious turned into being a torturous labor to get through. Didn't I tell you to shoot me a couple of stories ago?? 1/2 out of 5 stars Inventory - Carmen Maria Machado Making lists as the world crumbles around you. Meh. 2 out of 5 stars There were a few decent stories in this collection, but overall it was a rough one to get through. Way too much boring trash to sift through. Do yourself a favor and read King's and Lansdale's tales in their own collection. Overall - 2 out of 5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Irene Well Worth A Read

    These are stories of the end of the world, and the various ways it can come about. There are lots of big name writers which is what attracted me to this book but also I was hoping for a little more horror and a little less science fiction. You may have come across some of these stories in previous publications. All are worth a read but none are particularly terrifying. I did particularly enjoy "Automatic" "2BRO2B" where population control is of such importance that if you want to have a baby you These are stories of the end of the world, and the various ways it can come about. There are lots of big name writers which is what attracted me to this book but also I was hoping for a little more horror and a little less science fiction. You may have come across some of these stories in previous publications. All are worth a read but none are particularly terrifying. I did particularly enjoy "Automatic" "2BRO2B" where population control is of such importance that if you want to have a baby you must find a volunteer to die. "The End Of The Whole Mess" a Stephen King story that I don't think I have read before. I received a complimentary copy for review

  6. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    I have always been fascinated by stories of the end of humanity so I jumped at the chance to pick up a copy of this book especially with greats such as Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke gracing the pages. Usually I read one story at a time but I found myself reading more in this book and sometimes could not put it down. Every story was completely original. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this anthology of the last days of Mankind. I received a copy of this book from the publis I have always been fascinated by stories of the end of humanity so I jumped at the chance to pick up a copy of this book especially with greats such as Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke gracing the pages. Usually I read one story at a time but I found myself reading more in this book and sometimes could not put it down. Every story was completely original. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this anthology of the last days of Mankind. I received a copy of this book from the publishers (via) Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cait Poytress

    I really enjoyed reading this anthology and, unlike some, I was able to read more than one story in a sitting because the stories are all different than one another even though they have the same general theme. One or two stories were a little too hardcore sci-fi for my tastes, but I will mention some of my favorites. Before I get started, I should mention that I like to listen to quiet background music when reading some of my rather "moody" books. The album that accompanied this book was Agnes I really enjoyed reading this anthology and, unlike some, I was able to read more than one story in a sitting because the stories are all different than one another even though they have the same general theme. One or two stories were a little too hardcore sci-fi for my tastes, but I will mention some of my favorites. Before I get started, I should mention that I like to listen to quiet background music when reading some of my rather "moody" books. The album that accompanied this book was Agnes Obel's "Aventine". Some samples: Chord Left Fuel to Fire - The End of the World by Eugene Mouton: It amazes me that this incredibly prescient story was written in 1872! It's hard not to grow increasingly uncomfortable, even creeped out, as the story unfolds - you recognize the descriptions. You are watching it unfold in real life, even as you are turning pages. - The Pedestrian: Ray Bradbury Simple but creepy story with just the right amount of atmosphere. I couldn't finish his "Something Wicked This Way Comes", so it was nice to realize that I do enjoy Bradbury's writing after all. - 2BR02B: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Loved the premise and conclusion - all wound up tightly with a nice little bow. Population control at its finest. - I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: Harlan Ellison This story was a total trip - as in, a bad acid trip or a nightmare you can't wake up from. Completely original and compelling. - The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas: Ursula K. Le Guin This is the second time I've read this story, and it's just as great as the first time. Haunting. - The End of the Whole Mess: Stephen King So this story was written in 1986 - how have I not come across it yet?? This was probably my favorite story of the bunch. I love King's writing. It's nice to be able to read a "short" story and become totally engrossed. I felt as if the character were speaking directly to me and it was so authentic. So good. - Tight Little Stitches In a Dead Man's Back: Joe R. Lansdale I thought Joe R. Lansdale had the unenviable spot of following Stephen King's story - that's a lot to live up to. Turns out I was wrong - great story and again, completely original, like nothing I've ever read. I need more Lansdale in my life. There were other stories that were good, but the ones above just stood out for me. If you like short stories, if you like apocalit, if you like great writing - read this book. *Thanks to netgalley for providing this book for an honest review*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Blackman

    A good selection of end of days stories. I don't know why I'm so fascinated by the many many ways humanity imagines it's own demise. It's too hard to pick a favourite as they're all so different. Le Guin's The Ones Who Walked Away From Omela, and Machado's Inventory both resonated deeply. W.E. B. Du Bois 1920 story The Comet seemed almost contemporary. I recommend this collection. A good selection of end of days stories. I don't know why I'm so fascinated by the many many ways humanity imagines it's own demise. It's too hard to pick a favourite as they're all so different. Le Guin's The Ones Who Walked Away From Omela, and Machado's Inventory both resonated deeply. W.E. B. Du Bois 1920 story The Comet seemed almost contemporary. I recommend this collection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Blackburn

    Grave Predictions, Edited by Drew Ford- A lot of well-known authors are collected here in this book about apocalyptic ends of human civilization. Harlan Ellison starts things off with an introduction only as Harlan can. We will visit him again later in the book with his famous short story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." Sixteen stories about Mankind's last breath beginning with a 1872 declaration by Eugene Mouton "The End of The World" and including works by Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, Grave Predictions, Edited by Drew Ford- A lot of well-known authors are collected here in this book about apocalyptic ends of human civilization. Harlan Ellison starts things off with an introduction only as Harlan can. We will visit him again later in the book with his famous short story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." Sixteen stories about Mankind's last breath beginning with a 1872 declaration by Eugene Mouton "The End of The World" and including works by Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Joe R. Lansdale, Greg Bear, Ramsey Campbell and many more. Some are classics while others are less so, but still remain tied to the central theme. My copy did not have an active table of contents which would have aided me greatly as I like to hop around an anthology, cherry-picking my favorites first. Bur if facing the end is what you're into, this anthology has got you covered.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hope Sloper

    When I read this was a collection of stories about the end of the world, I knew I would enjoy it. Each of these stories is incredibly creative. Some of them blindingly so - you think you know where some of the authors are going. . . but no. So make no mistake, while all the stories follow the same theme, they are all very, very, different. I don’t review the stories individually. Normally, I list my favorites, but I can’t give any in this case because all of them were great in some way, shape, or When I read this was a collection of stories about the end of the world, I knew I would enjoy it. Each of these stories is incredibly creative. Some of them blindingly so - you think you know where some of the authors are going. . . but no. So make no mistake, while all the stories follow the same theme, they are all very, very, different. I don’t review the stories individually. Normally, I list my favorites, but I can’t give any in this case because all of them were great in some way, shape, or form. A majority of them had me wishing they weren’t shorts. And of course, like all good anthologies, it gives you a list of authors to hunt down and read more of. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology. Not reading this anthology is only depriving your readerly brain of some very imaginative reads.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Very difficult to rate this as it is a collection. Some of these stories were fantastic and thrived in this medium, some would do well as an extended novel or film. Other stories were convoluted and frankly unenjoyable.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Grave Predictions is another anthology with an apocalyptic or dystopian theme to the stories. I consider myself a fan of the apocalyptic/dystopian genre so I was excited to see a collection with a variety of stories. There are 16 different stories by 16 different writers. I included the full list of stories below. It is always nice to know what stories are in a collection like this beforehand. The stories are not new and have been published before. Only one of the 16 I have read before. There is Grave Predictions is another anthology with an apocalyptic or dystopian theme to the stories. I consider myself a fan of the apocalyptic/dystopian genre so I was excited to see a collection with a variety of stories. There are 16 different stories by 16 different writers. I included the full list of stories below. It is always nice to know what stories are in a collection like this beforehand. The stories are not new and have been published before. Only one of the 16 I have read before. There is something for everyone - super computers, comets, aliens, global warming, nuclear war and more. My favorites were The End of the World, Upon the Dull Earth, The End of the Whole Mess, and Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back. Short stories are always a hit or a miss. You either love them or hate them. Most of them weren't too depressing either, which is a plus. Overall, I rated the majority of the stories as three stars. If you haven't read these before and you are a fan of sci fi and short stories, then this would be a good collection to read. Eugene Mouton - The End of the World (1872) W. E. B. Du Bois - The Comet (1920) Ray Bradbury - The Pedestrian (1951) Arthur C. Clarke - No Morning After (1954) Philip K. Dick - Upon the Dull Earth (1954) Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - 2 B R 0 2 B (1962) Harlan Ellison - I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967) Ursula K. Le Guin - The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973) Brian M. Stableford - The Engineer and the Executioner (1976) Stephen King - The End of the Whole Mess (1986) Joe R. Lansdale - Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back (1992) Greg Bear - Judgment Engine (1995) Erica L. Satifka - Automatic (2007) Mark Samuels - The Black Mould (2011) Ramsey Campbell - The Pretence (2013) Carmen Maria Machado - Inventory (2013)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Book It Forward)

    Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always looking for a fantastic anthology, especially one with post-apocalyptic stories. As soon as I saw this title listed on NetGalley, I immediately requested it for that reason. Once I saw that Stephen King was a contributor I was even more anxious to read it. Maybe these two reasons are why I was disappointed in this book. First, the story Stephen King contributed was one I had already read. My mis Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always looking for a fantastic anthology, especially one with post-apocalyptic stories. As soon as I saw this title listed on NetGalley, I immediately requested it for that reason. Once I saw that Stephen King was a contributor I was even more anxious to read it. Maybe these two reasons are why I was disappointed in this book. First, the story Stephen King contributed was one I had already read. My mistake for not reading the title of his story before getting excited. Second, I really only enjoyed 2, maybe 3 of the stories in this anthology. I very rarely skim or skip pages in a book I am reading, but I found myself doing this more and more often reading this. Certain stories started off well, then took a sharp left into the unreadable category for me. Other stories I couldn't even get into from page one. If you are a fan of any of the John Joseph Adams anthologies, this one does not even come close to comparing to his collections. I am sorry to write a negative review of this collection and I am sure others will disagree, but I just wasn't a fan of this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    A good mix of unique ideas Eugene Mouton The End of the World (1872), 3⭐ W. E. B. Du Bois The Comet (1920), 4⭐ Ray Bradbury The Pedestrian (1951), 3 Arthur C. Clarke No Morning After (1954), 4⭐ Philip K. Dick Upon the Dull Earth (1954), 4⭐ Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 2 B R 0 2 B (1962), 4⭐ Harlan Ellison I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967), 3⭐ Ursula K. Le Guin The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973), 3⭐ Brian M. Stableford The Engineer and the Executioner (1976), 3⭐ Stephen King The End of the Whole Mess A good mix of unique ideas Eugene Mouton The End of the World (1872), 3⭐ W. E. B. Du Bois The Comet (1920), 4⭐ Ray Bradbury The Pedestrian (1951), 3 Arthur C. Clarke No Morning After (1954), 4⭐ Philip K. Dick Upon the Dull Earth (1954), 4⭐ Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 2 B R 0 2 B (1962), 4⭐ Harlan Ellison I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967), 3⭐ Ursula K. Le Guin The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973), 3⭐ Brian M. Stableford The Engineer and the Executioner (1976), 3⭐ Stephen King The End of the Whole Mess (1986), 3⭐ Joe R. Lansdale Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back (1992), 2⭐ Greg Bear Judgment Engine (1995), 4⭐ Erica L. Satifka Automatic (2007), 3⭐ Mark Samuels The Black Mould (2011), 2⭐ Ramsey Campbell The Pretence (2013), 1⭐ Inventory (2013), 4⭐

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    As with any anthologies, this one has some gems and some trash. By far the best of these are those by Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Arthur C. Clarke. You might have read these before, but they’re worth rereading. Many of the others go on for too long –perhaps the writers were being paid by the word – and others are simply stupid. You will be able to tell which the gems are and which the trash and those that you wish had been shortened to perhaps a half or a quarter of the length. My suggestion? R As with any anthologies, this one has some gems and some trash. By far the best of these are those by Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Arthur C. Clarke. You might have read these before, but they’re worth rereading. Many of the others go on for too long –perhaps the writers were being paid by the word – and others are simply stupid. You will be able to tell which the gems are and which the trash and those that you wish had been shortened to perhaps a half or a quarter of the length. My suggestion? Read the gems; skip the trash, the stupid ones, and speed read the ones that are interminable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Penny lurkykitty

    I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. This is a fascinating and thought provoking collection of stories about the end of the world. There is a lot of variety to the stories in terms of writing style and the method of our destruction. None of these stories are new; it is the theme of the collection that is new. Some I liked more than others. There was an eerily prescient story about global warming written in the 1800s. I like Ursual K. LeGuin's I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. This is a fascinating and thought provoking collection of stories about the end of the world. There is a lot of variety to the stories in terms of writing style and the method of our destruction. None of these stories are new; it is the theme of the collection that is new. Some I liked more than others. There was an eerily prescient story about global warming written in the 1800s. I like Ursual K. LeGuin's story as it really makes one think about today's society.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Arkrayder

    I received an early copy of this book from Netgalley and Dover Publications, Inc. in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you! This was a great book. The stories were fairly even in quality. I especially liked Arthur C. Clarke, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Harlan Ellison’s contributions. Greg Bear’s Judgment Engine is high brow but, as it went along, became very enjoyable. I’m glad I got to read this!

  18. 5 out of 5

    DJ_Keyser

    I love post-apocalyptic fiction, and this is an impeccable short-story collection that houses some absolute classics. The highlight for me was the inclusion of Harlan Ellison’s ‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’, but the contributions of Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joe R. Lansdale, Philip K. Dick and Eugene Mouton were all top-tier, with the remainder not sloppy by any measure either. Quality all the way through.

  19. 4 out of 5

    {erika}

    I think the story I liked most was the last called Inventory. I have read 90% of these stories already so that is likely why it wasn't that enjoyable for me, I was hoping for other stories that are published in less volumes or something I think the story I liked most was the last called Inventory. I have read 90% of these stories already so that is likely why it wasn't that enjoyable for me, I was hoping for other stories that are published in less volumes or something

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tom Morck

    Several short stories about the end of the world. Some were good and entertaining, but several were not.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    So grim. Really interesting stories, for sure, but the sort of dark end of the world scenarios that leave little hope. Hey, it's not as if the title didn't warn me! So grim. Really interesting stories, for sure, but the sort of dark end of the world scenarios that leave little hope. Hey, it's not as if the title didn't warn me!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bzdick

    These are tough stories to get through. Even the King story they selected for this was sub-par. Got a little more than halfway through and just couldn't do it. These are tough stories to get through. Even the King story they selected for this was sub-par. Got a little more than halfway through and just couldn't do it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Spent almost 4 hours over almost 2 weeks slogging through this, and it’s just not doing it for me. I had already read the Stephen King story. The others are all far too sci-fi for me, I guess.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a compilation of 16 short stories about "The End" of humanity, of earth, of time, of everything! It will take fortitude to read it. It is in some respects grim. I have taken a few months to pick it up and a few days to read it. There have been times when I put it down, to rest, to escape from the dour prospect within. It has coloured my days a little and I am (honestly) glad to have finished reading it (I intend to read something light and cheerful).  The stories are:- The End of the World This is a compilation of 16 short stories about "The End" of humanity, of earth, of time, of everything! It will take fortitude to read it. It is in some respects grim. I have taken a few months to pick it up and a few days to read it. There have been times when I put it down, to rest, to escape from the dour prospect within. It has coloured my days a little and I am (honestly) glad to have finished reading it (I intend to read something light and cheerful).  The stories are:- The End of the World Eugene Mouton The Comet W. E. B. Du Bois The Pedestrian Ray Bradbury No Morning After Arthur C. Clarke Upon the Dull Earth Philip K. Dick 2 B R 0 2 B Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream Harlan Ellison The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Ursula K. Le Guin The Engineer and the Executioner Brian M. Stableford The End of the Whole Mess Stephen King Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back Joe R. Lansdale Judgment Engine Greg Bear Automatic Erica L. Satifka The Black Mould Mark Samuels The Pretence Ramsey Campbell Inventory Carmen Maria Machado It sounds like I didn't appreciate the content of the tales, I did, they were thought provoking and each was as different from the others as they could be. There was loads of variety for the ending of things! I would wake in the night with brilliant insights to put into the review to give an idea of what the books were like. Then come the morning my memory had been wiped of these wonderful words and I feel like I'm writing something mundane that cannot really describe what the tales are like! Next I'm coming to giving the compilation a review score and wondering how I do that. It is almost impossible to decide. I think if you read the book in 16 different sittings you will give each session a different score. The words smithing is extremely good, so I think I will have to score based on the craftsmanship of the work (which is still difficult as there are 16 different styles to consider). I reckon if you are in the mood for dour destiny then you will enjoy these stories. If you are prone to being affected by dismal predictions, then stay well away. The choice is up to you. I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews. "I’ll stand that way until she folds her dead arms around me and her body pushes up against the wound she made in my back, the wound that is our daughter Rae. She’ll hold me so the vines and the proboscis can do their work. And while she holds me, I’ll grab her fine hands and push them against my chest, and it will be we three again, standing against the world, and I’ll close my eyes and delight in her soft, soft hands one last time."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Generous

    Unnerving Magazine Review A collection of end of days stories (just before, during, post). The apocalypse has a great deal of horrific wiggle room. However, for this collection horror was not the main item on the menu. It was apparent, but greatly overshadowed by grim science fiction. There are some very big names in this anthology, King, Bradbury, Lansdale, Dick, Clarke, Vonnegut, Campbell, and yet, the majority read like B-sides. Stuff mostly appreciated by super fans of any given author. Some of Unnerving Magazine Review A collection of end of days stories (just before, during, post). The apocalypse has a great deal of horrific wiggle room. However, for this collection horror was not the main item on the menu. It was apparent, but greatly overshadowed by grim science fiction. There are some very big names in this anthology, King, Bradbury, Lansdale, Dick, Clarke, Vonnegut, Campbell, and yet, the majority read like B-sides. Stuff mostly appreciated by super fans of any given author. Some of these stories I’d read before, though most I hadn’t. Focused mainly on the issue of the end and not those experiencing it, this collection failed to meet some high expectations set when the editor chose these particular authors. Then again some excelled. Du Bois’ The Comet is piece riddled with hard truths about the world of early part of the twentieth century (written 1920). It heavy and suspenseful in a way that’s rather surprising given the publication year. It is a fine piece of suspenseful fiction molded around flawed humanity. The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury showcases many of the qualities that the author honed over his career. Simple, but with suspense built on recognizable humanity, this story rolls until to the lingering hope peters away at the perfect time. There are no squandered lines in this short gem. In one of the few I’d read before and truly enjoyed reading again was Joe R. Lansdale’s Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back. This is one of the mixed-genre shorts of the collection and does not fail to deliver in any aspect of science fiction, horror or even the touch of light fantasy. Focusing on loss after the fact as it so easily relates every living thing has a way of driving a nail into the matter. The power of this story makes the peculiarity of the finale seem undeniably plausible. To close out the collection, Carmen Maria Machado delivers a journal entry-like tale of partners after the fact in Inventory. This story creeps up. It has little to with the apocalypse beyond a survivor’s existence and the times she’d met willing partners. Endearing as interest in the list maker grows so far as to give life to emotion before breaking it away. Many of these stories seem too long by double, while other just lack in general. There is a great deal of imagination shown throughout and maybe that was the goal when selecting any one of these author’s end of days tales over another, most, I’m sure, have multiple options. Imagination is great, but without all the ingredients together, it's like eating flashy rice cakes. With the drawbacks aside, there are some wonderful stories in this collection. Stories worth reading, some multiple times.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Suncerae

    A collection of sixteen short stories featuring post-apocalyptic and dystopian societies that will expand greatly on the modern incarnation of this popular young adult genre. In fact, the first known global warming apocalyptic fantasy , "The End of the World," is included, translated from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. Together with well-known scifi authors, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Phillip K. Dick, and Stephen King, and lesser know but equally awarded Greg Bear, Ursula K. A collection of sixteen short stories featuring post-apocalyptic and dystopian societies that will expand greatly on the modern incarnation of this popular young adult genre. In fact, the first known global warming apocalyptic fantasy , "The End of the World," is included, translated from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. Together with well-known scifi authors, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Phillip K. Dick, and Stephen King, and lesser know but equally awarded Greg Bear, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Harlan Ellison, these doomsday tales are highly original, thought-provoking, and reality-questioning. For me, about half of these short stories are a solid 4 stars, and about a quarter are 5 star worthy. Although this compilation does a great job of highlighting different strengths of the genre, they all tend toward hypothetical scifi with a splash of horror, fantasy, or quirkiness. My favorites include— The highly abstract pieces that challenge an everyday state of consciousness including -Judgement Engine by Greg Bear, in which a collective electronic form of human consciousness known as the social=mind resurrects an ancient version of itself in an attempt to save the end of the universe. -The Pretence by Ramsey Campbell, in which the end of the world as predicted by a group of doomsday fanatics comes and goes, but a family man struggles to remember the details of his own life and what is most important to him. The hyper-present narrator that draws you into a world you aren't ready for including -The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin, in which a philosophical question about exploitation and tragic trade-offs is presented in a uniquely confrontational critique of human nature. -The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King, in which a man races to type out the tension-filled story of his brothers' failed experiment to rid the human race of violence before his mind succumbs. The unanticipated surprise endings that necessitate re-evaluation of the entire story including -The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury, in which a man walks through a city at night. In ten years of walking, he has never seen another person. -The Engineer and the Executioner by Brian M. Stableford, in which a robot and a scientist debate whether a new kind of life is a threat to the human race. Recommended as a collection for fans of intriguing and eccentric scifi! readwellreviews.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This collection of sixteen doomsday short stories edited by Drew Ford begins with a tongue in cheek introduction called Final Blackouts by Harlan Ellison about near extinction of the human race. The short stories are easy to read and for the most part entertaining. Readers will need to decide which story and which tales is most likely to occur. The End of the World by Eugene Mouton tells how the world will die. The Comet by W.E.B. Du Bois describes the destruction brought about by earth’s passag This collection of sixteen doomsday short stories edited by Drew Ford begins with a tongue in cheek introduction called Final Blackouts by Harlan Ellison about near extinction of the human race. The short stories are easy to read and for the most part entertaining. Readers will need to decide which story and which tales is most likely to occur. The End of the World by Eugene Mouton tells how the world will die. The Comet by W.E.B. Du Bois describes the destruction brought about by earth’s passage through the tail of a comet. The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury expresses the threats a solitary man faces during a moonlit walk. No Morning After by Arthur C. Clarke finds drunken Bill, an alien race last hope for warning earth about its imminent destruction. Upon Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick has Rick demanding fire breathing white-winged giants bring Slivia back to disastrous results. 2 B R o 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has a soon to be father waiting for the birth of triplets needs three volunteers to assure their survival. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison has an Adaptive Manipulator that reduces a brilliant theorist to less than human. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin is a puritanical setting with a sordid secret to its beauty and prosperity. The Engineer and the Executioner by Brian M. Stableford debates life’s creation and ownership. The End of the Whole Mess by Stephen King has brothers Howie and Bobby using a volcanic explosion to bring peace to earth with unexpected consequences. Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back by Joe R. Lansdale shows how roses survive an all-out nuclear attack. In Judgement Engine by Greg Bear shows the conflict between teachers and students and access to the ultimate library where organic memories are easily discarded. Automatic by Erica L. Satifka provides a place where you can rent your optic nerve to intelligent energy beams as a career. In The Black Mould by Mark Samuels, billions of simple cells grow into a hive-mind and ravages space before arriving on earth. The Pretence by Ramsey Campbell begins with Derek in an airport waiting for a flight home and ends with a convoluted family trip. Inventory by Carmen Maria Machado is a catalog of sexual encounters that occur before and after a virus sweeps across the United States.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    I gave this book two stars (goodread's equivalent to ''it was OK'') as I was seeking a proper history of the dystopian, end-of-the-world short story. This goes only some way in providing that, and but for a couple of very good examples, offers up distinctly average contents. We certainly start in the depths of the archives, in 1872 and a salient look at the heat death of the planet, with over-consumerism and urbanisation factors in the end story. WEB Du Bois' 'The Comet' may feature the end of t I gave this book two stars (goodread's equivalent to ''it was OK'') as I was seeking a proper history of the dystopian, end-of-the-world short story. This goes only some way in providing that, and but for a couple of very good examples, offers up distinctly average contents. We certainly start in the depths of the archives, in 1872 and a salient look at the heat death of the planet, with over-consumerism and urbanisation factors in the end story. WEB Du Bois' 'The Comet' may feature the end of the world, but it is obviously a tale about the racial divide. Ray Bradbury's is quite a common little 'last man alive' tale; Art Clarke here is surprisingly humorous. Phil Dick offers a horror story – courtesy, seemingly, of angels; Vonnegut's is courtesy of eugenics; and Ellison's AI. Ursula le Guin doesn't go for the end-of-world as such, either, but has a kind of dystopian society at play, riffing with the idea of a collective picture of a community of Dorian Grays. Stableford, like le Guin, is on the better side of contents here, with a simple old sci-fi tale, a look at cause-and-effect. Stephen King does Stephen King, and leaves the real horror to Joe R Lansdale. Closing on the new, Greg Bear is fashionably impenetrable and not worth bothering with, before a tale that could be a mere episode set during an end-of-the-world scenario, looking as it does at an alien invasion. Then we have the biggest scale of the book, but a piece which shows that less is sometimes more, before the longest work – Ramsey Campbell's – whose wooziness also proves the adage to be right. And we close with an inventive narrative form, that looks like something too puerile to work, but proves there is still something fresh in the genre. If only a lot that had gone before had proven the quality that was available to be chosen from…

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Hair

    I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway a few months back. That being said, I nearly didn't get it. It took a good six weeks or more to receive, and only then after I contacted the one in charge of the giveaway and took to pestering. Still, this review is about the book, not the journey to it. In that regard, I can say that I rather enjoyed it. I won't go into detail about each story, as that has been done already and would take entirely too much time that I intend to direct towards further reading. I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway a few months back. That being said, I nearly didn't get it. It took a good six weeks or more to receive, and only then after I contacted the one in charge of the giveaway and took to pestering. Still, this review is about the book, not the journey to it. In that regard, I can say that I rather enjoyed it. I won't go into detail about each story, as that has been done already and would take entirely too much time that I intend to direct towards further reading. That said, I enjoyed nearly every story here, including the ones that I've read in other collections a hundred times before. I think that's part of the issue here: there's really nothing new being offered up here. I believe most if not all these stories have been reprinted already at least once, so chances are you'll run across more than a few that you've previously read. Even so, it's nice to have them all together in this nifty little collection. While a few are familiar immediately to any fan of the genre (Stephen King's The End of the Whole Mess, Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, etc.) there are others that have somehow eluded me and yet turned out to be wonderful. The best example of this was Ursula K. Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. This one more than any blew me away. I've always admired that tiny, fiery woman, ever moreso now that I've read this particular story. It shook me, ladies and gents, as a story of this type should. Final verdict: it's not perfect, there are a ton of reprints, and Harlan Ellison's introduction is garbage. Disregarding all of that, nearly every tale is worth reading again, the somewhat minimalist cover art looks nice on a good bookshelf, and you just may be surprised by a few unfamiliar stories.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anette

    I received a free digital copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Netgalley. This is a collection of short stories of various lengths and of various publication ages, describing "end of world" scenarios. There is a definite focus on "high-concept" ideas, the collection seems to be ultimately aimed at being thought-provoking rather than entertaining. The decision to collate and print these stories in their publication order gives the reader fascinating insight into e I received a free digital copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Netgalley. This is a collection of short stories of various lengths and of various publication ages, describing "end of world" scenarios. There is a definite focus on "high-concept" ideas, the collection seems to be ultimately aimed at being thought-provoking rather than entertaining. The decision to collate and print these stories in their publication order gives the reader fascinating insight into each era's big fears however, and especially Mouton's 1872 story presents ideas that seems far ahead of its time. The Harlan Ellison introduction pinpoints this and is well worth reading. Of the stories presented in this collection, I most enjoyed the offerings of Vonnegut and Stableford. These two might be considered less thought provoking than many of the others, yet the contrast offered by their unassuming style appealed a great deal to me as a reader. However, another story which I expect will stay with me is Greg Bear's "Judgement Engine", which I would characterize as the most high-concept of them all. Kudos too to Du Bois for coming up with an unusual variety of doomsday scenario (poison gas from the tail of a comet?!) and attempting to tackle race relations within a single story written in 1920 - I did find the author's portrayal of racist society and repeated use of the "n-word" quite upsetting, though, and I'd consider myself to be someone with absolutely no dog in that race. Ultimately, I found this collection to be reaching too high. While interesting concepts are presented in several stories, most authors tried to take their ideas too far for my taste without ever really gripping me as a reader.

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