Fix the World—review by Jeff Baker
(Reviewer’s Note: I was given an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.)
The times we live in are grim. In keeping with this, dystopian fiction seems to be on the rise. An anthology from Other Worlds Ink seeks to remedy this: “Fix The World,” edited by J. Scott Coatsworth, offers twelve stories, all offering hope for a future world. The idea of such an anthology sounds almost Pollyanna-ish. But that is not true of the book or the twelve stories within. Moods range from tranquil to suspenseful, with themes involving ecology, love and terrorism. The writers find an extraordinary variety of themes to work with.
Among the stories:
Ingrid Garcia’s “Juma and the Quantum Ghost” blends biological computers, soccer and kidnapping as well as a Kenyan setting. “Conference call from Juma: She only does this when the giraffe dung really hits the wind turbine.”
“In Light” by Mere Rain, tells how an “Angel” appears on Earth at a time when environmental destruction is being “remediated.” In this optimistic world of biohouses, there is a tinge of darkness.
“Rise” by J. Scott Coatsworth, is set in a future Venice where flood levels are being lowered by genetically-evolved creatures.
“At the Movies” by D. M. Rasch, brings a future version of the cinema, along with real danger for those in the audience.
Anthea Sharp’s “Ice In D Minor” takes a look at creativity in the future with a literally cool setting.
Several of the stories feature characters from across the LGBT spectrum; the main character in Alex Silver’s “Upgrade” swaps between genders of genitalia in a future where people have “ports” installed in their bodies. “I never much understood people who wrapped their identity up in what was between their legs at birth,” the narrator says.
A small village in a post-war world is the setting for Bryan Cebulski’s “From the Sun and Scorched Earth.” Leo, pilot of a “Mech,” comes to town to heal. Lukas finds himself falling for him. Leo’s initial expectations and the villager’s reactions pull this story above the ordinary.
But none of the stories are ordinary. The collection succeeds in its goal of telling of a brighter, more hopeful future.