Tuesday, July 22, 2014

L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Volume 30 Review

I was provided with this product in exchange for an honest review.

 Calling all science fiction and fantasy lovers! I have a wonderful collection of short stories to share with you today. For 30 years, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future have been introducing readers to new upcoming writers such as Stephen Baxter, one of the previous winners I am most familiar with.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this collection of stories, but after reading Another Rage of Mountains by Megan E. O'Keefe, I was hooked. The majority of the stories I did enjoy, with just two or three not really interesting me. Here's a taste of what this book contains:

"A mail-order bride can bring nothing with her between the stars—except all kinds of heartache and a secret hope. . . ."

"When a Supreme Court judge prepares to die, the most valuable thing that he has to bequeath are his memories. . . ."

"All kinds of people want to take a trip to the End of the World, but what do they hope to gain?"

"As a shifter, Fat Reggie can be whoever he wants to be—but identity comes with a price. . . ."  (source: http://www.writersofthefuture.com/l-ron-hubbard-presents-writers-of-the-future-vol-30/)

A few stories stuck out in my mind, and have left me hoping to see further stories from these authors in the future. Namely: Paul Eckheart, C. Stuart Hardwick, Leena Likitalo (I hope your book does get published!) and Amanda Forrest. In addition to new writers, the Writers of the Future includes stories by established authors such as Orson Scott Card, whose stories I enjoy. It also includes a few articles from within the organization, Robert Silverberg, for example. These I mostly just skimmed as I didn't find these entirely interesting. I was very impressed with L. Ron Hubbard's own piece, Artistic Presentation.

I feel this is a fantastic collection and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy. The themes of these stories are varied, and the collection contains a little bit of interest for everyone. Just to give you an idea, some of the stories include space travellers, shape shifters, robots.. aka the usual, but in new and very different ideas. Even the stories I didn't enjoy I had to admit were well written. One of my favorite stories came from a Finnish author, whom I never would have guessed English to not be her native tongue. It was very refreshing to read so many new and creative stories in one book.

This book isn't just about the stories, however. It's also about the illustrations. Each story contains a black and white illustration by a new artist, with full color illustrations at the back of the book. I just want to comment on this for a second: I found the layout to be confusing and I'm not really certain why they did it in this manner, especially because not all of the illustrations were in alphabetical order. I found this to be very confusing when looking for the artwork matching the stories. It would make more sense to me to organize the artwork in the order in which the stories appear in the book. Anyway... there are a few artists I was very impressed with their work:
Michael Talbot, I just loved this illustration and it did the job: it made me want to read Shifter. Perfect.
Trevor Smith, I was really drawn to this piece.
Kirbi Fagan, captured the feel of the storing exceedingly well.
Vincent-Michael Coviello, The Shaadi Exile, all I can say is perfect.
One of my favorite pieces comes from Bernardo Mota, who was in his last year of high school when he did his piece. I was very impressed.

I sincerely hope to see more artwork from these artists, and to read more stories from the authors in the future. I would consider purchasing other volumes of Writers of the Future. Volume 30 is about 400 pages and only $11.77 on Amazon, an excellent value!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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