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Review: Fix the World Anthology

Fix the World

Genre: Sci-Fi, Some Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Lesbian

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics, an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world. From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose the twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

The Review

Every one of the stories in this 12-author anthology, organized by J. Scott Coatsworth, is worth reading. The diversity of style and content is huge, but all of the stories share the theme of a climatic disaster on earth, and every one of them is emotionally satisfying (if sometimes unsettling). Half of the stories in this anthology have a significant LGBTQ theme, for which I was most grateful. Representation matters.

In Light, by Mere Rain

A gentle, eerie story set in some post-apocalyptic future, in which some earthlings left earth to go—to the stars?—and can return as advisors and helpers. They’re technically “celestials,” but are called angels by the people they interact with. The main character, Hav is (to my delight) a potter, and he develops an instant crush on Agent Svarga, the angel sent to work with with the colony of Caroline.

Juma and the Quantum Ghost, by Ingrid Garcia

A marvelous look into a non-American-centric culture—the country of Zambia—and a kind of bio-magical emergence of a nature-driven organic computer known as Bicqo. This is about a strong woman, Juma, striving to build a new life for her community. Like most countries in Africa, Zambia is virulently homophobic, but that is not an issue raised except tangentially.

Ice in D Minor by Anthea Sharp

Very focused, a fantasy based on the notion that music has the power to change the structure of the atmosphere and reverse the warming of the planet. A woman composer assembles an orchestra on the last remaining polar ice cap to play for the planet’s life. Like a dream and a prayer, beautifully rendered.

At the Movies by D.M. Rasch

This story posits a sci-fi future that still feels linked to our reality. A “Citizen Protector” joins a divorced mother and her two sons at a “retro” screening of movie in a theater—recreating something nostalgic and from the distant past. A surprise FF twist made me smile.

Who Shall Reap the Grain of Heaven by J.G. Follansbee

This was powerful and marvelously imaginative. The abbot of a struggling monastery has devised a system of cloud-seeding (using electronic aircraft) to alleviate the constant drought and save the livelihoods of those in the region around his community. The moral dilemma is: who is the benefactor for this expensive project? Dogma versus morality, handled with moving gentleness.

From the Sun and Scorched Earth by Bryan Cebulski

In the aftermath of some horrific military cataclysm in the USA, a farming village carries on a surprisingly happy routine in the literal shadow of one of the huge machines of destruction that laid it waste during the war. The boy who piloted that machine, Leo, has turned himself over to the village for retribution. Instead, they make him one of their own. A discreet MM angle was lovely.

Upgrade by Alex Silver

Wild and fast-paced, this post-apocalyptic urban fantasy tracks the life of Klein, a young man who tries to remain off-grid and under the radar in a world where technology has virtually taken over all aspects of human life (not always in bad ways). Like many young rebels, Klein gets caught up in something he didn’t foresee, and must turn to the very law enforcement he’s always tried to avoid. The MM turn in the plot was a pleasant surprise.

Rise by J. Scott Coatsworth

A short and chillingly poignant story about an Italian woman taking her mixed-race granddaughter to witness an historic event long after the apocalyptic climate disaster. In its simple narrative it moved me to tears.

A Forest for the Trees by Rachel Hope Crossman

Another magical-realist fantasy, this one being about a post-apocalyptic grove of trees—told from the point of view of the trees.

As Njord and Skadi by Jennifer R. Povey

The feeling of this story is optimistic and envisions a hopeful future. What it is really about is the collapse of an FF relationship, but for reasons tied to the earth. Sometimes love is not enough – and I found this touching and emotionally powerful.

The Call of the Wold by Holly Schofield

I loved this because the central figure is a 70-year-old who has taken on the role of traveler, crossing the country on a bicycle, all her possessions in a little trailer attached at the back. She encounters a collective community—called Henckel’s Wold—and seeks some respite from her years on the road. It’s a tender vision of a world that is surviving by changing the way people operate, and the protagonist, Julie, offers a wry commentary on the world as she experiences it.

The Homestead at the Beginning of the World by Jana Denardo

One of my favorites, given its clear MM storyline, we meet Sam Funmaker, a descendant of an Ojibwe clan who still inhabits the land of his ancestors in what used to be Wisconsin. This sense of legacy and survival becomes the backdrop for the aftermath of an alien invasion lasting a century, leaving a world crippled but determined to thrive again. The surprise is the figure of Kjell Eriksen, a city-dweller and scientist who has come to the wilderness to heal himself and his planet.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

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