Although this is a long-running series and has produced a number of popular authors today, I have never before read any of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writer of the Future volumes. I am sorry for that because there really is some good writing inside (this volume, at least). But …
…While there is some very good work within, there really isn’t anything so outstanding that I’ve added the author to my ‘watch’ list. I think I enjoyed some of the essays by the established authors and artists more than most of the fiction here.
Of the stories, “Switch,” the first story in the collection, by Steve Pantazis is a nice beginning and establishes that this will be a strong collection. The story is a sci-fi thriller in which an embedded drug allows for a direct link to the internet. It’s a nicely written story, though the ‘direct-link-to-internet’ is not an uncommon theme anymore — the Nexus series by Ramez Naam has done it exceedingly well.
“Twelve Minutes to Vinh Quang” by Tim Napper was one of the stronger stories for me. It was another thriller and perhaps I was in the mood for this sort of sci-fi?
If you’ve followed my reviews much, you will know that I do not like books that are all about form rather than story, so it may comes a surprise that I liked Scott R. Parkin’s “Purposes Made for Alien Minds” as much as I did. The story begins with: “I think five word thoughts. I express five word sentences.” And he does all through the story. It’s clever and Parkin’s does it well. The short story is EXACTLY where form should be experimented with – not the novel.
Other highlights in the book, for me, were L. Ron Hubbard’s essay “Art”; Orson Scott Card’s “Fiction without Paper”; “Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven; and Bob Eggleton’s “The Illustrators of the Future” and “On the Direction of Art” which was the first time I’ve ever really gotten any insight to the art direction process.
I was a little less excited by the artwork. Daniel Tyka (who is featured twice) and Greg Opalinski are the only two who stood out. Others were fine, but it’s clear why this is an anthology of new, or raw, talent.
This book was certainly worthwhile and a good mix of new writers and established authors.
The book contains the following:
Introduction – David Farland
“Switch” – Steve Pantaszis; art – Daniel Tyka
“The God Whisperer” – Daniel J. Davis; art – Alex Brock
“Stars That Make Dark Heaven Light” – Sharon Joss; art – Choong Yoon
“Art” – L. Ron Hubbard
“When Shadows Fall” – L. Ron Hubbard; art – Greg Opalinski
“A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration” – Auston Habershaw; art – Shuangjian Liu
“Twelve Minutes to Vin Quang” – Tim Napper; art – Quinlan Septer
“Planar Ghosts” – Krystal Claxton; art – Amit Dutta
“Fiction without Paper” – Orson Scott Card
“Rough Draft” – Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta; art – Daniel Tyka
“Between Screens” – Zach Chapman; art – Trevor Smith
“Unrefined” – Martin L. Shoemaker; art – Tung Chi Lee
“Half Past” – Samantha Murray; art – Megan Kelchner
“Purposes Made for Aline Minds” – Scott R. Parkin; art – Emily Siu
“Inconstant Moon” – Larry Niven; art – Bernardo Mota
“The Illustrators of the Future” – Bob Eggleton
“The Graver” – Amy M. Hughes; art – Taylor Payton
“Wisteria Melancholy” – Michael T. Banker; art – Michelle Lockamy
“Poseidon’s Eyes” – Kary English; art – Megen Nelson
“On the Direction of Art” – Bob Eggleton
Looking for a good book? Writers of the Future, Volume 31 is a decent collection of new talent (with some established authors for balance) and is nice if you’re looking to see who is on the rise, but is otherwise a rough assortment.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Writers of the Future Volume 31
editor: David Farland
publisher: Galaxy Press
paperback, 496 pages