Wastelands 2 is as you would expect the follow-up to John Joseph Adams’s Post Apocalyptic anthology Wastelands. Number Two contains another 30 stories of the world’s end in all its variety and forms from the biological Armageddon of Tananarive Due’s Patient Zero and Anne Aguirre’s Foundation to the climate change meltdown of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Tamarisk Hunter and the post-nuclear landscape of Joe R Lansdale’s Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back.
As with most anthologies I found some of the stories more enjoyable (is that the right word? we are dealing with the end of humanity after all), but the good news is that there are no real stinkers in Wastelands 2. Now while the subject matter may not seem to offer much to smile about there are even some remarkably optimistic stories in this collection including David Brin’s seminal The Postman where the chance discovery of a dead mailman’s uniform and sack presents the opportunity to impose some kind of order on the anarchy of a post apocalyptic America.
Top stories for me were: Animal Husbandry by Seanan McGuire, where a vet applies her own solution to helping the survivors of the apocalypse ; Robert Silverberg’s When We Went to See the End of the World, where the chattering classes are so busy taking the time travel trip to wirtness the world’s end that they don’t notice their own society collapsing around them and Orson Scott Card’s The Elephants of Poznan where we discover just who was the dominant species on Earth over the past few million years. However the story that I found most believable has to be Keffy R M Kehrli’s Advertising at the End of the World where one of the last women on Earth find’s her last refuge besieged by droids trying to sell her life insurance and funeral plans, yes I can see that happening!
Thought-provoking, often grim but at the same time often optimistic I give Wastelands 2 a 555/666
Wastelands 2 is published by Titan Books price £8.99