Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Humanity 2.0 edited by Alex Shvartsman

Humanity 2.0
Alex Shvartsman brings us another excellent anthology with Humanity 2.0, a collection of stories that explore how interstellar flight might alter the path of humanity. Fifteen diverse stories show what it means to be human in the future — often the far future, and sometimes with genetic code that no longer reads as homo sapiens.

With Humanity 2.0, Alex Shvartsman once again shows that he knows how to pick ‘em and how to arrange them, so that each story compliments the preceding and the following in an even mix of reprints and new fiction.

Humanity 2.0 opens with excellent mixed narrative“The Waves” by Ken Liu, whichs asks readers to compare ancient origin myths with the high-tech life of the far-flung future. The theme of the issue begs an examination of topics such as multi-generational colonization and each author brings their own perspective and flare to Humanity 2.0. In "The Right Place to Start a Family" by Caroline M. Yoachim, Yuna ditches crowded Earth to colonize a distant planet and soon discovers that her expectations are rigid and unrealistic.

Shvartsman’s anthology is a great mix of positive SF and those of a heavy-hearted nature;

"A Lack of Congenial Solutions" by Kenneth Schneyer presents a philosophical bent that takes a darker turn when enslaved races overthrow humanity. And if you like your fiction even darker, Cat Rambo has you covered in “Angry Rose’s Lament,”a piece where a recovering addict feels he must pull off his negotiation with the wasp-like Solin aliens, or else he and his colleagues will fall back into temptation. "The Hand on the Cradle" by Brenda Cooper deals with themes of abuse and discrimination when cyborg Colorima is tortured for her supposed knowledge of her colleague’s radical resistance movement. "EH" by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro takes creepy to a whole new level when humans jump at the chance to become enhanced and then discount the side-affects of their genetic alterations.

In the middle of the anthology, “An Endless Series of Doors” by David Walton shows the pros and cons of portal travel and of the human condition by telling an adventure from the perspective of a hopelessly selfish, ultra-rich party-goer.

Towards the end, Mike Resnick brings us a powerful, multifaceted story with "The Homecoming," in which Jordan resents his son Phillip for taking on the form of an alien and leaving Earth. When Phillip returns home for a visit, he discovers his mother in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

For more stories on the lighter side, body modder Niko takes readers on an adventure on the lam in "Green Girl Blues" by Martin L. Shoemaker. "Star Light, Star Bright" by Robert J. Sawyer ends the anthology with a sweet exploration story full of hope.

Humanity 2.0 releases Nov. 24th, 2016 from Pheonix Pick.

Pre-order Humanity 2.0 at [ Amazon ] to get your copy delivered Nov. 24th!
Visit to see Shvartsman’s many anthologies and short story publications.

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