BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology that collects twenty apocalyptic stories from the past ten years (with one exception).
PROS: Exciting action and intriguing protagonists. High level of differentiation in type and setting of stories. The anthology shows well how the tenor and composition of apocalyptic fiction has changed in recent years.
CONS: Mostly pessimistic stories with only glimmers of hope in them. Introductions that give away too much of the story.
BOTTOM LINE: After the End: Recent Apocalypses highlights how our perception of mankind’s role in this world has shifted toward a more pessimistic outlook post 9/11.
Stoker award winner, Prime Books’ senior editor and longtime anthologist Paula Guran collects twenty apocalyptic stories of the past ten years (2007-2012, save one) for a mostly depressing but occasionally hopeful anthology. Unlike many prior anthologies, which mixed various decades of writing output, Guran’s focus on the last ten years (post-9/11), shows how the tenor and composition of apocalyptic fiction has changed in our day. The double meaning of “recent” in the book’s subtitle refers not only to the timing of the apocalypses in this book, but also of their publication. As might be expected of the age of terrorism, war, political and ideological stratification, and the downplay of science, the stories are much darker, the glimmer’s of hope much dimmer. But hope is there among the wreckage, at least for some of our protagonists.