Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Meet me in the Future by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is a treasure.  I first heard about her on Ann Leckie’s blog a few years ago, when Leckie had gushed about Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion several months before it was published.  When it finally came out, I got a copy from the library and was blown away.  Her worldbuilding was so intricate and her characterization so amazing.  I still find myself, years later, thinking about different scenes and being haunted by some of her imagery.  (Also, I never stop smiling when I think of the alternate title:

Earlier this year, I just had to buy Hurley’s The Light Brigade, which I found to be unputdownable. A masterpiece! It’s going on my Hugo nomination ballot next year for sure.

So I was thrilled when I saw that her new short story collection, Meet Me in the Future, was coming out this summer! I received an eARC from NetGalley and tore through it! If the Stars Are Legion was a banquet, this collection of Hurley’s short fiction was like a chef’s table of small, delectable plates that leave you wanting more. 

This collection is filled with a wide range of different kinds of stories – fantasies and science fictional tales, adventures and dramas, small character moments and big wows. 
Two of the stories are in the same universe, following a body-swapping soldier who can upload his mind into corpses and reanimate them when they feel that they are about to die.  Once again, Hurley’s worldbuilding skills are top notch.  In a short story, an author has so much less space with which to create a fully realized universe, but time and again Hurley managed this monumental task.  

Some stories were quite emotionally moving, such as the one where a child has to accompany her mother to a war memorial.

Even in her serious pieces, Hurley’s trademark humor shines through.  I nearly chortled out loud on my morning commute reading her hostage negotiator’s reasoning for requisitioning a dog.  

For Fans of The Stars Are Legion, there is a story here that is a possible prequel, explaining a bit about how that universe came to be.  The collection also includes the original short story version of The Light Brigade that Hurley later developed into her novel.  It is a fascinating read after having enjoyed the novel – it is like an unpopped kernel of corn, just waiting to explode.
I cannot recommend this short story collection enough.  If you are not familiar with Kameron Hurley’s work, it is an excellent introduction and jumping off point.  After reading this, I am going to check out her Worldbreaker Saga and the Bel Dame Apocrypha series.  If you have read her novels before, then you definitely should buy this collection.  

I’d like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC I received – all opinions are my own.  I’ll leave you with the table of contents to peruse.  

Buy this book!

“Elephants and Corpses”
“When We Fall”
“The Red Secretary”
“The Sinners and the Sea”
“The Women of Our Occupation”
“The Fisherman and the Pig”
“The Plague Givers”
“Warped Passages”
“Our Faces, Radiant Sisters, Our Faces Full of Light!”
“The Corpse Archives”
“The War of Heroes”
“The Light Brigade”
“The Improbable War”

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