Review: Welcome to the Greenhouse edited by Gorden Van Gelder

by on Nov.13, 2011, under Reviews

This book is not what you might guess it would be. No, this book is much better, and more enduring, than you can imagine.

From the title I expected to find a book filled with sci-fi imaginings of catastrophe and chaos. And yes, this book could easily be called “Sixteen different ways calamity found us.” But to do that would be to overlook something very essential and different about this anthology.

These stories are cast after the apocalypse, often far in the future. And they don’t lay claim to the scientific predictions, nor the destruction. There is fairly short thrift paid to disaster. This is an anthology about humanity’s soul. Who we are. Who we can be, and who we have become. This anthology doesn’t challenge you to imagine physical earth disasters – it challenges you to imagine how far humanity might climb, or how low we can fall, after today’s expectations are far enough in the past to have been forgotten.

Jeff Carlson presents the story of a miracle boy that wanders across the earth trying to heal it. Pat McEwen tell us the moral delimas of a public defender trying to reestablish justice in a newly wild west. Chris Lawson shows us the struggle involved in trying to reestablish lost species on the planet. Each of these and nine other stories focus on the people trying to survive, live and love in an environment that we can barely imagine in our comfort today.

Gordon van Gelder’s selections for this anthology don’t tell us what’s going to happen to this planet. Instead they challenge us to see what we are capable of, both good and bad, noble and otherwise. Who will you be? What are you capable of?

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