L. Ron Hubbard Presents WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, Volume XXV edited by K. D. Wentworth, Galaxy Press, $7.99, 543 pages, ISBN: 9781592124367, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Twenty five years ago, the first volume of the annual WRITERS OF THE FUTURE was released. I took a look back at that volume to see if any of the members of that first class were still writing today. I was not surprised to find some names that are still working and succeeding in the field. I was surprised to see that there were FIVE of them. Nina Kiriki Hoffman, David Zindell, Karen Joy Fowler, Dean Wesley Smith and Leonard Carpenter were all members of that first class.
Over the years they have been joined by Howard V. Hendrix, Dave Wolverton, Nancy Farmer, K.D. Wentworth (who has become editor of the annual volume), Sean Williams, Eric Flint, Scott Nicholson, Jim Hine and Jake Lake. There are many others that have gone on with their careers thanks to the start they were given after entering the contest.
No one can predict the success of this years group of authors, but I expect to hear a great deal from several of them. The writing style is a little bit more realistic and pessimistic than in years before. That may be based on the current circumstances in the world, or it may just be my current outlook on the way things are going.
The volume opens with this years winning entry, “Garden of Tian Zi” by Emery Huang. It is a tale of a conglomerate run future and genetic engineering that also shows there can still be a human relationship. Donald Mead shows an unusual tale of the results of the bombing of Hiroshima in “The Shadow Man”. Gra Linnaea’s “Life in Steam” is a steampunk tale that shows the Church as inquisitor yet again. Fiona Lehn takes an alternate THE LONG WALK/RUNNING MAN tale and adds in charity, multicorps, and war in “The Assignment of Runner ETI”. Heather McDougal gives a western setting in a dying gold rush town where “The Candy Store” just happens to open. Jordan Lapp gives the story of a Phoenix in “After the Final Sunset, Again”. There are plenty of others between the covers to give you interest and leave you waiting to see what the writers do next.
The stories seem, to me, to be more emotional than in the past. This is a very solid collection and it has the feel of a group of writers with more maturity and sales under their belts rather than those just starting out. My compliments go to the writers and the judges for picking them out.