L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 39

Galaxy Pr. May 2023. ed. by Dean Wesley Smith & Jody Lynn Nye. 18:20 hrs. ISBN 9781619867703. $24.95. SF
Listeners are treated to a range of science fiction, speculative fiction, classic and urban fantasy, and more in this anthology featuring the 12 winners of the 39th Annual Writers of the Future Award, along with additional stories from Kevin J. Anderson and S.M. Stirling. Narrators Jim Meskimen and Taylor Meskimen alternate in telling the stories, from Stirling’s “Constant Never,” a classic fantasy with a twist, to David Hankins’s entertaining take on the Grim Reaper (“Death and the Taxman”). Tamra Meskimen capably reads two supplemental essays as well as the collection’s final story, “The Last History” by Samuel Parr. Both narrators’ performances are well rounded and energetic, communicating the varying tones and styles of each story. In Devon Bohm’s “Kitsune,” an ethereal speculative fiction about the unsettling reappearance of extinct foxes, Taylor Meskimen brings out the melancholy of an eerily familiar world, while Jim Meskimen captures the momentum and poignancy of T.J. Knight’s “The Fall of Crodendra M,” a sobering look at the casual heartlessness of broadcast media.
VERDICT This panoramic collection offers something for everyone, with sci-fi and fantasy stories that are both inventive and creative. A solid addition to any SFF collection and a delight for genre fans.
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