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After (Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia)

After (Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia)

3.7 10
by Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling

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If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe's


If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe's wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.

New York Times bestselling authors Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Carrie Ryan, Beth Revis, and Jane Yolen are among the many popular and award-winning storytellers lending their talents to this original and spellbinding anthology.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Looking for happily ever after? Look elsewhere. These 19 original tales of technology gone wrong, disease run rampant, and Earth's inhabitants struggling to survive are dark, heavy, and filled with foreboding. They are also well-crafted—each with its own flavor and texture—creating a collection to be savored, pondered, and enjoyed. Frequent collaborators and anthologists Datlow and Windling have assembled a crew of writers that includes Cecil Castellucci, Gregory Maguire, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Beth Revis. Garth Nix offers an unsettling prelude to Shade's Children with a short story set 10 years prior to the events of that novel. Carrie Ryan's chilling love story takes place in a diseased and dangerous world, while Matthew Kressel presents a comically sad game of baseball in a devastated world where strange, alien creatures lurk. And Steven Gould contributes a haunting portrait of a society overridden by metal-eating bugs. Readers thirsting for more material in the vein of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Eleventh Plague will be satisfied with the array of tales offered and marvel at just how bleak Earth's future can look. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Geri Diorio
Any librarian who has been asked for books just like The Hunger Games will appreciate how this collection of short stories will satiate readers hungry for tales of futuristic woe. As the title implies, these stories do not describe the (political, environmental, socioeconomic) disasters but instead describe events post-apocalypse, what life is like afterward. The variety of tales and writing styles is wide. Cecil Castellucci offers a story where cities have vanished and knowledge of science is lost, but society somehow still runs via strict rules about cross-breeding. Jeffrey Ford presents a coming-of-age tale where becoming an adult means getting your own firearm. Not that far-fetched, but when it is law that everyone must be armed, and when teachers joke around by aiming their handguns at students who misbehave in class, things can get dicey fast. Genevieve Valentine presents a tale where the media manipulates survivors for the government, staging wars, family reunions, and touching scenes of bravery and hope. The actors in these mini-movies best remain anonymous because terrible things could happen if the public finds out about them. The sixteen other tales cover everything from lycanthropy and mutation to the lengths one would go to find lost family members. These are good, smart, well-written science fiction pieces. They throw readers into the tale, and they must figure out things from context as they read. Teens seeking a dystopian fix, as well fans of science fiction, will be well pleased by this book. Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA - Holly Storm
For any lover of dystopian or post-apocalyptic literature, After is a must-read. The disasters in the collection are incredibly varied and creative. Despite the bleak premise, the stories do not all strike a gloomy tone; the authors capture many emotions, ranging from poignant to comical; from stirring to chilling. Even given the short length of each piece, the characters are all very easy to get attached to. Each story will leave readers craving more of the author’s work. 5Q, 4P. Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Eighteen stories and one poem by both popular and lesser-known authors. There are stories ranging from the nightmarish-Steven Gould's "Rust With Wings" about metal-eating bugs that will devour anything, including a pacemaker-to the comical-Matthew Kressel's "The Great Game at the End of the World," about a game of baseball played as Earth is being destroyed by strange alien creatures. Jeffrey Ford's "Blood Drive" strikes an ominous, "too close to home" note given recent events in the news: it is a frank depiction of a world in which everyone over 18, including teachers and students, is armed with guns. Though the subject matter is bleak, many stories end on a note of hope or provide moments of reflection. While not every entry is strong, there is much here to savor, and fans of dystopias won't be disappointed.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Both superstar and up-and-coming YA authors tackle the themes of apocalypse and dystopia in 19 short stories and poems. Nearly every story provides a first-person adolescent protagonist, with male and female viewpoints equally represented, some with explicit GLBT orientation. The scenarios they narrate vary widely--from ecological catastrophes to alien invasion, political revolutions to supernatural uprisings, religious tyranny to socioeconomic collapse--but with less emphasis on the mechanics of the disaster than on coping with the aftermath. Graphic violence and destruction are avoided in favor of pointed allusions and carefully selected images; although many are creepy or even nightmarish, most conclude on a note of hope. Yet the relentless succession of bleak circumstances and failure eventually blurs the individual voices into an indistinguishable grimness. Indeed, the concluding bibliographical essay by the editors is in many ways the highlight of the volume, succinctly tracing the history, appeal and best current examples of the genre. A fine selection for new readers looking to sample this type of fiction or for dedicated fans seeking fresh voices. (Science fiction/short stories. 12 & up)

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
HL810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Ellen Datlow has been an editor of Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, and Horror for over thirty years, winning several Hugo and Locus Awards, nine World Fantasy Awards, the International Horror Guild Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and many other honors for her work. She has edited numerous anthologies for adults, young adults, and middle grade readers, some of them in partnership with Terri Windling. Ms. Datlow lives in New York City.

Terri Windling is a writer, editor, and artist specializing in fantasy literature and mythic arts. She has published over forty books, including many anthologies for readers young and old, and has won nine World Fantasy Awards, the Bram Stoker Award, and many others. Ms. Windling lives with her husband and daughter in a small village in southwest England.

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After 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
book-addict98 More than 1 year ago
omg this was so boring i cant i had to skip like 5 of the stories because they were so poorly written. not worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a shame so few people have read this book, it's amazing. Different, but still one of the best books I have ever read. Very entertaining, a page tuner; this book is a collection of short-stories of apocalypse and dystopia, and I would recommend this to just about anyone.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
After reading the Ashfall by Mike Mullin, the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and The Hunger Games series by Susanne Collins, I have been drawn to stories about the apocalypse and dystopian societies. They seem to be a reflection of our current society and since I gravitate towards young adult fiction, I’ve been keeping an eye out for this collection ever since I passed up the opportunity to purchase it directly from Ellen when she was a guest at ICON a few years ago. And I was excited to finally get my hands on a copy of After after months of searching the local bookstores. If you are a fan of apocalypse and dystopia stories, you will definitely want to get your hands on this anthology. These stories were eerie snapshots of a world that might be. With the exception of two stories, I wanted most of these shorts to be full length novels. The two exceptions? I’ve read Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Shade’s Children by Garth Nix so I’ve been immersed in those worlds via full length novels. Reading about “Shade” again, I realized I need to re-read that book this year. My Favorite Story: Blood Drive By Jeffery Ford With all the recent stories about gun massacres and the arguments for and against gun control, this story made me realize that guns in the hands of everyone might not be a good idea. In this story, teenagers are given guns their senior year in high school. It’s a right of passage like getting car when you are sixteen or going out for drinks on your 21st. The horrifying results of this right of passage at one school and comments about the government will give you pause. My Least Favorite Story: Gray By Jane Yolen I am just not a fan of poetry. It’s as simple as that. Final Thoughts Paging back through this book, I would love to share my thoughts on each an every story, but this review would go on for days! Let’s just say that if you are fan of destroyed worlds, this anthology is one you should consider picking up. Filled with stories about creepy worlds with kids doing what they can to survive, this anthology will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thos book was a piece of sh*t. Very poorly written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of the stories left me wanting more to read. I have several authors to look up now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprised by the great reviews.  There are a couple of really good stories, a couple blatant (and poorly executed) political pieces, and the rest could have come from a decent creative writing course at the local community college.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best collections I've ever read, in any genre. Very creative, thoughtful prose. Read this, you won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesome book needs to be read!!!!!!!
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
If there’s one form of literature that truly frightens me, it’s anthologies. Why? Because I personally find that when it comes to anthologies, I get really wrapped up in the plots only to find myself being cut off. The end. Done. Never mind how attached I got to the characters in the short story or how I expected a big plot, they just end and leave everything to the imagination. That’s why I love novels, because they usually tie everything up nicely. Like a ribbon on a Christmas present; Wrapped up nicely (Howdy, holiday reference). The thing about After that sounded so interesting was the fact that it’s a series of short stories about life after the apocalypse. And yes, I did see what they did there. Anyhow, I was interested to begin reading After especially since the list of authors that they have seemed pretty impressive (I personally was excited to see what author Beth Revis had written). After not only shows all the possible outcomes of the apocalypse (should our world legitimately end, be destroyed by war or get ravaged by supernatural beasts) and for the most part, I enjoyed every moment of it. From the starting story, The Segment, by author Genevieve Valentine to The Marker by author Cecil Castellucci, After was an anthology that has given me enough dystopia to never need to read another dystopian novel ever again. I mean really, almost every single possible topic and plot point was reached in the anthology. The only thing that I don’t think I got to read about was zombies, but even then, it’s not a major disappointment (however I was secretly hoping that Carrie Ryan would give me a final taste of her zombie universe). My absolute favorite short story in After was Beth Revis’ The Other Elder. It takes place in the Across the Universe series and highlights the life of, you guessed it, the other Elder. It shows the dark secrets of the life of an Elder as well as the life before Amy woke up. I loved the Other Elder. I absolutely loved everything about it. The writing style, the main character’s brief point of view and I loved how it gave me off such a somber tone. I find that I can’t really say much what with it only being about ten pages long and risk giving away a lot of spoilers, but fans of Revis’ previous works will surely be pleased with the short story. However, there was one story that I literally could not for the life of me, understand. I’m a bit of a spelling/grammar freak and the story How Th’irth Wint Rong By Hapless Joey @ Homeskool.GUV by author Gregory Maguire totally had my every pet peeve going crazy. It was like I was Bruce Banner and had to fight my inner Hulk from raging out at the plethora of spelling mistakes. So. Many. Mistakes! The opening sentence had them, every paragraph had them and I understand the need for realism… but still… Hulk smash. After reading over fifteen stories of what happens after the world ends, I’ve gotta admit that about half way through I was getting a bit bored. Some of the stories began to get dull and the amount of dystopia stories going one after the other does get a bit bored. If there is one story that I want made into a full length novel… like now… it would be Faint Heart by Sarah Rees Brennan. It was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I would recommend After to fans of dystopia, readers who don’t mind being given the same genre but with different plots and to those of us who want to know what happens after the world ends.