Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best of the Year
In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.
Praise for Maureen F. McHugh:
"Gorgeously crafted stories."—Nancy Pearl, NPR
"Unpredictable and poetic work."—The Plain Dealer
Maureen F. McHugh has lived in New York; Shijiazhuang, China; Ohio; Austin, Texas; and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including Tiptree Award-winner China Mountain Zhang and New York Times editor's choice Nekropolis. McHugh has also worked on alternate reality games for Halo 2, The Watchmen, and Nine Inch Nails, among others.
Hugo-winner McHugh (Mothers and Other Monsters) puts a human face on global disaster in nine fierce, wry, stark, beautiful stories. An impoverished artist in drought-stricken Arizona is reduced to sculpting sex toys in "Useless Things." In a near-future China ravaged by bird flu and capitalism, two young women escape wage slavery with the help of a na ve activist in "Special Economics." A teenage girl trapped in American suburbia grimly watches one of her mothers succumb to a brain-destroying disease carried by processed chicken nuggets in "The Effect of Centrifugal Forces." As McHugh's entirely ordinary characters begin to understand how their lives have been transformed by events far beyond their control, some shrink in horror while others are "matter of fact as a heart attack," but there is no suicidal drama, and the overall effect is optimistic: we may wreck our planet, our economies, and our bodies, but every apocalypse will have an "after" in which people find their own peculiar ways of getting by.
not bad / not great
I guess I was expecting more "apocalypse" then was offered in the book.
100 Words or Less
I heard good things about this collection of Apocalyptic shorts. And the first story was weird and interesting and in the end, quite good. But from there, the quality plummeted. The rest of the collection seemed so disjointed – some stories were barely connected to any sort of world-wide catastrophe. The characters were navel-gazing and the plots were so uninteresting. Big disappointment.