Welcome to Dystopia

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Member Reviews

OR Books rarely puts out a bad title, and as such, this is a good book.  It's not a particularly uplifting book, but it might be the right book for motivating you to actually do something with your time!
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Welcome to Dystopia is a collection of 45 dystopian short stories that are dark, politically charged, and unsettling

I rarely read short stories because they almost always leave me wanting more. It's hard for me to resist dystopia, however, so I had to see what this collection had to offer.

In case the title didn't give readers a hint, the editor makes it plain that the current U.S. president served as inspiration for this anthology and the stories within it. That may dissuade some people from reading this book, but others will probably find it quite interesting.

Each story is set in the near future, and the way in which things have changed for the worse vary. No story has a happy ending, and each of them is chilling in its own way.

Some of the stories I liked best:

♋ by N. Lee Wood
Two women with cancer have extremely different experiences with their cancer treatment. One lives in New Zealand, the other lives in the U.S.)

The Terrific Leader by Harry Turtledove
Despite freezing and scrounging for edibles in the snow to stave off starvation, a girl eagerly looks forward to tuning in to one of the government-mandated channels to hear the Terrific Leader speak about how great everything is, was, and always will be.

Newsletter by Jennifer Marie Brissett
A bookstore owner warns patrons to keep certain books in a safe place, and that their book orders are being monitored.

We All Have Hearts of Gold© by Leo Vladimirsky
An advertising agency is tasked with selling the public on the Goldshirts, an enforcer group that "makes America safe again", as a good thing.

Dangerous by Lisa Mason
Vaginas are dangerous and must be registered with the government.

Designed for Your Safety by Elizabeth Bourne
A high-tech building goes into lock-down mode, trapping employees, who are desperate to get out despite a deadly illness infecting people outside.

While I liked some stories more than others, the book as a whole was unputdownable for me. Anything having to do with politics is a particularly touchy subject these days, so I'll recommend this book to open-minded readers who love dystopia.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of OR Books via Netgalley.
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Sneakers by Michael Libling
I thought that the story was good and a realistic prediction of the future. The characters well well developed and felt like there was more to them than what was presented in these few pages. However, I did feel that the ending was a little unclear.

re: Your Wedding by Ruth Nestvold
I quite liked the way that this story was told through a series as emails. The communication between an American and a European meant that we got to see how countries communicate in this world. I did think that it was a bit vague though.

Everything is Fixed Now by K.G. Anderson
I did think that the formal tone in these emails took away from the storytelling and made it harder to read than the previous story. This made the plot hard to follow. I felt that there was no real characterisation or reason to care about the characters.

His Sweat Like Stars on the Rio Grande by Janis Ian
I thought that this was a nice story with well-defined characters. It felt realistic but not dystopian or beyond belief, it could be a new story tomorrow and I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Agnosia by J.M. Sidorova
Again, I felt that this story could be headline news tomorrow and was not too futuristic for my taste. It did, however, have a good plot with nice relatable characters.

The Adventure of You by Paul La Farage
I found that this book was confusing as it was written as a set of writing exercises. It meant that there were few characters with little to no information about them. There was also no plot or world-building and left me wanting something more.

♋ by N. Lee Wood
This was an interesting take on the story as the main focus was healthcare in America and Australia. Again this story was told through emails, but the world building and character development were well done. I did feel that this was not futuristic as this is how I perceived American healthcare to work today.

Birds by Deepak Unnikrishnan
I liked this story as it was simple and easy to follow. However, I did wonder what it was doing in this anthology as it felt out of place. I was also slightly confused about how the magic? worked in this story.

The Only Constant by Leslie Howle
I really enjoyed this story and thought that it was well developed and had good characterisation. The plot and world building were great, and I wish that this story could have been longer.
The Terrific Leader by Harry Turtledove
I thought that this was a good story that was easy to follow. I thought that the characters were well developed. It was easy to see how we got to this future from today.

Two Explicit and Three Oblique Apologies to My Eldest Daughter One Month Before Her Eighteenth Birthday by Heather Lindsley
This story was simple and easy to understand but well written. I thought the characters were nice and the worldbuilding was good.

The Levelers by Deji Bryce Olukotun
I thought that this story had some interesting ideas and had some eco-friendly points. It was nice to see some trans representation in here, but I did think that the ending of the plot was a bit confusing.

No Point Talking by Geoff Ryman
I thought that this showed an interesting point of view as it shows a side to the dystopian story that is seldom seen (the side supporting the reigeme). It also shows how people change and how that can break up families.

Precaution at Penn Station by Michael Kandel
I thought that this short story was very effective at portraying its short story of how law enforcement can go so horribly wrong when it is over correcting its internal racial biases.

Newsletter by Jennifer Marie Brissett
I thought that this was a novel way to get the message across to readers by setting this story from the point of view of a bookshop. I thought that this had good worldbuilding and good characterisation of the bookseller.

Statues of Limitations by Jay Russell
I thought that this story was quite funny but it does require quite a bit of knowledge on pop culture and influential people to fully understand it. I did however like the Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda bit. I thought that the world was easy to understand but the characters were poorly written.

Suffocation by Robert Reed
I thought that this story was very confusing. I got the idea that the world was at war with itself but apart from that, I am not sure what happened in this story.

Application for Asylum by Eileen Gunn
I liked the worldbuilding in this story as it clearly shows the oppression and discrimination in this world. I was slightly confused about what the asylum application thing at the end was about though.

Welcome To The Triumph Band by Yoon Ha Lee
I thought this was a good story which is easy to understand. I thought that this was a novel angle to the dystopian world and the world was easy to understand.

Loser by Matthews Huges
I thought that this story was a bit too long and confusing. I found it to be very jumpy, but the world was well structured. I did feel that the characters lacked characterisation though.

We All Have Hearts of Gold by Leo Vladamirsky
I thought that this story was easy to understand. I loved the protagonist Simpy and thought that the other characters were well developed too. I thought the world in which this story was set was very easy to understand.

Notes On Retrieving A Fallen Banner by Marguerite Reed
These story covered deep and controversial issues but did it well. I liked how this story slowly got more serious and that it allowed for the world in which this story is set.

Ticket To Ride by Eric James Fullilove
I thought that this was slightly amusing but I felt it was lacking context as we didn’t properly understand what the company does. This story had good world building and characterization by minimal plot.

Burning Down the House by Ted White
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault / Rape

I liked the protagonist of this story, but I did feel that they plot was quite short for the length of the story. I did feel that the world in which this story was set could have been a little more worldbuilding.

Dangerous by Lisa Mason
This story was short but amusing. It had good characterisation and plot but I did feel that more context was needed for this story as I was a bit lost as to why this needed to happen.

Class Assignment by Thomas Kaufsek
I thought that this was quite an interesting way of looking at the world. In this story a child is comparing only utopian/distopian plots to their life and seeing what is good and bad. I like the format of this short story, but think the main thing to be learnt is to count your blessings.

Walls by Paul Witcover
This story was short and sweet. It was set in a partial developed world with a character that is easy to relate too. I liked the simple romance in this story and the fact that the protagonist has no known gender.

The Passion According To Mike by Scott Bradfield
I was confused by this story, I had a vague idea of the plot was not entirely sure of what was going on. I did like the use of Mike Pence and did feel that there was a sense of ridicule but I wasn’t sure who was being ridiculed.

Bright Sarasota Where The Circus Lies Dying by James Wallis
To be honest I have no idea what happened in this story or who it happened to.

The Name Unspoken by Richard Bowes
I liked the fact that the protagonist in this book was an older person. I felt that this character was well rounded, as was the plot.

The Elites by Stephanie Feldman
I liked that this story was a conversation between two parents but I did think that it was slightly unclear as to what exactly was going on in between the messages. Overall I enjoyed this story.

January 2018 by Barry N. Malzberg
I thought that this was an interesting take on the brief as it starts like a response to the book on which it is posted, until you realise that it a response to a different anthology where the worst has already happened.

Farewell by Mary Anne Mohanraj
I liked the strong worldbuilding and the strong characters. I appreciated the talk about contraception and the fact that the characters were people of colour.

The Amazing Transformation Of The White House Dog by Ron Goulart
I liked the story premise but thought that it was a bit confusing when switching between points of view and working out who was talking to who.

Handmaid’s Other Tale by Jane Yolen
This story was a short poem that was a refreshing break from the prose, but thought that it shouldn’t have been based off someone else’s work.

Sanctuary by Brian Francis Slattery
As this story was written as a letter, it was very emotionaly raw, and I liked that. The characters were well developed as was the plot and the world in which it was set.

One fell swoop by James Morrow
I quite enjoyed this story as it showed the republican point of view, which I felt was under represented in this anthology. However as I am not a republican, I also enjoyed how it all went wrong for them at the end.

BK Girls by TS Vale
I found this story a little confusing but think it was a version of the handmaid's tale that takes place under an Islamic Extremists regime in America.

Isn't Life Great by Don D'Ammassa
I loved this story as it was funny and easy going. I would love to see this world turned into a full length novel so that I can spend more time in this world

The men will be hungry afterwards by Ray Vukcevich
I wasn't very sure what happened in this one, but I do know that the end was very alarming.This story features sexual assault.

The Road South by Madeleine E. Robins and Becca CaccavoI 
I quite liked this story, but unfortunately my proof was badly formatted so I found it hard to follow. I did however, like the characters.

Skippy's Visit East by Michael Kandel
This story contained a lot of worldbuilding that was interwoven with the plot left me feeling confused. I was wondering if it was based on the Skippy tv show but wasn't sure as I haven't seen the show.

Designed for Your Safety by Elizabeth Bourne
I like this story a lot as it was clear and easy to understand. I liked how this was the start of things going wrong, so the world was not already in ruin

 Extreme Bedding by David Marusek
This was a weird story that I found easy to understand what was happening but found it quite hard to work out why. In this story a lot of people were labeled as terrorists, and I wondered if this was done in the same way that Trump has  a habit of labeling of people of colour as terrorists as none of  these 'terrorists' seemed to be scary or in any way threatening.
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I am a complete sucker for dystopian literature, and for short stories, so a combination of the two should be perfect for me. 
Unfortunately these stories aren't really *my* type of dystopia. They're (mainly) all a bit too close to the present and, quite frankly, too American. It's like blinkers are on for every author and none can see past their own country and the absolute shitstorm they're in (I'm British, we're in our own political shotstorm here). I like to read for escapism, not to be reminded of the reality and too possible scenarios that could occur. 
Some stories were excellent however, really well-thought out and engaging. Others were not so good, and one even used 'of' in place of 'have' - something that seriously pisses me off anyway when it's spoken, but to see an author use it in their writing is ridiculous and should have been noticed by the editing team. 
The anthology itself is a tad too long and with too many stories that are either not very well written, unoriginal or not engaging at all, which really brings the general collection down. This could be a good collection for those who don't read much dystopia, but for hardcore fans, probably best to give it a miss.
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It is a universally acknowledged fact that I LOVE dystopias, so I was ecstatic when I got an ARC of this anthology of dystopian tales from NetGalley!

I really liked a few but some of them were a disappointment- the characters felt meh and the plot wasn't very engaging. Therefore I lost interest quickly. However, maybe I might come back to them and may change my mind later- we shall see!
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Welcome to Dystopia is a selection of stories by various writers about the horrors that await us in the near and far future. I really liked the amount of short stories in this book...in the intro, the editor says he chose shorter ones deliberately and I think it was a good idea.
I love a good dystopia and some of these stories were really good. The one page tale of random executions in a train stati on that avoids racial profiling was brutal and brilliant. "Newsletter" was a heartbreaking story for any book lover. And there were two stories about women emailing each other which were quite powerful too.
There is a a lot of variety in these stories but there are some over arching themes and ideas that crop up a lot...immigration, Trump, closing borders. I think it's interesting to see how our ideas of dystopia have changed since Trump, but I thought some of the stories were a little heavy handed with the topics. A little too on the nose with the references to slogans and red hats. I know that this shows the general feeling on the ground, but for me personally it was a bit too much and too often for my tastes.
This book is not for the faint heart or for anyone who needs cheering up...it is relentless horror of our future. Generally, I love this topic! But, as I said, there were certain references that kept cropping up that I got a little bored with. Great for fans of the genre though and worth a look.
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I usually love dystopias but this collection was very repetitive & not very engaging. They read too much like real life in the not-too-distant future and many showed a lack of imagination. I powered through to finish this book but it was a hard slog as there were so many stories that just didn’t feel developed enough.
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I think the word dystopia is a bit of a stretch for this book.  The definition of dystopia is a "utopia" gone awry.  This book is a more a collection of stories that are one step away from being true, in very scary ways.

When evaluating a short story collection, I look for three things - 1. Are there stories that move me?  2. Are there more stories I enjoy than that I do not enjoy? 3. Can I read multiple stories in a sitting?  

There are absolutely some gems in this collection.  I did find that I couldn't read too many stories in a sitting, however, since they were all similar enough that it got to be too much.  On their own, most were in the category of stories that move me.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

dnf @ 38%

i don't like leaving books unfinished, especially i feel bad doing so with arcs, but at this point in my life my time is valuable, and i just can't keep pretending like i give a damn about this book anymore.

anthologies are interesting because they contain many different stories tied together by some vague topic. this anthology read like a collection of stories from one specific near-future world. i never felt like i was reading fiction: the stories lacked symbolism and resembled most recent news articles, or friday night news scripts. having only read less than a half of the book, i feel bored with every single story that comes after, because i can already predict the tone, time and place of the story, and that's failure to me. i just really don't feel like going on. if this was any other type of dystopia, i might have considered sacrificing a few more days, but this heavily political collection is not entirely catering to my tastes at all, so unfortunately i'll have to pass.
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It’s very hard to do Trump-adjacent dystopia without either doing nothing more than reporting or seeming cartoonish, or both. The more successful stories tend to reach beyond ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios. Janis Ian’s story of a white woman who fetishizes the Mexican workers forced to labor in her family’s fields was the most disturbing—it feels accurate about how sexuality can relate to racism but it is dystopic so it may not be something everyone is ready to read. Deji Bryce Olukotun’s The Levellers is about ecological levellers with politics that are not standard left or right and thus is more thought-provoking/speculative than many of the other immigration-focused stories. Mary Anne Mohranaj’s Farewell is the best of the human immigration-focused stories, though it isn’t particularly fictional or speculative (it’s about denaturalization of naturalized nonwhites). J.S. Breukelaar’s Glow is an immigration story with a difference, about aliens and humans and the thin skin between. Harry Turtledove’s and Barry Malzberg’s stories are cartoonish; sadly, Yoon Ha Lee’s is as well, and Jane Yolen’s poem; Geoff Ryman’s story from the perspective of a sexist whose wife likes liberal North California better than the guns-and-guns republic in the south is the same. Ray Vukevich’s story about ritualized humiliation of female resistance is the best of the cartoonish/satirical ones—it manages to insert genuine menace and an understanding of what makes people complicit in oppression even when they say to themselves that they disagree.
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When you love dystopian fiction it’s tough to resist a book that literally welcomes you to it. But then again maybe it would have been smart to exercise some caution…because this isn’t quite the sort of dystopia I enjoy. For one thing it’s set predominantly in near present or immediate future. For another it’s all one note, one theme…a nightmarish interpretation of the current US politics
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ARC Copy...very much understand why today's political landscape would be a fountain of inspiration for dystopia + felt disturbing in good story way but felt overkill saturation/too many to the point multiple stories felt like the same stories over and over again plus it felt the general anthology was going to be very outdated in a short amount of time. Some of the stories I did like as favorites, for example Yolen's beautiful if bold poem and a high-tech building goes wrong felt current yet will probably last awhile in the long run.
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I was really disappointed in this collection. I feel like dystopias are now too over done and so every story was just cliche and stolen story line. Not for me unfortunately
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If you enjoy far left- wing propaganda set in very short stories this book is for you! I gave one star because the stories are at least spelled correctly.
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Although the majority of stories are America-centric the themes that are in them can be relate-able for all of us. I've read a lot of the reviews and disagree with them.
I found these stories haunting, thought-provoking and quite honestly terrifying.
They are written by people who disagree with Trump's policies or, at least, can see inherent danger in his actions. The short stories have many themes from data protection all the way through to martial law and I found them fascinating. You can see the thought process or many of the writers and the fact that those scenarios are not too far fetched is what is truly scary.
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I am sorry to say that I was nonplussed by this offering, as the stories were hit or miss for me. I get the idea dystopia and near-future, but usually it is more than 3 years out. While there were a few gems among the assorted texts, the majority seemed to be a critique against the current presidential administration. Whether or not one is a fan of the actions of the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania, we read science fiction to escape, if only briefly, the troubles of the modern day. Again, some people did stand out as pieces worthy of respect and appreciation in their own right, but not enough to make the whole volume engaging.
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Dark and witty and smart and depressing stories about a future in which technology controls just about everything, and anything can be done to you, or your friends, or the planet, by technology. The theme is, of course, dystopia, but while the stories are individually mostly good reads, the collection as a whole starts to feel rather Luddite in nature about a third of the way through. The writing throughout is solid, but the repetitiveness of similar ideas dulls.
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While this collection of short stories clearly has a political message, their approach does show the level of concern at the route society seems to be taking. While some of the stories do seem to fit the idea of propaganda at times, it is worth reading through the anthology to find the thoughtful and thought-provoking stories that address the core concerns of society, no matter the political party in power. Some of the stories are so short they are over before they really start, yet some of these also provide great opportunities for reflection. If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, it is worth exploring.
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Perfect for any distopia fan, this eclectic collection of end-of-the-world stories is fascinating and at times, terrifying. A glimpse of potential futures, horrific political landscapes and natural disasters will satisfy any short story lover.
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I wish I could give this a higher rating, because some of the stories were very interesting. I know the choice to go with shorter stories was deliberate, but some of them were so short I couldn't really figure out what was going on.  The Kindle formatting wasn't great, either; one story consisted entirely of text messages, which was an interesting format, but there was nothing to identify which person was which, and the last line changes meaning considerably depending on which character it was. I hope in the final version they'll be colour coded, or something else to make it obvious.

Some interesting stories, but overshadowed by the bad points, sadly.

I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the chance to read it.
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