Monday, July 28, 2014

Book review - Help Fund My Robot Army!!!

I thought it might be nice to try something new this week.  If you watch my Goodreads profile, you'll see that I tend to read a lot of different kinds of books.  Of late, I've become hooked on short story anthologies, as they give me such a broad range of stories and styles in one convenient package.  The best anthology I've read recently is John Joseph Adams' Help Fund My Robot Army!!!

The premise of the anthology is that each story is told as though it were a project page on a crowdfunding site such as Kickstarter or Indigogo.  The format is pretty well restrained, as the author is limited to essentially a sales pitch, different levels for backers, updates, and occasionally some conversation through backer comments.

Even with these restrictions, the authors who wrote the stories that make up this anthology are able to use every little bit to create characters and worlds that feel completely fleshed out.  For example, Jake Kerr's story "A Memorial to the Patriots" gives us a United States in which terrorist attacks have led to a severe reduction in any kind of communication (and shows us how futile that can be), while Carmen Maria Machado's story "Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead" manages to give an in-depth view of a family that's falling apart.

There are some silly projects, too, since that makes up a good number of the projects actually available on Kickstarter.  Even these, however, have far more depth than I expected in such a small amount of space.  As a reader, I'm enchanted by how many different worlds and how many unique voices the authors are able to create.  As a writer, I wish to learn exactly how they managed to pull this off.

Overall, five stars, would definitely read again.