Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow
I edited (& curated) this collection of original social satire, fabulist tales, and darkly humorous dystopian visions by many of my favourite Canadian writers. These 23 stories will take you on a twisted, wild ride into some future times and parallel universes where characters as diverse as a dead boy, a one-legged international actuarial forensics specialist, a pharmaceutical guinea pig, and a far-sighted fetus engage in their own games of the survival of the fittest.
From Pasha Malla’s hilarious take on the apocalypse, where Prince is the only man left alive, to Matthew J. Trafford’s brilliant triptych about the fallout from the cloning of Jesus Christ, to iconoclast Sheila Heti’s meditative romp about beleaguered physicists and Oracle of Delphi-like BlackBerrys, Darwin’s Bastards is a fast-moving, thought-provoking reading extravaganza.
The collection also includes the first new short story by William Gibson to be published since 1997, as well as new fiction by Jay Brown, Paul Carlucci, Douglas Coupland, Buffy Cram, Elyse Friedman, Jessica Grant, Lee Henderson, Anosh Irani, Mark Anthony Jarman, Oliver Kellhammer, Annabel Lyon, Stephen Marche, Yann Martel, Heather O’Neill, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Neil Smith, Timothy Taylor, Laura Trunkey and David Whitton.
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Darwin’s Bastards is nominated for a 2011 BC Book Prize for The Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. Thank you, booksellers – you’re a noble breed!
Darwin’s Bastards has won the CBC Book Club Bookie Beaver for . . . .
. . . Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
What the Reviewers Say:
“Beyond getting a glimpse of reality through the lens of the future fantastic, the best reason to read this collection is that it is damn entertaining, and funny too.” — Micah Toub, The Globe & Mail
“For all its plagues, ecological collapses, and economic disintegrations, Darwin’s Bastards is as riotously enjoyable as it is genuinely scarifying.” — Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight
“Zsuzsi Gartner has done a real service to artists by curating this collection. With Darwin’s Bastards, she’s thrown a big dystopian party and invited all the best talent.” — Justin McNeil, BOMBlog
“In a new digital world fiction itself is going to have to adapt and evolve, become more of a multimedia mongrel, in order to survive. The key will be its ability to connect with an audience. From the evidence collected here, these bastards seem to have the right genes for that.” — Alex Good, Toronto Star
“Gartner has achieved that elusive balance, one that has stymied her peers for decades – an anthology that effortlessly blends the literary and the popular, genre fireworks and pointy-headed big ideas.” — Michael Bryson, Underground Book Club
“[The stories’] pervasive cracked humour, capricious inventions and deranged conceits signal an affinity with cult favourites like Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams and Mark Leyner.”
— Brett Grubisic, Ottawa Citizen & Vancouver Sun.
“The stories collected here challenge the orthodoxy of what Canadian fiction can and should do, while continually adding fuel to the eternal flame of literature. — Richard Rosenbaum, Broken Pencil
“S.F. fans and literary scenesters alike will find much to celebrate in Darwin’s Bastards.”
— Katie Cappello, San Francisco Book Review
“Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow is an ambitious undertaking that forms a sort of parallel-world overview of the current CanLit scene. Names like…Heather O’Neill and Yann Martel, will serve as handy hooks for readers who would normally never go anywhere near a sci-fi collection. The pre-converted can dive in without fear.” — Montreal Gazette
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