Last week the Los Angeles Review of Books published an in-depth, thoughtful, and lengthy review of Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future by Matthew Snyder, a lecturer in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside. It’s a great read; we strongly recommend that you check it out!
A couple of our favorite passages:
A common and curious refrain found inside Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future is that several characters, in various short stories, say thusly, “We can’t go back. The genie is out of the bottle.” Whether it’s found in Neal Stephenson’s “Atmosphera Incognita,” in Robert’s epiphany on the last page of Karl Schroeder’s “Degrees of Freedom,” or in Kathleen Ann Goonan’s “Girl in Wave: Wave in Girl,” we are repeatedly told that “once the incalculable power of creativity was released, and evenly distributed, it was like an atomic reaction: we could not put the genie back in the bottle.” And certainly, it would be reckless to imagine a future of primitivism Derrick Jensen naively suggests. Yet, this collection certainly warrants that symbol of the genie, and deservedly marks a major break in how SF currently uploads stories about itself, as well as the worlds that exist outside this increasingly important genre of ideas. This new anthology justly deserves to be ranked alongside the very best collections published within SF: Terry Carr’s Universe, Damon Knight’s Orbit or Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions. Only time will tell if Hieroglyph transcends the stately influence that Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions has maintained over readers and writers alike.
Certainly, there is the science fiction that explores the perverse and assertive affects technology might create for all of us; but there is also the science fiction of how we wish to treat each other. There is fascination and cleverness in the former; but let’s not forget that there is democracy of the everyday, of the sublime, that can only be found in the latter. So here’s hoping for Hieroglyph, Part Two: The “Soft-Love” Edition.