Book Review | Writers of the Future Volume 29 edited by Dave Wolverton

Finding an interesting, new author is a fantastic experience, like discovering a new favorite restaurant or traveling to a place you’ve never been before. It is full of exploration, of discovery, and the refreshing feel of something new and fresh.

Imagine, then, what it’s like to find one book with 12 interesting new authors, all at once. It’s exactly what you get with Writers of the Future Volume 29.  As a collection of the fiction, it’s a cornucopia of clever tales and excellent writing, and you won’t even need to buy 12 different books to enjoy each author.

Perhaps only slightly hyperbolically, the cover says that the stories “show us who we are, what we may become, and how far we can go.” Indeed, the stories may be more imaginative than predictive, but it does nothing to diminish their ability to convey the reader away from the ordinary and to lands and worlds unbounded by time or physics. And, eschewing the clichés even as it embraces them, the stories prove that science fiction and its close cousin fantasy are just as much about people and relationships as spaceships and magic.

The Writers of the Future contest is unique among collections of short stories. Where others focus on a topic, share a single author, or even share the same imaginary world, the commonality between tales in Writers of the Future Volume 29 is in their selection by a panel of judges comprised of the who’s who of science fiction and fantasy authors and headed by Dave Wolverton. Authors submit their work to the panel and their submissions are reviewed blind.

In other words, the only commonality is the genre and the high level of writing. Only the best selections win, and it shows. Each tale is carefully crafted, from “cut to the chase” openings that thrust the reader right in the middle of the action, to heart breaking conclusions that both satisfy and leave you wanting more. In addition to the tales, the contest features art from the parallel contest for art, as well as essays on writing by L.Ron Hubbard, Dave Wolverton, and others.

One of my favorite s was “Planetary Scouts” by Stephen Sottong. In the far future, he writes, technology has taken humanity to the stars, but only to confront the harsh reality that many of the planets we might colonize are already occupied, often by forms of life not welcoming to our exploration.

9781619862005_p0_v1_s260x420Another exciting tale by Brian Trent is “Hero,” a fast paced story about a young man who must face his nemesis not once, but twice, in a revolution that sweeps the peaks of Mars.

“Dreameater” by Andrea Stewart is a clever and horrifying story about a girl coming to grip with the terrible legacy that may become her future.

And there are more. Writers of the Future Volume 29 is replete with great writing and good stories. If you want a bead on tomorrows great writers, this is the place to start reading.

Review first published as “Book Review: ‘Writers of the Future Volume 29′ edited by Dave Wolverton” on

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Writers of the Future Volume 29 Book Cover Writers of the Future Volume 29
Writers of the Future
Dave Wolverton, editor
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Galaxy Press
June 22, 2013

Turn the your eyes...and look into the future
They unleash the power of dreams and unlock the secrets of the universe.

They bend time, twist perception, and put a new spin on the laws of physics.

They show us who we are, what we may become, and how far we can go.

They are the Writers of the Future. Experience their vision.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.