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Burn the Ashes

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Burn the Ashes

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Author: John Joseph Adams
Christie Yant
Hugh Howey
Publisher: Adamant Press, 2020
Series: The Dystopia Triptych: Book 2
Book Type: Anthology
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Synopsis

We burn them to ashes and then burn the ashes.

In Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451, that's the motto of the Firemen who hunted down and burned books wherever they found them. Bradbury warned of a world where our literary history is taken from us. In BURN THE ASHES, some of the best science fiction authors working today continue to explore the dystopic worlds they introduced in IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Edited by John Joseph Adams, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey, THE DYSTOPIA TRIPTYCH is a series of three anthologies of dystopian fiction. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH--before the dystopia--focuses on society during its descent into absurdity and madness. BURN THE ASHES--during the dystopia--turns its attention to life during the strangest, most dire times. OR ELSE THE LIGHT--after the dystopia--concludes the saga with each author sharing their own vision of how we as a society might crawl back from the precipice of despair.

BURN THE ASHES features all-new, never-before-published works by Hugh Howey, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Scott Sigler, Cadwell Turnbull, Karin Lowachee, Caroline M. Yoachim, Adam-Troy Castro, An Owomoyela, Tobias S. Buckell, Tim Pratt, Rich Larson, Alex Irvine, Darcie Little Badger, Violet Allen, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, and Dominica Phetteplace.


Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

IF the act of reading didn't already exist, to describe the process would sound like the height of science fiction: One person creates shapes on a page, and when another looks at the shapes they hear voices, see new worlds, are transported to a fiction that becomes as believable as reality.

Auditory and visual hallucinations from staring at squiggles on a sliver of dead tree? And this process can work across space and time? So even the dead can talk to the living, and the living can shape the imagination of another?

The strangest thing about this endeavor is that we don't all marvel at its impossibility. We take it for granted. As when a jumbo jet leaves the runway and takes to the air, and the passengers are distracted by the in-flight magazine.

We wield awesome powers as writers and readers. Both parties are necessary for this marvelous act. Together, we create life. We fashion entire universes. And what do we choose to do with this ability to make anything possible? We tell stories most dire. We revel in apocalyptic fantasies. We immerse ourselves in dystopia. We write and read of wrack and ruin.

If reading is an escape, why do we so often go to places worse than our own? Perhaps it makes us feel better when we emerge from that fiction and return to our current world. Or maybe we like misery when it's happening to someone other than us. Or it could be that we love the tension and fear, just as we seek out thrill rides and haunted houses.

The editors of this collection have a different idea. We think the bad places are created to show how even they can be overcome. The deadliest apocalypse can be lived through. The scariest ghost stories can be survived. The worst dystopias can be overthrown.

These stories might seem excessively grim, but in truth they are stories of hope. They are lessons learned. So when we stop scanning these squiggles and we are transported back to the worlds and times in which we live, we have new ideas on how to make that place better.

And we can imagine ourselves through to the other side.

THE EDITORS

Planet Earth

In the Here and Now

Copyright © 2020 by John Joseph Adams

Copyright © 2020 by Christie Yant

Copyright © 2020 by Hugh Howey


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