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Deserts of Fire

Deserts of Fire

Speculative Fiction and the Modern War

Trade Paperback - $15.99
Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Powell's

ISBN: 978-1-59780-852-1
Published: 07/05/2016

A compelling and thought-provoking anthology collecting original and previously-published fiction themed around the recent US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.

In 1987, the New York Times published their first front-page review of a science fiction anthology for a collection called In the Field of Fire, themed around the war in Vietnam. “Vietnam was science fiction,” the reviewer wrote, and writing about it through that lens found meaning in a war few understood.

This idea, that speculative fiction is a vital tool to understanding the inexplicable, is just as relevant nearly thirty years later. Deserts of Fire is a war-inspired anthology for the new millennium, because for many, the recent wars in the deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East are just as slippery to grasp and difficult to understand as Vietnam was two generations earlier.

Inside Deserts of Fire are stories from a variety of bestselling and award-winning authors that start with the simple and modest ambition of making the reader feel strange about the recent past. Because when there are too many explanations, the truth won’t be found by merely choosing one side or the other. But rather, the truth is in the existence of the confusion itself.

Table of Contents:

“The Big Flash”—Norman Spinrad
“The Village”—Kate Wilhelm
“The Frozen One”—Tim Pratt
“Language of Monsters”—Michael Canfield
Presentation to the United Nations Security Council—Colin Powell
“The Seventh Expression of the Robot General”—Jeffrey Ford
“Over Here”—Ray Vukcevich
“Shaytan, the Whisperer”—Pedro Iniguez
“Five Good Things About Meghan Sheedy”—AM Dellamonica
“Shadows and Light”— Linda Nagata
“The People We Kill”— Audrey Carroll
“In the Loop”—Ken Liu
“Winnebago Brave”— Rob McCleary
“Seeing Double”—Ray Daley
“Sealed”—Robert Morgan Fisher
“Unzipped”—Stephen Dines
“The Sun Inside”—David Schwartz
Excerpt from Corrossion—Jon Bassoff
“Noam Chomsky and the TimeBox”—Douglas Lain
“Arms Woman”—James Morrow

“The 21 stories in this anthology ably demonstrate the imaginative possibilities of war as a theme in contemporary speculative fiction. [Lain’s] selections prove that the best speculative fiction, no matter how futuristic, is always about the here and now.”
Publishers Weekly

“Thought-provoking, brilliantly curated . . . every entry is meritorious and well-wrought . . . A welcome addition to the landscape that SF used to frequently visit.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Locus

“Lain has done the heavy-lifting of curation, and delivered a rucksack-ready primer in the state of the world, the near-past and –future, and where writing about war may take us next. There is little doubt that these explorations will ignite conversation and thoughtful analysis.”
Red Bull Rising

“. . . speculative fiction is used effectively to look at the underbelly of conflict and tries to make some sense of it beyond the headlines and rhetoric of politicians. An intelligent read that is as mind-blowing as no-man’s land.”
Starburst Magazine