Social satire, fabulist tales and darkly humorous dystopian visions by some of Canada's most adventurous and distinguished writers.
The 23 stories in Darwin's Bastards take us 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.
The collection includes the first new short story by William Gibson to be published since 1997, as well as original, previously unpublished fiction by Lee Henderson, Timothy Taylor, Heather O'Neill, Mark Anthony Jarman, and others.
From recent Trillium Award-winner Pasha Malla's hilarious take on the apocalypse, where Prince is the only man left alive, to newcomer 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.
"If it's best to greet the great unknown with a grin on your face, this book will help put one there."
"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. These are 'tales from tomorrow' in that the future is now -- it's 2010...We need more books like this, Canada. If you're one of those who counts themselves among Darwin's illegitimate children as well, check this one out."
"This is an example of one ideal kind of anthology, widely varied in approach, finding all the edges of its theme, mixing a good bit of entertainment in with demands for thought. Gartner's introduction is an excellent entry into it, too, being finely balanced between intellect and humor."
"The stories [in Darwin's Bastards] positively celebrate their roots in golden-age sci-fi magazines like Weird Tales and Astounding Science Fiction...The future is unknown, Gartner's selections seem to exclaim -- and since it's anyone's guess what'll happen, who are we to exclude talking squid?"
"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."
"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."
"Welcome to the future. Or maybe not, as this adventurous, original and sometimes wild anthology of visions dystopian and utopian often brilliantly speculates."
"Canadians who read this book will be proud to see that their imaginative landscape is as wildly bizarre -- and honest to the truth -- as ever."
"Darwin's Bastards, is a reminder that future cultural historians will likely characterize our age as one in thrall to the Darwinian Myth."