Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Anthologies (multiple Authors)

Darwin's Bastards

Astounding Tales from Tomorrow

edited by Zsuzsi Gartner

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Anthologies (multiple authors), Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 17
  • Grade: 12


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includes the first new short story by William Gibson to be published since 1997, as well as original, previously unpublished fiction by Lee Henderson, Timothy Taylor, Heather O'Neill, Mark Anthony Jarman, and others.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.

About the author

Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of the critically acclaimed story collection All The Anxious Girls on Earth. A former senior editor at Saturday Night magazine, she is currently creative director of Vancouver Review's Blueprint B.C. Fiction series. She is the winner of a 2007 National Magazine Award for Fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for her magazine journalism. Her stories have been produced on radio in Canada and the U.S. Gartner has lived in Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa and now lives in Vancouver, a utopian dystopia.

Zsuzsi Gartner's profile page


  • Runner-up, Alcuin Award for Best Prose Fiction Book Design

Editorial Reviews

"Welcome to the future. Or maybe not, as this adventurous, original and sometimes wild anthology of visions dystopian and utopian often brilliantly speculates."

Globe & Mail

"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."

Toronto Star

"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."

Montreal Gazette

"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."

Globe & Mail

"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?"

Vancouver Sun

"Darwin's Bastards, is a reminder that future cultural historians will likely characterize our age as one in thrall to the Darwinian Myth."

National Post

"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."

Broken Pencil

"If it's best to greet the great unknown with a grin on your face, this book will help put one there."

Georgia Straight

"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."


Librarian Reviews

Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow

This is a provocative compilation of 23 short stories written by noteworthy Canadian authors. Representing social satire with “irreverent dystopian views” on futuristic society, this collection features authors such as Douglas Coupland, Yann Martel, Anosh Irani and Timothy Taylor. The stories are arranged into four themes: survivors, lovers, outliers and warriors. Jessica Grants’ Love in the Pneumatic Tube Era sees lovers riding “vac trains” and pulling into Jiffy Lubes. Mark Anthony Jarman’s lovesick space cowboy waits on the inhabited moon to be reassigned to earth. Anosh Irani provides an amusing monologue of a far-sighted male fetus. Timothy Taylor’s captivating mystery is a golf lover’s parable.

Gartner is the author of All the Anxious Girls on Earth.

Caution: Recommended for mature readers. Includes profane language and sexual references.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

Other titles by Zsuzsi Gartner

Related lists

Related blog posts