(Cover picture courtesy of Masquerade Tours.)
What becomes of mankind in the future? Is life better or worse?
Forbidden Future by James Wymore
When a time machine technician working the graveyard shift gets divorce papers from his wife, he decides it’s time to take the machine for a ride—no matter the consequences.
Jump by Jon Bradbury
Jesse Kendall thinks he’s seen it all. He’s about to see more.
Road Trip by Matt Mitrovich
Four friends drive to a college party and take an unexpected detour into the future.
Cacotopia by James Lauren
Kayne Adamson went into suspension to await a cure, but never imagined how long his sleep would last or the world he would awaken into. Is it really the utopia it first appears to be?
Society by Terra Harmony
Take a ride on the Energy of the Future where society gets a fresh, clean start—no matter who they have to leave behind.
The Mountains Haven’t by Kade Anderson
Something is very wrong in the downtrodden town of Dignity and only the town’s Watcher, Julia, can see what it is.
Between Utopias by Michael Trimmer
After being saved from a fatal heart attack by being transported to the future, David must choose from two opposite utopias.
[Full disclosure: I have had a close working relationship with The Masquerade Crew and its leader, Mark Lee, for a year. I was going to become one of the editors of this anthology until circumstances not under my control interfered and I had to drop out. With that said, this review is, as always, honest.]
I’m not a big anthology reader, but I really did love this one. For one, I love science fiction and secondly I do love a good short story. And believe me, there are some awesome short stories in here.
I’ll be totally predictable and say that my personal favourite was the anthology’s namesake: Forbidden Future. The main character was well-developed and interesting and the future he was thrust into was somewhat believable. And the ending was tragic and yet hilarious, but I can’t explain too much or that would spoil the awesome surprise. I won’t critique each short story, but on the whole I could relate to the characters and the futures were interesting. It’s hard to fit a whole new future into just a short story, but these authors were pretty awesome and managed to achieve it. Some futures were fantastic, others terrifying. There was a good balance in the selection of the stories because no two really predicted similar futures.
The one thing I had a gripe with was the editing. This is The Masquerade Crew’s first anthology and some of the editing was, admittedly, a little rough. There were basic typographical errors that should have been caught and I’m hoping they’ll be corrected in any subsequent editions. I don’t think there were enough to really distract from the story, but they are there and they are noticeable.
There’s a little something for everyone in Forbidden Future. There’s stories that get very technical for those fans of hard science fiction, but there’s also more character-driven stories for people like me who don’t necessarily understand a great deal of science. Yet in all the stories the main characters are interesting and characterization certainly wasn’t sacrificed in the world-building process. Each author had an unique voice and so did their characters.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the anthology. It never really had a weak story that I just wanted to skip through; all of the stories here were pretty strong. I look forward to future anthologies by The Masquerade Crew. And with the anthology on sale on Amazon for $.99 until December 7th, where can you go wrong?
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.