2113 edited by Kevin J Anderson and John McFetridge
The music of Rush, one of the most successful bands in history, is filled with fantastic stories, evocative images, and thought-provoking futures and pasts. In this anthology, notable, bestselling, and award-winning writers each chose a Rush song as the spark for a new story, drawing inspiration from the visionary trio that is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.
Enduring stark dystopian struggles or testing the limits of the human spirit, the characters populating 2113 find strength while searching for hope in a world that is repressive, dangerous, or just debilitatingly bland. Most of these tales are science fiction, but some are fantasies, thrillers, even edgy mainstream. Many of Rush’s big hits are represented, as well as deeper cuts . . . with wonderful results. This anthology also includes the seminal stories that inspired the Rush classics “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones,” as well as Kevin J. Anderson’s novella sequel to the groundbreaking Rush album 2112.
2113 contains stories by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Z. Williamson, David Mack, David Farland, Dayton Ward, and Mercedes Lackey; award winners Fritz Leiber, Steven Savile, Brad R. Torgersen, Ron Collins, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Hodge, as well as many other authors with imaginations on fire.
Time for a short story collection. This particular anthology is a bit different from the norm. All the stories in 2113 are related to or inspired by the works of the Canadian rock band Rush. If you’re a fan of the band, I certainly am, then I rather suspect you may want to give this a try.
Now a little about my favourite stories…
On The Fringes of The Fractal by Greg Van Eekhout – Inspired by Subdivisions – In a society where you are defined by your status, you need to fit in or you will be forced to live in poverty. Herman, Deni and Miss Spotty Pants have had enough, so they head towards the city. There has to be something better. I love that this story perfectly encapsulates the tone from the song it is based on.
The Digital Kid by Michael Z Williamson – Inspired by The Analog Kid and Digital Man – Kent has a serious accident. That won’t stop him from achieving his dream. Nothing is going to stop him, he will get to space.
A Nice Morning Drive by Richard S Foster – Inspired Red Barchetta – In a slight deviation from almost all of the other stories featured, this tale inspired the song rather than the other way round. Buzz hits the road, and if he gets caught then there is a good chance that the road is going to hit back.
Some Are Born to Save the World by Mark Leslie – Inspired by Losing It – This was one of my favourites. The life, death and rebirth of the superhero White Vector. This perfect little gem captures exactly what being a superhero means. I wouldn’t change a thing. You just can’t beat a well-executed origin story.
Hollywood Dreams of Death by Tim Lasiuta – Inspired by I Think I’m Going Bald – Lazlo Delorean (top name) is a Hollywood star and a dastardly murder. Just what possesses a man who has everything to commit multiple murders? Darkly comic crime-noir.
Into the Night by Mercedes Lackey – Inspired by Freeze – Vickie, a teenage technomage and geomancer, is searching for missing people on the streets of Chicago with her super-powered family. Werewolves, magic and mayhem can’t ever be a bad thing. This story serves as a prequel to a larger work, and after reading it I can completely understand why. I’d love to learn more about the characters and the world that is featured. This is great stuff.
Last Light by Steve Saville – Inspired by Spirit of the Radio – A group of survivors try to exist in an apocalyptic event. Strange beings known as The Lights are destroying humanity one person at a time. The only thing that keeps the survivors going is the voices on the radio. I do love a good apocalypse, and this story has it all. There is a subtle downbeat with just a glimmer of hope towards the end. I love fiction like this. As with Into the Night, this is a story I could quite happily see expanding into something larger.
The good news is that I’ve only mentioned half of the stories in the book so there are plenty more for you to discover yourself. One thing I did notice that was mildly disappointing, was that there was only one female author included in the entire collection. I’d have hoped for something a bit more balanced if I’m honest. I may be hopelessly naïve, but I’d imagine there must be a few more female writers who appreciate the works of Rush?
Overall, I think this collection is a bit of a mixed bag. There are a couple of stories I really enjoyed, some that were entertaining and a few others that I just couldn’t connect with in any way. There is certainly something in this book to cater for all tastes. I think the thing I like most about this book is the concept itself. Regular readers of The Eloquent Page will have spotted that I often drop musical recommendations into my reviews of books. I firmly believe that good music enhances good fiction. I love the thought of taking this to the next level and creating fiction based on music. Give me ten minutes and I could easily list a dozen albums that would perfectly suit this treatment. Seriously, someone needs to write a book based on Songs from the Wood by Jethro Tull. You would have my undying gratitude always.
2113 is published by ECW Press and is available now.