phenexrose's review

Go to review page

adventurous hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

kir's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

2⭐, Okay.

Accessing the Future is an important anthology, but a number of the stories weren't my cup of tea, and I enjoyed the foreword, introduction and afterword the most.

Stories that ticked the enjoy interest box for me were 'Pay Attention' by Sarah Pinsker, 'Better to Have Loved' by Kate O'Connor, 'Losing Touch' by Louise Hughes, 'Puppetry' by A.C. Buchanan.

shonatiger's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

Very pleased with this anthology, not because it’s particularly fantastic — it’s just pretty good — but because there’s so much nuance, and realism, and room for failure, both for characters and also for the authors. This isn’t one of your pandering anthologies, and definitely isn’t here for your inspiration; it’s just here to exist, and I love it for that.

That said, the stories were a mix of really good, not-so-great, and meh. But that’s because I enjoyed some concepts, was completely confused by others, and found a few that really didn’t impress me. That’s a good thing! This anthology is disability-themed, it’s not about disability.

My favourites:

• Better To Have Loved, by Kate O’Connor. I seem to really like stories about loss, going by recent reviews

bailym's review against another edition

Go to review page

Placeholder for "Pay Attention," by Sarah Pinsker. 4 stars.

acrimsondaisy's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

There were beautiful illustrations in between the stories, accompanied by image descriptions which was really great!

Pirate Songs by Nicolette Barischoff - 4*
Pay Attention by Sarah Pister - 2*
Invisible People by Margaret Killjoy - 3*
The Lessons of the Moon by Joyce Chng - 3*
Screens by Samantha Rich - 4.5*
A Sense All its Own by Sara Patterson - 3*
Better to Have Loved by Kate O'Connor - 3.5*
Morphic Resonance by Toby MacNutt - 2.5*
Losing Touch by Louise Hughes - 4*
into the waters i rode down by Jack Hollis Marr - 3.5*
Puppetry by A.C. Buchanan - 3*
Lyric by A.F. Sanchez - 4*
Courting the Silent Sun by Rachel K. Jones - 4.5*
Playa Song by Petra Kuppers - 2.5*
In Open Air by David Jon Fuller - 2.5*

brenhinesbooks's review

Go to review page

5.0

Review originally written for my blog

So this was the third book I read for Sci-Fi month over on Twitter but I've decided to review it first just because it's so fantastic. I bought this a while ago on Amazon when I had some money left on a gift card then forgot about it for a while until this month. I've been trying to focus on reducing my physical TBR pile for Sci-Fi month (especially as then I can take a photo at the end of them all in a nice stack) but I just had to make an exception for this as it sounded fantastic.

Before we even get to the stories, there is a fantastic introduction which discusses the fact that not only does this attempt to represent a diverse range of disabilities, but it wants to ensure the people portrayed are equally as diverse, acknowledging that a lot of disability awareness focuses on straight white people. I was very impressed with that and glad to know they were making a conscious effort to be as inclusive as possible.

The range of disabilities represented is very interesting ranging from physical to mental, including even discussing how many disabilities are due to culture and so one story is focused on imagining what a future would be like where grief is considered a disability. I won't say too much about the stories themselves but there is a fantastic range and I really enjoyed them all. It's hard to pick a favourite since all the characters are brilliant and well portrayed.

Along with short stories, there are also several pieces of artwork. Each piece of artwork is followed by a description of the image for those who are unable to see it, which I was particularly pleased to see in a collection focused on disabilities. Unfortunately, there is not an audiobook version yet but I hope there will be one eventually to make it even more accessible. Even though my sight is fine, there were details mentioned in the descriptions that I hadn't noticed which helped enrich my enjoyment of the art. My favourite piece of artwork though is definitely the cover, which was one of the reasons I bought the book in the first place.

I highly, highly recommend this collection. It's incredibly diverse and full of great sci-fi. I've already got several friends to buy it just because I've been gushing about it so much and if it was possible to gift Kindle books in the UK, I'd definitely have bought it for several more.

gigiglorious's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

I find short story collections are often hit and miss, particularly anthologies. There’s always a few stories or authors you don’t like or who don’t stand up as well as the rest. This is the first time I’ve ever read an anthology and loved every single story.

Disability is often a topic that’s hit and miss in fiction, most fiction in general but speculative fiction has its own particular tropes. In fantasy there’s the magical cure granted to take away an illness or disability or to heal them from a devastating battle wound. You may often see this with people being cured of blindness or deafness, or having limbs grown back after loosing them in battle or perhaps some kind of farming accident. In sci-fi the tropes centre around the mechanical body and how the future will free people from disability since we’ll all be robots anyways. These tropes are really a continuation of the medical model of disability, the belief that disability can be ‘cured’ by medicine and science and that disability is a burden blamed on the individual, rather than the society at large for its intolerance and unwillingness to change and accommodate.

Due to the broadness of the issue with topics of disability and chronic illness and how ubiquitous these tropes are in shared cultural knowledge, these depictions often go unchecked and unnoticed by most people, particularly able-bodied people. There’s no magic moment where you suddenly become enlightened about these tropes and the harm them propagate. I credit a really good panel discussion about disability and SFF at CAN-CON last year that I was lucky enough to attend that brought a lot of these issues to my consciousness. Depictions of disability are one of those topics I was familiar with but often don’t notice until it’s pointed out to me due to how normalized these negative depictions are. But that needs to change. To start I recommend checking out Jen Campbell's videos on YouTube about villains and deformity that goes into depth about the cultural history of these depictions and why they still exist.

So I was really excited when my library agreed to buy Accessing the Future. Elizabeth from books and pieces had read it and really enjoyed it, so I was eager to pick it up. It was one of the best reading decisions I ever made.

Although labelled as a disability-themed anthology of speculative fiction, Accessing the Future is primarily sci-fi. I unfortunately made the mistake of waiting too long to write a review so my memories on the details of every story are a bit hazy. But I always find reviewing short story collections a bit difficult because it’s hard to walk the line between giving away too much and too little. Accessing the Future has everything though. It has an incredibly wide range of stories and writing styles. There’s fast paced action with space truck rallies, only with robots, high stakes kidnapping and ransom and more. But there’s also a number of stories that have a slower, more introspective narrative and pacing that focus on characterization and relationships. Although I do enjoy a fast-paced robot truck rally now and then, my preference is primarily for stories with deeper characterization and that’s where I think this anthology really shines. I lost count how many times a story almost made me cry. I will definitely checking out the contributors other work in the future.

Another thing I love about this anthology is how Accessing the Future really digs into the breadth of experience regarding disability, including stories about physical disabilities, intellectual and learning disabilities as well as mental health. Characters with disabilities aren’t inspiration porn, or don’t magically save the day due to heightened senses that have developed due to their disability. From spina bifida, to chronic pain, to dyslexia, to visual impairment, and more, Accessing the Future beautifully explores disability and sci-fi, breaking and remaking tropes and conventions. This is a future I want to be a part of.

hairymclary28's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Yes, loved this entire anthology. So many different takes on disability and future worlds that accommodate (or not) people's disabilities. Overall very good. I also really appreciated the art and the written descriptions of the art.

suzig's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

So so good. A brilliant anthology. The writing is top notch and themes are so on point. This book takes on disability by centering characters with disabilities as creators of their own narratives and subverts harmful sci-fi tropes such as "technology as cure." The stories avoid treating their characters as "inspirational" and instead create real, flawed people. The stories are subtle and complex in their handling of disability and the collection editors contextualize the stories within our ableist culture through their foreword and afterword.

emilyclairem's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

What a lovely anthology. Often anthologies suffer due to the chaotic nature of including works by different authors on different subjects, but the highly focused nature of this anthology led it to be a very cohesive collection. The editors did a wonderful job of communicating their message and choosing works that best suit this message. Naturally, I liked some works better than others and didn't feel that the illustrations contributed meaningfully, which is why I gave this work 4 stars out of 5. But overall, I think an anthology of this nature is so incredibly important and I was very comforted by it.