18 exhilarating journeys into Rush-inspired worlds
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.
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
Dang, just dang, this is a ton of stories. I picked this up because I am fond of Rush, and because of the Mercedes Lackey story. Anthologies are difficult to review, especially when there are this many stories, so I’ll try to leave brief comments on them individually as I go along. But overall this anthology is filled with gems and you don’t need to have any familiarity with rush at all. I’ve underlined my favorites for ease of reference.
On the Fringes of the Fractal by Greg Van Eekhout inspired by “Subdivisions”
This is a kind of crazy future world where everything in your life depends on stats and classes names are ripped from click bait articles. When one friend’s family lost all stat, his other friend decides to save him and they travel to the ends of their civilization. It is frankly kind of a trip and rather short. Well worth the read.
A Patch of Blue by Ron Collins inspired by “Natural Science”
Weird. I think it is inspiration about inspiration. I can’t quite explain it, but it is easily and compulsively readable.
The Burning Times by Brian Hodge inspired by “Witch Hunt”
Oh this one was sad, a cross between Fahrenheit 451 and urban fantasy, full of witches and glamour. It was also lyrical and beautifully written, and probably my second favorite story out of the bunch.
The Digital Kid by Michael Z Williamson inspired by “The Analog Kid” and “Digital Man”
This one is a coming of age story steeped in tragedy and set in a not so faraway future.
A Nice Morning Drive by Richard S. Foster inspired “Red Barchetta”
This one is different because it inspired a Rush song instead of being inspired by one. It is a story of unintended consequences and change.
Players by David Farland inspired by “Tom Sawyer”
Hmmm, this one just made me sad. It is set in current times and plays up religious and political divides.
Some are Born to Save the World by ark Leslie inspired by “Losing It”
This one teared me up, but in a good way. A superhero and the passing of the torch.
Random Access Memory by John McFetridge inspired by “Lakeside Park”
Set in a futuristic time it describes a novel “punishment” for abhorrent crimes and a shadowy conspiracy just out of sight and sound.
Race Human by Larry Dixon inspired by “Marathon”
This story is also set in a futuristic time where people don’t have to age due to advancements in medical science, and our main protagonist is one of the few who looks old. It made me think of something else I’d read recently with a similar theme, only this one had a more hopeful theme for the greater technological advances and for how humans can persevere and thrive. Probably this is my favorite out of the bunch.
Hollywood Dreams of Death by Tim Lasiuta inspired by “I Think I’m Going Bald”
This one was just meh for me.
A Prayer for 0443 by David Niall Wilson inspired by “The Trees”
Another futuristic dystopian, this one where everyone and everything is forced into a drab and horrible sort of equality. But secrets remain and are passed on subversively. This one ties for my favorite.
Gonna Roll the Bone by Fritz Lieber inspired “Roll the Bones”
This one is another that inspired rather than being inspired by, and I’ll admit, I don’t see the how, though I did appreciate the explanation that went along with it. And I did enjoy the story, which was a rather bizarre hodge podge of past and future and voodoo. It was written long ago so I can only imagine the reception at the time.
Spirits with Visions by Brad R. Torgersen inspired by “Mission”
This one was another real emotional story about the intersections in two people’s lives. It uses this odd switching perspective between the two main protagonists to great effect. This one also ties for favorite.
Into the Night by Mercedes Lackey inspired by “Freeze”
This one was…interesting. It indicates that it is a prequel storry. If it is a prequel to something already published, I don’t know what. It appears to be a contemporary urban fantasy story featuring a teen protagonist. I would read more of this.
Day to Day by Dayton Ward inspired by “Red Sector A”
This is an alien invasion story with grim promise and not much hope.
Our Possible Pasts by David Mack inspired by “Show Don’t Tell”
Dude…just, dude. I can’t even with this one. Just read it and ponder.
Last Light by Steven Savile inspired by “The Spirit of Radio”
Post apocalyptic dystopian that starts with a death but ends on a hopeful note. Who’s the savior, who’s the saved, and does it really even matter. This one didn’t really hook me till the end, but now I really want to find out how the story ends.
2113 by Kevin J. Anderson inspired by “” (That’s how it was listed in the ARC so I don’t know what inspired it, maybe just rush as a whole.)
This is an homage to the terror of conformity and the joy of creation. And while well written it is almost utterly depressing.