Will the world end with a bang or a whimper? So much depends on who is paying attention when it happens and whether or not they realize what they’re witnessing.
The first scene in “Welcome to Omni-Mart” made me gasp. Leonard, a lifetime employee of Omni-Mart, has been instructed to destroy an aisle full of lifelike dolls that grow and learn the same way that human children do. Digging into Leonard’s complicated, sad backstory made me wish his tale could have been expanded into a full-length novel. He’s fascinating character who lives in a world I’d never want to visit. Reading about it, though, made me shudder.
There were very few missteps in this anthology. “Texting the Apocalypse” records the conversation between two oblivious teenage girls as their world begins to fall apart. The premise of their chat is a great one, but it was too short to convey everything that was going on around them. As much as I wanted to enjoy it, I had trouble getting too deeply invested in what was happening to them due how little they had to say about it.
Sometimes unforgettable things come in small packages.“The Villain” follows two young boys who are arguing over which one of them is the hero and which one is the sidekick. It’s difficult to say anything more about them since the whole thing takes places in one short page of dialogue, but the ending caught me by surprise in the best way possible.
Don’t skip the introduction to this collection. Mr. Bridges had a unique reason for writing all of these stories, and knowing what it was made me enjoy them even more than I might have otherwise. This section also gives the reader a glimpse of the author’s occasionally cheeky sense of humor. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did, so having a hint about what to expect ahead of time was nice.
Justice, Inc. is a fantastic choice for anyone who loves the dystopian side of science fiction.
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