Travel Documents 74: We Dare

We Dare: An Anthology of Augmented Humanity

Creators: Chris Kennedy (Author), & 15 more

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The Dust Cover Copy

Fifteen outstanding authors. Fifteen stories of augmented humanity!

All I need is an edge! As long as humans have competed with each other (for food, profit, and love), people have looked for ways to get an edge on the competition—how to be better, faster, and smarter than the opposition. With better science and technology, many things are now possible, and there will be many more in the future! Gene splicing will augment your abilities. Implants will make you smarter. Cybernetic systems will make you stronger.

Edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy, “We Dare” is a collection of 15 all-new stories that explores the use of augmented humanity in the near future. From getting a new personality loaded with the skills you need for a mission to nanobots that keep you from being killed to creating an indestructible tank, anything is possible!

But just because we can augment humanity doesn’t necessarily mean we should, and there are cautionary tales inside as well. Along with the “good” that might be possible, there is also the potential for augmentation to be used for more…nefarious…ends. Will augmentation make better criminals? What happens when someone with implants has their mind taken over?

One thing is certain, though—people will dare to augment themselves to get an edge. Our authors dared to write these stories of augmented humanity; will you now dare to read them?

Inside you’ll find:
Preface by Chris Kennedy
Kade by Christopher Woods
Taming the Beast by Kevin Steverson
Tank by J.F. Holmes
Cradle and All by Quincy J. Allen
Do or Die by Jamie Ibson
Yellow in the Night by Philip Wohlrab
The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms by Rob Howell
Forty Acres and a Mule by Luke R. J. Maynard
Imperfect Mind by Jason Cordova
Bag Man by Jack Clemons
Come Up Screaming by Kevin Ikenberry
Angel by Robert E. Hampson
To Dust by Marisa Wolf
Now You See Me by Kacey Ezell
Now You Don’t by Josh Hayes

The Deets

The Scene

World building

In this great anthology, classic tropes rub shoulders with modern sensibilities and deep interpersonal understanding. Each story is a vingette, fully fleshed out in and of itself. And each has its strengths ad flaws, its joys and its sorrows. I found the world building of the story ‘Taming the Beast’, ‘Tank’ and the tied stories ‘Now you See Me’ and ‘Now You Don’t’.

The Crowd

Characterization

This is a collection of wonderfully realized characters. The connections and emotional motivations in ‘Taming the Beast’ were beautifully realized. The child of veterans myself, I felt a happy lump in my throat at the rough-edged comradeship and honorable care shown to old soldiers. I also appreciated the energetic fun in a lot of stories, which hits a sweet spot for fans of classic, gritty SF. It’s a classic collection.

Some stories, including ‘To Dust’ wander a little over that line and into tropey boredom, but the collection as a whole has a lot of charm.

The Lingo

Writing Style

Since each story is done by a different author, the style changes often, but the collection is in the whole strong and well-curated, from the witty one-liners of Kade to the genius strangeness of Now You See Me. It’s great stuff.

The Moves

Plot

One or two of the stories drag, mainly because they got caught up in shoot-em-up action scenes rather than working a solid interpersonal  interaction and motivations into a base before they jumped into the action. But on the whole, plotting in these short stories is strong.

Overall Rating

This is a fun series of doors to open, jump through and escape in many directions. Grab your copy and enjoy!