A review by Dawn Vogel
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep (2015, Affront Publishing), edited by Peter Öberg, is an anthology containing science fiction and fantastic stories by Swedish authors. This anthology is jam packed with 26 stories, so there’s likely to be something for everyone among them.
Some of the stories are especially dark, while others have a more light-hearted approach. “To Preserve Humankind,” by Christina Nordlander, is a particularly creepy story about what the robot servants of humans might be up to behind their backs. But on the flipside, “Quadrillenium,” by AR Yngve, is an irreverent look at a holiday tradition practiced by a family for many years, though it seems to have lost some of its original meaning.
Other stories that grabbed my attention included “Mission Accomplished,” by My Bergström, which is in large part a search and rescue mission, but it takes on greater significance for a consciousness, put into a manufactured body, that has forgotten some of the details. I also enjoyed “Getting to the End,” by Erik Odeldahl. While it reads very much like an old pulp or noir mystery, little things begin to trickle in over the course of the story to let you know that there’s something much more going on. Though it may be a bit of a spoiler to say this, I liked the way it reminded me of the movie Dark City.
While several other stories also stood out for me, my hands down favorite story was “The Order of Things,” by Lupina Ojala. Telling the tale of a woman who had left behind a comfortable life to live among the Outskirters, this story is touching while still maintaining a sense of mystery. My only wish for this story is that it could have been longer. I would love to read more about Ida, her history, and her future.
Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep is available in both paperback and e-book format. If you want to read a free sampler, which includes a bonus story not found in the anthology, you can check it out on Affront Publishing’s website: http://www.affront.se/bocker/waiting-for-the-machines-to-fall-asleep/.