The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I came to this latest book by Catherynne Valente (wonderful storytelling goddess that she is) thinking that I'd be reading another short story collection.
This is not that.
BUT. It does have a new incarnation of biggest novelette in The Future is Blue from the collection by the same name, updated and filtered through a new lens. You see the previous story was written through the lens of the 2016 election woes, giving us a very bleak post-apocalyptic eco-punk nightmare for our generations to come. The old story was quite apt, living in Garbage Town and having leaders be named after old, partially expired medications from the world of the fuckwits, (I.E., *US*).
But no worries, folks. This updated version of that tale is much longer, and quite updated to show us a little hope through the much darker lens of our PRESENT day. You know, the day that just keeps laughing at 2016 because we JUST HAD TO TELL IT TO HOLD OUR BEER.
The story is quite an upgrade. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised or even displeased if it became a full novel eventually. Valente has wonderful SF. Clever, detailed, gloriously vicious. And, just so we don't grow so complacent, she makes sure that we taste the full spectrum of emotions including happiness, and even hope when by all rights we really shouldn't have any of that.
One little note: I LOVE that little lava lamp. You'll know what I mean when you read it.
All in all, this is the superior tale and yet I still don't have a problem re-reading the parts that I had just read in the previous collection. It's just that good.
View all my reviews