Just because of the time, I’d have to say my least favorite was “The Surfer” because of the premise of a pandemic. I wasn’t expecting to read about the world I’m currently living through, though I did like the suspense of the aliens and what that means for everyone.
All the stories ended with cliffhangers, as uncertainty is the hallmark of this particular genre. However, the most unsettling story was The Specialist. I understand that adolescent angst drives this genre, coupled with fantastic escapism. But the Specialist was especially sinister, in that it implied that a parent had been transformed into a monster that was now looking to do something unspeakable to his children. While another being “rescues” the children, it is to an uncertain fate, as well. I find this a troubling message to put out there, considering the painful vulnerability so many adolescents are dealing with. I’m 67, and a fan of science fiction and a few fantasy authors, but the books I tend to read are definitely good vs. evil, where good wins. I’m also a realist and understand life isn’t fair. But, again, I’m not sure I would allow my teenager to read this genre unless I read it along with them and had meaningful discussions afterwards. On a therapeutic note, if my child was reading nothing but these stories, I’d wonder what they thought was happening in their life that lead them to such dark fascinations.