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2015 Story 42

From the March 2015 issue of Lightspeed magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams:

42. HOT RODS by Cat Sparks   Post-Apocalyptic YA fiction is a genre unto itself. Sparks' story fits it, but is so much sharper and more incisive than a lot of what gets published under the umbrella. Her female lead character, Harper, is smart and self-possessed but not precocious/smart-ass. She is of course more insightful as to what's going on around her than the adults in the background of the story, but that doesn't come off as forced or "adults are all dumb" because Harper has good reasons to be right in the center of the action as things happen. The setting is a drought-stricken Australian backwater town next to a newly-established and highly-secretive American military base.  The title comes from the disgruntled, directionless teens racing any vehicle they can find and repair out on the salt flats outside the base.  I'd love to see more in this world.

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