Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton (DRC): A Speculative Sci-Fi Collection of Short Stories with a Common Theme


3 stars

Spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”

Exploring the possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances, the results range from the heavenly to the monstrous.

🌸 I would recommend for maybe 15+, 14+ if someone is really interested in the topic! Some of it I feel like I wouldn’t have really gotten at 14, but I think some can definitely enjoy this to the full extent at that age!

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I was so excited for this one and very much expecting to love it, so I was really sad that it didn’t completely click for me.

I think a lot of people will love it (see Lili @ Utopia State of Mind who wrote this wonderful review here) but I think it just didn’t click with me, honestly.

The concept was perfect and something I totally could have loved–a set of multigenerational stories about the effects of altering humans so they’re, well, stronger, faster, and more beautiful.

I’m a huge sci-fi fan so I love anything a little speculative and a little science based and very commentary-based about science. I think it’s interesting and if you’re someone who likes this too, then keep on reading because this still might be for you.

And the ideas Dayton incorporated were awesome–lots of plotlines explored with the different effects of this on so many groups of people through many many years. It let Dayton explore a very dynamic set of problems, and this was a super unique take.

But ultimately, this is what made this book’s downfall (for me). I felt like Dayton never really went enough in depth in each topic, but rather brushed over each one in the stories.

There were six stories and some of them were really brief, and others were a little too long in my opinion (the Russian one near the end especially). I think the lengths were very dynamic and it didn’t really link up for me.

Similarly, it also felt pretty segmented, and even though I see where Dayton added overlaps plot-wise–I felt like the subtext and the symbols of each story didn’t perfectly match up or link as well as I wanted it to.

I don’t know, I guess I’m not huge on the short stories concept and I kind of would have preferred a more traditional format with a more central plotline. I don’t think Dayton executed this badly, but I just also don’t think that it was what I was expecting, and that threw me off guard.

Yet, it still remains that the concept was really interesting and strong, and I think the impact was one of the highlights of this book. It made me think a lot about the idea of altering humans and how one small thing for medicine can lead to a lot of greater implications in the future.

I think what Dayton did cover was done well, and I am a bit picky for wanting more.

This would definitely appeal to someone who (1) is ready for that short story format and (2) is interested in reading about this topic.

Overall, I still had a good time reading and sped through this book. I would definitely recommend Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful to people who find the concept and premise interesting and is ready to really explore a wide range of topics over a long period of time and see some of the implications of this, but maybe not go so deep into it that things become overly complicated.

Thank you so much to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

Have you heard about Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful? What do you think of the premise?

7 thoughts on “Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton (DRC): A Speculative Sci-Fi Collection of Short Stories with a Common Theme

  1. This is a lovely review, Vicky! I’m so sorry to hear this didn’t completely click with you, though. I’ve been eyeing that one for a little while now because it sounded really interesting, but I have to say I’m kind of nervous about the short story format somehow, since I’m not a big short stories reader. I think I’ll have to think about whether or not I want to read it 🙂 thank you for sharing!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you, Marie! and yeah–the short story format was a little different, but honestly I think you might like it. it might not explore the science fully in depth, but I feel like the actual story Dayton committed to was done pretty well. (lili’s review might be good perspective <3)

      Liked by 1 person

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