I remember reading an anthology of science fiction stories in a Maryland middle school around 2010. I can't remember the titles of the anthology or any of the stories but there were some really cool premises in there I want to find again. I remember three of the plots fairly well:
- One had to do with a group of kids in a future who were essentially influencers. They were trying to come up with the next big fad after their last one was dying out. I remember it well because this scifi world established that people could shift into a new body whenever and the previous fad had been to be a gorilla and play a sport they made up (which I think they just called gorillaball). Along the way our main character starts getting a bit disillusioned with the whole trends thing and I think became like an anonymous satirist? The ending is quite fuzzy to me.
- Another was strikingly similar to the story Arena by Fredric Brown, but instead of man versus alien, it was two humans. And most interestingly, the story described how the fighters' respective civilizations were essentially mapped to parts of their bodies so that places were destroyed when the fighters hit each other. I feel like I remember the phrase "there's a cluster of hospitals around my heart".
- The last one I think had a title reminiscent of Scheherazade and dealt with two warring houses in a future setting. The girl heir of one family has to go into hiding after her family is killed and trains for revenge with a group of her family advisors (I remember the story also talking about how the advisors were a third gender and something about there being two bumps on their arm instead of other sexual organs?). She is captured by the son of the other family and forced to marry him. By telling each other their stories, she slowly falls in love with him, but the first time she kisses him it kills him because she's been engineered as a bio-revenge or something.
Would love if someone could find this anthology or even just the titles of one of the stories!