ed. Jason Heller and Joshua Viola
November 8th, 2016
Cyberpunk might bring to mind an 80’s vision of tomorrow, with technologies that have been steadily becoming reality today. This anthology takes today’s hopes and fears for technology and crafts a cyberpunk vision for what we think tomorrow might look like, with stories about virtual worlds, transhumanism, hacktivisim, nanotechnology, and and more.
The collection features some stunning voices in fiction such as Nisi Shawl, Madeline Ashby, Paolo Bacigalupi, Saladin Ahmed, Stephen Graham Jones, Cat Rambo, and more. There’s a nice balance of shorter and longer stories, each telling just the right amount. There’s also a nice balance in tone, so not everything is grim; there’s also a sense of wonder. While much of the genre speaks of the dangerous and dark possibilities of technology to divide us, there’s also a note of awe at the chance for greater connection and change.
Cyber World : darkness and light
Two of the stories that stuck out to me were ones that had their own balance of darkness and light, that were about war and featured human connection in spite of the technologies that divided people: ‘Reactions’ by Mario Acevedo was about the effects of drugs and remote drone flight on combat veterans. While it showed some serious struggle and complications of PTSD that were pretty unique to the technology, the human element throughout shined through as the main character had support from other vets on a train, and the thoughts of his family waiting for him at home.
‘The Bees of Kiribati’ by Warren Hammond also showed the effects of war and technology, but a war of a different sort. A translator is able to get human connection not through the translation technology embedded in her brain, but through shared language and experience with being a refugee. The woman and her brother have done something terrible; one with their hands, the other with technology.
This is an anthology to put on your buy list this year; it’s a well curated collection of stories.