Book Gems

Cyber World – Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow

cyberworld-cvr

Title: Cyber World – Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow
Edited by: Jason Heller and Joshua Viola
Publisher: Hex Publishers
Format: paperback
Pages: 245
Keywords: cyberpunk, sci-fi, inclusive authors, inclusive content

…there are stories about people. There are stories about technology. There are stories about stories. Most of all, though, there are stories that tackle our understanding, or lack thereof, of the many machines that have freed us to love, work, birth, build, change, destroy and reconfigure reality, often beyond our will or comprehension —even as they greatly augment our will and comprehension.

Call them ironic. Call them visionary. Call them damn good reads.

Just don’t call them cyberpunk.

Okay, we don’t reallyI mind if you do.

I’ve been slowly reading more and more anthologies lately and during one of my book hunts I somehow stumbled upon Hex Publishers and this little cyber gem.

The stories highlight spiffy technology such as the memory  mechanism described in “The Rest Between Two Notes” by Cat Rambo. While the tech in this book sound both grand and scarily near to reality, the surreal-ness is grounded by how society would be impacted by it, a theme that is seen in each story. Check out some of the stories that jumped out at me:

“Serenade” by Isabel Yap. Cracking an advanced USB for a client unlocks buried feelings. How technology can help(?) us remember loved ones gone. Also this story is comprised of Filipinos (seeing yourself in stories DOES matter)

“Singularity is in Your Hair” by Matthew Kressel. This made me think of how the physically disabled can use future VR and augmented VR reality to expand where they can go.

“The Rest Between Two Notes” by Cat Rambo. You know how some therapists ask you to close your eyes to relive certain memories to aid in healing from past trauma? Well this story highlights a program that can let you dive in VR and help you “cope” personal memories and can take action (like beating/killing the person who caused the trauma). The relationship between the protagonist and the mother is brutal and hits too much close to home.

“Panic City” by Madeline Ashby. An AI city that loves it’s residents. Too much. Plus, I will highlight anything by Madeline Ashby.

“A Song Transmuted” by Sarah Pinsker helps us visualize what it would be like if we can use our human bodies as a musical instrument. The relationship between Katja and her great-grandfather is beautiful and the description of music is almost magical, an adjective I didn’t expect to use in a cyberpunk anthology, but there you go.

Verdict?

Honestly each story is amazing and would definitely scratch anyone’s itch for some good cyber story-telling that’s inclusive for everyone in the world. Better read this book quickly because next thing you know, these technologies will be here on your doorstep.

What it all comes down to is that we’re basically cyborgs and mutants living in a world so utterly science fictional  we can’t even see it anymore. – Cyber World foreword by Richard Kadrey

 

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