Whether you're pressed for time or need some vacation reading, short stories are the answer.
This was AMAZING - I can't believe it wasn't on more "Best of" lists last year. The author writes well from the teenage point of view (The Payoff, Treasure) and about loss (Michael the Armadillo, A Proper Burial). But she really excels at writing about family: Life Off My E, about two sisters, and Indulgence (quite possibly one of the best short stories I’ve ever read), about the death of the narrator’s mother. Please check out this book just for that one story!
I am not generally a huge fan of speculative fiction, but these stories completely entranced me. They show a near future where the technology that we know has advanced to logical but scary conclusions. The stories feature robots, clones, virtual reality, the sale of memories, and the corporatization of consciousness. The title story concerns virtual children who must be deleted because of a virus, The Pyramid and the Ass is an insurrection story that could easily be made into a thrilling movie, and Openness is a cautionary tale about substituting virtual intimacy for the real thing. Many of the stories deal with the difficulty of truly connecting when you’re connected all the time.
Weinstein’s great gift is to tell these stories with lots of convincing practical detail, and to make the reader fully understand a futuristic world in just a few sentences:
“Though Katie and I occasionally spoke, it was always accompanied by layers. It was tiring to labor through the sentences needed to explain how you ran into a friend—much easier to share the memory, the friend’s name and photo appearing organically.”
I was surprised at how emotionally affecting these were, and I can’t wait to see more from this author.