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AN EXTRAORDINARILY RESONANT AND PROPHETIC COLLECTION OF SPECULATIVE SHORT FICTION FOR OUR TECH-SAVVY ERA BY DEBUT AUTHOR ALEXANDER WEINSTEINChildren of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopiaAN EXTRAORDINARILY RESONANT AND PROPHETIC COLLECTION OF SPECULATIVE SHORT FICTION FOR OUR TECH-SAVVY ERA BY DEBUT AUTHOR ALEXANDER WEINSTEINChildren of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago.In “The Cartographers,” the main character works for a company that creates and sells virtual memories, while struggling to maintain a real-world relationship sabotaged by an addiction to his own creations. In “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” the robotic brother of an adopted Chinese child malfunctions, and only in his absence does the family realize how real a son he has become.Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this modern world and how our ever-growing dependence on new technologies has changed the shape of our society. Alexander Weinstein is a visionary new voice in speculative fiction for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon....

Title : Children of the New World: Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250098993
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Children of the New World: Stories Reviews

  • Pouting Always
    2018-10-26 14:24

    A collection of short stories centered around technological and cultural changes that may happen in the future, mostly centered around changes like virtual reality and the increasing ability to share with one another. I think this was a lot stronger than most collections of short stories but I haven't read short stories as extensively so take that with a grain of salt. I very much enjoyed the one with the fake memories, I think that one stuck with me the most. Obviously some stories were stronger than the others, I also really enjoyed the one with the society where everyone can share layers of themselves. I think the story played on a lot of themes that are inherent to being human, especially loneliness and the need for human contact and relationships. Also the blurring of reality and the virtual was pretty accurate, our memories and brains are pretty flexible in that regard and I do think that will be something that has to be dealt with as we go on. I don't think anything about this was prophetic though, changes don't occur alone, they occur in tandem so I doubt only any one aspect of our lives would change the way they do in the stories. I think too many things would change together with new developments in technology for anyone to be able to accurately foresee the future. Also the stories seem to center around problems that we're all already starting to think about and deal with so I don't think things would continue to progress without us starting to do something to address these problems as we go along. Also a lot of these issues have been around since we have, especially feelings of loneliness and detachment. Alienation was always a big theme in the twentieth century especially after the start of the industrial revolution. I think these things just go hand in hand with being a person and don't have as much to do with technology itself. A really interesting read though.

  • Hannah
    2018-11-07 18:08

    I still haven't quite figured out my thoughts on this one: while the stories' premises were absolutely breathtaking, the characters and the plot were often not quite as outstanding. I have been looking forward to this book for ages, it was definitely on my "must-buy-as-soon-as-possible"-list and I was ecstatic when I finally could read it. The blurb sounded right up my alley; I love speculative fiction, especially those dealing with how the changes in technology change the way people communicate and what that means for societies. And, as I said, the premises Weinstein develops are nothing short of brilliant. He imagines worlds where all the trends of today are thought to one of the logical extremes and he manages to make me think a lot about how communication technologies change our society and our culture. His visions are eerily believable and oftentimes very scary; his technologies are close enough to recent ones for them to be realistic and maybe even possible.Where this collection falters a bit are the characters within those settings - these are sadly not as believable and brilliant. Their reactions could have been explored more and sometimes it feels like we are barely skimming the surface. There would have been so much more to explore and so much more to write about the inner thoughts of the people within the stories.In the end, I decided on four stars, the strengths of the premises were enough for me to mostly outweigh the negative parts. I really am looking forward to what Alexander Weinstein writes next and I am hoping for a longer story where he can really develop his brilliant ideas a bit more.____I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Text Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!

  • Taryn
    2018-10-23 13:10

    If you love the TV series Black Mirror, this book is for you! This collection of thirteen short stories features a variety of imagined futures where technology has become so embedded in day-to-day life that it's impossible to live without it. Many of the characters have grown so dependent on virtual reality that they've forgotten how to connect with people in the real world. Some of them seem to crave offline connections, but are clueless about how to obtain them. One of the reasons books like this are so unsettling is because it's easy to see how these tech-obsessed societies developed and gradually became the norm. In Migration, a man still holds on to the more traditional values of his youth, but his younger wife is unbothered by the cultural changes since these new technologies were always part of her life.It all made me want to turn off my layers, go back to the old days, and stay disconnected. But you do that and you become another old guy buried in an e-reader, complaining about how no one sends emails anymore.My favorites:• Saying Goodbye to Yang: In a world where people prefer cloning to conceiving naturally, the couple in this story decided to adopt a little girl from China. They also purchased a life-like robot named Yang to serve as her brother and ensure that she would remain connected to her culture. One morning, Yang has a catastrophic malfunction and fixing him isn't an option. The father realizes how much Yang has become part of the family and how little he knows about the world, including their neighbors.• The Cartographers - A company creates complex memories that are beamed into customer's minds. They're so well-done that it's difficult to distinguish the difference between real memories and fake ones. One of the owner's addiction to creating false memories makes it difficult for him to make real memories with his girlfriend.• Heartland - Companies exploited all of this community's land and resources, leaving the citizens with a wasteland. They're forced to make difficult decisions to survive. With very few jobs available, a family uses their children to make ends meet. How far are they willing to go?• Children of the New World - A couple who was unable to have a child in real life is devastated when a virus destroys their virtual family.• Rocket Night - Every year, a local elementary school sends the least-liked child to space. The casual detachment of the narrator made this one extra eerie!Some days I think it was; that there’s no way to share the totality of yourself and still be loved, that secrets are the glue that holds relationships together.• Openness - This one takes place in a world where you can easily share your most inner self with others. You can control which parts of yourself people can access by locking specific layers. Can a couple survive revealing all of their layers?We were the first generation to grow up with layers, a group of kids who’d produced thousands of tutorials on blocking unwanted users but not a single one on empathy.• Ice Age - Tensions escalate between an igloo community and their wealthy neighbor who's wasting dwindling resources. The close-knit community focused on survival is permanently altered when material possession becomes an option.My favorites tended to be the ones about couples and families surviving in a technologically advanced world. The tales are bleak and depressing, but also interesting and unique. I love speculative fiction and weird short stories, so this book was a perfect fit for me. As with all short story collections, I liked some stories more than others. There were only two that didn't appeal to me at the time (The Pyramid and the Ass and the very short A Brief History of the Failed Revolution). I calculated four stars by averaging my scores for each individual short story, so I rated most of them very highly. You can sample some of Alexander Weinstein's short stories at his website. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future! If you enjoy this collection of short stories, you might also want to check out Slipping by Lauren Beukes (available 11/29/16) and Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips.__________________I received this book for free from Macmillan-Picador & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This title is out today, September 13, 2016

  • Phrynne
    2018-11-01 14:23

    This is an intriguing look at some possible futures for a society like ours, involved as we are in social media and virtual reality.Thirteen short stories each tell a different possibility from virtual families living totally virtual lives to dystopian futures where society is struggling to survive in the face of climate change disaster.Some things really stood out for me - the virtual children who have to be deleted after a computer virus in Children of the New World - the 'death' of a robot boy in Saying Goodbye to Yang - and the fascinating way communication has developed in Openness. Overall I very much enjoyed the content and the originality of some of the ideas. A couple of the stories were nowhere near as strong as the rest but that's just my opinion. Other readers may have liked those the best:)An interesting read which raises a number of (mostly scary) visions of our future.

  • Maxwell
    2018-10-16 21:10

    In his collection of speculative short stories, Alexander Weinstein looks at many possible futures for our world, especially those shaped by the innovation and integration of technology. Whether it's robotic babysitters ("Saying Goodbye to Yang"), manufactured memories ("The Cartographers") or live streaming from your eyeballs ("Fall Line"), these imaginative stories take our current obsession with tech to the next level.And while the premises of almost all the stories are very interesting and fun (or frightening?) to consider, they don't go much beyond a unique idea. The characters are flat, and the stories depend so much on the idea behind it that by the end the reader is only left with a cool concept but nothing to chew on. It's neat in theory, but the execution—while well written and entertaining—left a lot to be desired. 2.5 stars

  • Peter Boyle
    2018-11-01 15:12

    I was about to shelve this book as science-fiction, but I don't think that's an entirely accurate description. Yes these stories take place some years from now, but they imagine the near rather than the distant future. All of the scenarios they present seem frighteningly plausible and in some cases, scarily imminent.These haunting tales all revolve around technology or climate change, and how society adapts to such developments. In Saying Goodbye to Yang, a malfunctioning "big brother" android starts banging his head into a cereal bowl at the breakfast table, and the father of the family wonders how to break the news of its demise to his young daughter. Heartland tells the story of an America pulverised by rain, where parents exploit their own children for financial gain. In The Cartographer, a lonely man creates and sells manufactured memories, but becomes hooked on his own supply. And in Ice Age, the world has been covered by thick glaciers - the few survivors live in igloos, a close-knit community that hunts and scavenges together in order to stay alive.The stories ask uncomfortable questions about our growing reliance on technology. How we will adjust to lifelike AI? What happens when a life spent online becomes more appealing than the real world? Will climate change eventually negate all of our modern advances and send us back to our neanderthal origins? It is a clever and thought-provoking collection of cautionary tales, which fearlessly addresses the direction our society is headed.

  • Figgy
    2018-10-30 16:28

    Fans of the show Black Mirror are bound to find something to like in Weinstein’s collection of stories. Each of these stories has something to do with technology, whether that be humanity’s reliance on it, the ways in which it warps our interactions with each other, or how we deal with a sudden loss of it.Some of the stories do cross the line into the bizarre, especially the ones where technology affects the way people have sex, and one in particular where people can add additional genitals to various parts of their bodies in order to continually amp up the sexual experience. There are also plenty of dark themes and situations in which people are pushed to their most desperate of limits. Weinstein explores that breaking point, and looks into how far people might go to fix things, hinting at some pretty awful things but never spelling it out for readers. But there are also some really touching moments showing how, when the shit really hits the fan, people from the other side of whatever the relevant divide might be, will still reach out a helping hand to other humans in distress.The rest of this review can be found HERE!___________________________________-- Pre-review Breakdown -- Saying Goodbye to Yang - 5/5This one had me in tears... a feat for a story that is only 22 pages long. - Not realising how much you love something until it's gone- Misjudging someone who's on the other side of a major societal norm from you- In the end, people comforting people, because although we make different choices and have very different opinions, a loss is still a loss. And a hurting person deserves comfort from another human being.The Cartographers - 4.75/5Haha, who am I kidding? This is so very nearly 5 that I should just give it that, but after how much the first story wrecked me, I can't quite justify it. Great story, slow build, chilling. Though very close to some plots I've watched or read before, it was artfully done.- Addiction- Manufactured memoriesHeartland - 3.5/5The author definitely has a way with words, and in this one he paints a stark vision in which resources are becoming more and more scarce and making ends meet is a near-impossibility. He uses words that don't so much say the horrible things, but in a way that the reader knows.A little less to this story, and it feels almost as though the whole point of it was to get to that end paragraph, and without the rest of it, the reader wouldn't have been able to read between his lines.Excerpts from The New World Authorized Dictionary - (No Rating)I don't feel I am in the right place to judge this one before finishing the book. It's a collection of definitions accompanied by examples of their uses within the world of the book. One hints at a connection to The Cartographers (story #2), so it stands to reason that the others might do the same for the rest of the book.There was one definition (and accompanying reference) that was SO close to a Black Mirror element that it's rather eerie.Moksha - 3.5/5Again, a well-told story, about a world where meditation and enlightenment are illegal, and people seek ways to find enlightenment through electronic means, for 15,000 rupee or more. Children of the New World - 5/5Raw and emotional and well told and engaging. This takes a closer look, again, at relationships with those who "aren't real" and takes a chilling look at online viruses and just how much our "data" can really mean to us.Fall Line - 3.5/5Everything is filmed and streamed on a site called The Third Eye by contact lenses people wear. Snow is melting all the world over, and washed-up extreme skier Ronnie Hawks contemplates his choices between living fast and wild or dwindling into mediocrity. A Brief History of the Failed Revolution - (No Rating)Another of those not-really-a-story stories, in which there are lot of references that feel as though they relate to another story, but don't do much on their own.Migration - 3.5/5This one starts out rather bizarrely but has a heart-warming moment towards the end. In a world where no one has ventured outside in years and everyone goes about their daily lives online, complete with body-suits that allow them to experience sex in that virtual world in a way like never before, the kid who wants to go outside and do things in the real world is the one they're worried about.The Pyramid and the Ass - 4/5Another one that has a rather bizarre sexual element to it, but in which reincarnation has been perfected into a science people pay big bucks for, and the Dalai Lama is seen as a terrorist.The ending of the story didn't seem to fit in with the main character's goal.Rocket Night - 5/5Every year, a child from each school is launched into space. They're always the loners or the most annoying of the year, and the voice of the story is rather chilling in its coldness.Openness - 4/5An exploration of how technology changes our interactions and might take over normal conversation in the future, and how vocalisations might become old-school.Ice Age - 3.5/5In a future where an Ice Age has taken many lives and evicted people from their homes. A look at how desperation can lead to flaring tempers and a consumerism helps soothe a tortured soul.

  • Marchpane
    2018-11-10 21:21

    This collection delivers all the things I love in short stories: smart, incisive, near-future speculations that are really commentaries about our present times. What are our fears, our reservations about the way we live our lives today? These stories project them with maximum impact.It's handy that we have 'Black Mirror' as a kind of short hand for this genre. Those magic words brought this great book to my attention and I hope to find more like it.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-26 17:22

    Well, that book will stay with me for a while. These are some haunting stories that I don't even know where to begin with how to digest. Damn.

  • Michelle Morrell
    2018-11-11 15:30

    Well-written stories that step into the near future to shine a light on some of the potential avenues humanity faces with our reliance on technology, social media and constant surveillance. Any one of these could be an episode of Black Mirror.

  • Blair
    2018-11-06 13:33

    Every time I started a new story in Children of the New World, I kept thinking: surely at least one of these is going to be something less than absolutely brilliant, surely this is the one that's going to let me down. Spoiler: it doesn't happen.The stories here are soft sci-fi, sitting in the near-future genre alongside Black Mirror, Her and Luke Kennard's excellent The Transition. A few of the stories hint at a shared universe, different points in could-be future, giving the collection a David Mitchell vibe. Virtual existences loom large. Memories are bought and sold, jobs performed remotely, social media accessed through implants rather than devices. Real-life parenthood is an anachronism: instead, couples raise clones of themselves or adopt, and buy robot siblings for their kids. Real-life relationships are replaced by artificial memories and real-life sex supplanted by impossible erotic experiences in virtual reality. Meanwhile, the real world is ravaged, depleted. The background details are just as effective in setting the scene. In one story, a baby gnaws on a discarded iPhone; in another, hybrids have been superseded by solar cars – to the point that the next-door neighbour who still insists on driving the former is depicted as the equivalent of a climate change denier. Several of the stories come with commentary (but not preaching) built in, taking aim at the tendency for technology to create as many problems as it solves – or solve problems that never really existed in the first place. This is most obviously satirised in 'Moksha', in which spiritual enlightenment is achieved by way of an obscenely expensive, underground electrical procedure, with seekers of this high ignoring and avoiding anything that might actually make them happy; and in a section of 'Excerpts from The New World Authorized Dictionary', in which we learn that addiction to 'continual wireless therapy' leads to the creation of a social network for chronic users to provide each other with virtual support, and so on, ouroboros-like. Weinstein also works in a number of nods to climate change and what the 'new world' might mean for nature. In 'Heartland', soil has become such a valuable commodity that everyone's sold it off, turning land into clay fields; on the news, 'it's day nine hundred of the oil spill'. 'Fall Line' is set in a rapidly melting ski resort, post-'Big Thaw'. The characters in 'Migration' rarely leave their homes – they log in to school and work, order their food online – and when one of them ventures outdoors, they encounter a positively post-apocalyptic landscape of overgrown gardens and abandoned malls.It's hard to pick favourites, but for what it's worth... 'Saying Goodbye to Yang' opens the book with a bang (rhyme not intended) and perfectly sets the tone, combining a futuristic scenario with direct, matter-of-fact narration. 'The Cartographers' is an ingenious tale, a kind of cyber-noir which feels too complete for you to have any sense of the devastating twist until the last minute. 'Children of the New World' perhaps realises the potential of the collection most successfully: I loved the humorous details (spam emails and viruses embodied as sinister or pathetic figures appearing unexpectedly in your home), but this is also the most emotionally affecting story. 'Fall Line' is one of the simplest, in that its portrait of an ex-skiier whose career comes to a halt after a terrible accident could be set against almost any backdrop – it just happens to take place in a world where people stream video through their eyes and snow is the stuff of legend. 'Migration' balances reality and fantasy as immaculately as anything I have ever read (which is something you could also say about the entire book).What makes the stories work so wonderfully is not their vision of the future, but their human elements. It's the way in which Weinstein draws a line through the past, present and potential future to show what remains constant. There are all types of relationships here, families and couples and friendships, and almost everything about the interaction is familiar, full of sentiment and empathy and ordinary mistakes. As one character says, 'human contact is all there really is'. There are a couple of little weaknesses here and there, but nothing with the power to dull the transcendental glow of Children of the New World as a whole. A fantastic collection.I received an advance review copy of Children of the New World from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • Kaitlin
    2018-10-17 13:34

    This book has such an interesting set up for me. A collection of SF stories set in a new world that's gone terribly wrong. I think there was so much potential for originality and quality, but it just fell short of the mark for me overall. Some of the stories within this were interesting and had cool tech or ideas. However, I felt as though a lot of the ideas. were either too random without a point or not pushed far enough and felt tame. I wanted this to explore things I'd not thought about before, but only one story really did that and it was called Heartlands. That story spoke about the environmental factors of the world and what really could happen with pollution etc. It was fascinating and had some great description... other than that though all the other stories blur into repetitive ones for me. The largest problem I had with this is every character feels like the same middle-aged man. There are no women as main characters and the men dominated the story telling. This isn't too bad, but when they all live in the same crappy world and they all seem like identical people with similar technology it means the stories just didn't stand out. Unfortunately I just don't think any one story was a strong stand out for me from the rest of the collection. I would say that this isn't a collection I'd recommend and if you want to read some cutting edge exciting SFF shorts then try Uncanny magazine or Clarkesworld. The diverse storytelling within those is definitely pushing boundaries and creating fresh content and I felt like this just missed the mark a few too many times for me. 2*s overall.

  • Charlie Anders
    2018-10-17 20:17

    I had heard great things about this literary SF collection, and I really enjoyed it. A lot of these stories are about either climate change or the dangers and complications of virtual reality/A.I./robots. At its best, this book forges new territory but also has a poignant, trenchant eye for telling details and personal moments. My two favorite stories are "The Cartographers," about a three-man company that makes custom-made fake memories for people, and "Fall Line," about an extreme skier who's become kind of a ski bum after all the snow is mostly gone. Some of the other stories feel a bit slight, but the overall effect is one of a jarring vision of an alienating future.

  • Book Riot Community
    2018-10-16 20:20

    Like Black Mirror? Like Westworld? Then you’ll love these stories of not-so-far-away future dystopia.Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allt...

  • Rachel León
    2018-11-06 17:11

    (3.5 stars)I hit a short story slump for a while. Every story I read seemed to be lacking something. And then I picked up Weinstein's collection. The first story was pitch perfect and officially ended the slump. I really enjoyed Weinstein's crisp prose and the compelling speculative-ish scenarios he creates. Some in the collection were 5 stars stories, though others fell short. Two issues plagued these less strong stories: repetition and lack of character development. The futuristic scenarios are interesting: robot children, sex and intimacy through technology rather than physical touch, etc. But some of the stories overlap and the premise doesn't seem as interesting the second time around. Some stories seemed so wildly imaginative and then a few stories later, a similar story appeared and suddenly didn't feel very original at all. The other issue was while Weinstein creates these really fascinating and creepy portraits of an alternative future, sometimes the character development and exploration is lacking. I like to read about people: who they are, what makes them tick, how they react to conflict, and how they'll try to solve their problems. Not all, but some of the stories are thin in this regard. A few of the stories simply do everything right. Overall it's an interesting, well-written collection and I will definitely check out Weinstein's future work.

  • Malcolm Everett
    2018-10-19 19:10

    In this short story collection, Alexander Weinstein seems concerned with two themes: Technology addiction and survival after an apocalypse. The writing is solid and the ideas are interesting shower thoughts, but the stories often follow predictable trajectories. Even so, I enjoyed the explorations of technology and think that Weinstein has great potential as a speculative fiction writer.The biggest problem was repetition. Several stories feature the plot of technology addiction leading to the deterioration of relationships. The character archetypes are as follows: the technology-dependent male protagonist, the female partner who eventually leaves the protagonist, and the rough-around-the-edges mentor figure. In addition, the stories are mostly told from first-person male POVs, and at a certain point, all the voices start to blend together (listening to the audiobook probably didn’t help with that).As per usual, I’ll give a one-sentence summary and review for each short story with as few spoilers as possible.“Saying Goodbye to Yang”: 3/5 A father must wrangle with the fact that his AI “son” (more like babysitter) cannot be fixed. This story asks the standard question of “Are AI more human than we think?” I liked the small details: the racial prejudices, the clones, and the repairman. “The Cartographers”: 3/5 When memories can be experienced through VR, who would bother living in actual reality? I love VR stories, but this one doesn’t add much to the concept. The ultimate warning is what you’d expect: If virtual reality becomes good enough, we’re going to lose ourselves in fantasies. “Heartland”: 4/5 In a desert-like post-apocalyptic future, food and jobs are scarce—what will a father sacrifice to survive? The setting here is intriguing, as is the moral choice that the protagonist must make, but the story seems to end too soon.“Excerpts from The New World Authorized Dictionary”: 2/5 A prophecy about future Urban Dictionary entries and memes. Some of these were funny and painfully realistic, but since the dictionary format doesn’t tell a story, it didn’t keep my interest.“Moksha”: 1/5 A man travels to another country to get his fix of enlightenment. I really like the idea of a religious experience being like a drug, but there’s not much more to the story than that. “Children of the New World”: 3/5 A couple live out their lives in virtual reality. Most collections are named after the strongest story of the bunch, but in this case, I’m guessing it was more that this title best captured the overall tone. The viruses being (view spoiler)[home invaders (hide spoiler)] made for an interesting visual, but there would’ve been more of an emotional impact if the children had been developed as characters—they were simply props.“Fall Line”: 4/5 A formally famous skier comes to terms with the accident that ended his career. This is basically the only story where technology is in the background rather than the foreground, and the character focus worked well here. Still, I wish more had happened and that the ending had been less predictable. “A Brief History of the Failed Revolution”: 1/5 An academic debate about why the anti-technology revolution failed. Like with the dictionary one, I know the author was trying to experiment with form—and he successfully becomes a hermit crab in inhabiting the shell of academia—but it’s just boring to read. It’s a list of ideas without characters or story.“Migration”: 5/5 A man and his wife are obsessed with having virtual sex with strangers, while all their son wants is to play outside. The sex scenes in this surprised me—yup, that’s exactly what the future will be like. The ending was satisfying, albeit predictable. Speculative fiction loves to convey that (view spoiler)[nature is magical and superior compared to technology. (hide spoiler)]“The Pyramid and the Ass”: 3/5 In a world obsessed with reincarnation and hot ass, one man vows his eternal hatred for Buddhist terrorists—but then he discovers his own connection to the rebels. Yeah, this was a weird one. This story had potential, but it ended before the action could take hold.“Rocket Night”: 3/5 Think Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” but with the least-liked elementary schooler being sent into space. The casually apathetic narrative voice is what makes this. “Openness”: 4/5 In a society where people have mental “layers,” couples can establish a new level of intimacy. Loved the concept in this one. The story is a retrospective, with the narrator looking back on what went wrong in one of his relationships. For this reason, it feels more like a summary of events at times, but I’d love to see this adapted into an episode of Black Mirror.“Ice Age”: 5/5 The world has frozen over, but some people aren’t ready to let go of the social hierarchies of the past. This story had the most distinctive narrator and conflict, although the ending was anticlimactic.The Bottom Line: I’d be interested to read a novel by Weinstein, since I think his writing would fare better if he had more space to flesh out the world and characters.

  • Terri Jacobson
    2018-10-28 20:35

    The fictional world of Alexander Weinstein's stories is one of extreme climate and technology run amok. There are robot siblings to help acculturate Asian adopted children. Instead of email there is eyemail--why bother with devices? You can get "beamed" memories that are impossible to tell from "real" memories. How about TOG??--therapy-on-the-go. Infertile couples can have VR children and a complete VR life. (But what happens when the programs are virus-corrupted?) There is even a Shirley Jackson-style lottery story involving a child being sent off into space.All these scenarios seem all too plausible in 21st century America. I was pulled into these stories and their various realities. The writing is wonderful and the plots are darkly creative, though Weinstein never strays too far into darkness. His stories will definitely make you think. A tremendously topical and fascinating story collection.

  • Text Publishing
    2018-11-02 18:27

    ‘Mind-blowing...In the vein of George Saunders, Rick Bass, and Alex Shakar, Weinstein writes with stirring particularity, unfailing sensitivity, and supercharged imagination, creating nuanced stories harboring a molten core of astutely satirical inquiries.’ STARRED Review, Booklist‘Inspired by the author’s anxiety over our increasingly virtual lives, these 13 stories artfully slam an unchecked obsession with technology and affirm the beauty of reality’s texture.’The New York Times‘Scary, recognizable, heartbreaking, witty, and absolutely human...This is mind-bending stuff. Weinstein’s collection is full of spot-on prose, wicked humor, and heart.’ STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly‘[Weinstein’s] stories look like SF—consider the childless couple living in a virtual-reality community whose child there is wiped out by a computer virus—but read like literary fiction. Calling all fans of Margaret Atwood and Emily St. John Mandel.’ Library Journal‘Taken together, these stories present a fully imagined vision of the future which will disturb you, provoke you, and make you feel alive. Weinstein is brilliant, incisive and fearless, and I expect to be reading his work for years to come.’ Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe‘Each of these stories has its genesis in the question “What if …?” and Weinstein’s imaginings are far too much like the current state of the world to be anything but chilling. Yet he can also, if only in passing, be very funny.’Age‘[Children of the New World] is a stellar book of short stories by the American writer Alexander Weinstein, that shows how science fiction is arguably the essential genre for our age. The stories here present various futures, rooted in virtual technologies and climate change, with such urgency and humour that indulging in any other genre seems tantamount to escapism. …It is startling that this is Weinstein’s first book, given how ambitiously and impressively it speaks of our future.’Saturday Paper‘A darkly mesmerizing, fearless, and exquisitely written work. Stunning, harrowing, and brilliantly imagined.’ Emily St. John Mandel, author of, Station Eleven‘Taken together, these stories present a fully-imagined vision of the future which will disturb you, provoke you, and make you feel alive. Weinstein is brilliant, incisive and fearless, and I expect to be reading his work for years to come.’Charles Yu, author of, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe‘Scary, recognizable, heartbreaking, witty, and absolutely human…This is mind-bending stuff. Weinstein’s collection is full of spot-on prose, wicked humor, and heart.’STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly‘Each of the stories feels utterly possible, and the worlds are deftly rendered—whether they show us the effects of climate change or new types of sex made possible by advanced technology.’Kirkus Reviews‘Missing the vague, futuristic dread you feel watching Black Mirror? Weinstein’s eerie sci-fi collection—featuring adopted robot children and the addictive fictional memory industry—fills the void brilliantly.’EW.com‘These stories are equally unnerving and tender, and a reminder that what we ultimately long for is human connection.’LitHub‘Weinstein writes sensitively and with deceptive simplicity, slicing into the emotional core of his haunted, self-estranged characters. The more they connect via technology, the less connected they feel…Children of the New World is a nuanced and complex vision of where we as a species might be going — and how, for better and for worse, we’re already there.’NPR‘By turns satirical, jarring, ludicrous, and sad, Weinstein’s stories take present-day anxieties about pornography, cloning, social media, and digital isolation, and follow them to their logical extremes.’Atlantic‘Weinstein is a master of his craft. His stories are each elegantly constructed, many with a startling reveal at the end, both surprising and obvious, which is formally reminiscent of certain Golden Age science fiction stories.Millions‘An eye-opening horror that will leave you thinking about the implications of technology long into the night…Fantastic.’Cosy Dragon‘To read this collection of 13 short stories is to be stunned, thrilled and terrified in equal measure. That’s because US writer Alexander Weinstein isn’t seeing into the future in a wacky sci-fi sort of way; he’s looking at what’s just over the horizon and approaching fast…An exceptional debut.’North & South‘A highly enjoyable collection…You will emerge with one heck of a book hangover, and it might take you a while to re-acclimate yourself to the “real” world.’100% Rock Magazine‘Stories that artfully claw at our complacency and explore, with insight and wit, the human side of the human/technology equation that comprises who we are…Children of the New Worldis the kind of unsettling read that is a compulsive and confusing pleasure. It pulls just far enough ahead to offer perspective without straining relatability and then deposits you back into a comfortable reality that feels slightly less so.’ArtsHub‘A quiet achievement…Not a single word is wasted; each reality is constructed convincingly, without exposition, and the pages keep turning…You’ll find yourself thinking about these worlds later, as you go about your life, and thinking they aren’t so far from yours.’Aurealis

  • David
    2018-10-21 21:22

    The timely, nuanced stories in Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” are some of the most brilliantly disconcerting fiction in recent memory, stranding the reader in 13 eerily plausible futures. In riveting scenarios that call to mind the cult BBC TV series “Black Mirror,” Weinstein deftly explores our evolving relationship with technology and its repercussions on our inner and outer lives.In the poignant first story, “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” the family’s android baby-sitter suffers a sudden, fatal malfunction one morning at the breakfast table. Past warranty, his circuits irreparably fried, Yang is clearly for the scrap heap, yet his survivors struggle to understand the emotional aftermath of their loved one’s death.In the title story, a couple’s existential investment in virtual reality bears un­expected fruit in a pair of beloved imaginary children. These parents’ joy is threatened when their forays into a virtual red-light district fling open their door to terrifying, fully dimensional spam and malware that wreaks havoc on their happy home. Describing the lure of this make-believe world, they observe, “We were like babies. Like Adam and Eve, … we were free to experience a physical connection that we’d always longed for in the real world but had never been able to achieve. Who can blame us for being reckless?”As Weinstein’s characters grapple with increasingly attenuated daily lives, their longings, quandaries and follies are our own. They worry about the world they are leaving to their children, and like us they struggle to understand and find meaning in a culture where ingenuity outpaces wisdom, and where neither love, dreams, spirituality, nor consciousness escapes commodification. If you’ve ever suffered through a crashed hard drive or struggled to unplug over the weekend, you’re already living in a Weinstein story.Some of his people dwell amid the ravages of this culture, such as the family in “Heartland,” stuck in a blighted clay belt where all the topsoil has been sold off and working-class families strive to make ends meet in an economy buoyed by funny home videos and porn. In “Migration,” a son rebels against a world of networked, virtual body-suited shut-ins by brazenly riding his bike through the deserted streets to what once was the mall.As bleak as these futures are, truly macabre moments are rare, as in “Rocket Night,” a grim little fable of space-age ostracism reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” The darkest dystopia is approached obliquely, as with the unsettling neologisms in “Excerpts from The New World Authorized Dictionary” which provide glimpses of a ghastly future society pitiably akin to our own.As with George Saunders or Ray Bradbury, Weinstein’s satiric ingenuity seldom overpowers his deep compassion for our wayward species. To this he adds a keenly observant sense of the everyday that suggests we might be getting a sneak peak at an annual installment of The Best American Short Stories circa 2050. The resulting cautionary tales are superlatively moving and thought-provoking, imbued with disarming pathos and a palpable sense of wonder and loss.

  • Terri
    2018-11-10 20:06

    Thirteen original science-fiction stories that are set in the not so distant future, held me in suspense, until the end of the book. I predict some possible movies being made from some of these frightening tales. My favorite story was"Saying Goodbye to Yang" deals with cloning and robotic children. Alexander Weinstein asks the question, about our brave new world that technology could bring us, "How do we stop ourselves from turning into terrifying monsters?" These sci-fiction stories also ask questions about future family and parenting, "Do we really want a world where "family" takes second to modern scientific knowledge?"

  • Jessica Sullivan
    2018-10-17 17:31

    After seeing all the Black Mirror comparisons, I had to get my hands on this book. The comparisons are accurate—if only thematically. In his series of short stories, Weinstein imagines eerie future worlds not too unfamiliar from our own where humanity has taken the backseat to technology. His stories incorporate smart, interesting subject matter, such as robot children and the corporatization of human consciousness. My favorite story, "Openness," imagines a world in which we can plug into carefully curated layers of each other's personalities, and tells us the story of a couple that bravely opts for total openness by allowing each other access to all their deepest layers of being.There was something lacking for me in most of the stories, though: that "wow" factor, that moment of complete awe. Also, since most of the stories are relatively short, I found that once I finally started to understand the world I had just entered, the story ended. This is a thought-provoking, well-written work of speculative fiction/sci-fi that never quite reached the heights I had hoped for, but was intriguing nonetheless.

  • Bandit
    2018-10-20 14:18

    This was touted as a perfect read for Black Mirror fans and who I am to resist. Black Mirror just so happens to be one of the best things on television in recent years, so it's a high standard to live up to and this book manages quite nicely. It isn't quite the same thing, but it's a very serviceable second best. So that's as far as those comparisons go, but this collection actually works well and stands tall on its own two literary feet. Story after story explores the societies of near future devastated in some way or another by (mostly) the ever pervasive tech or (few others)some sort of climate crisis. For me this is the best kind of science fiction, the one that ponders the social and psychological ramifications of the personal technology, buoyantly rampant already and certainly only more so in the years to come. A lot of the stories are dealing with virtual reality, which is most likely to be the next best thing to hit the market (once they prices become more affordable and quality up to par with what it is trying to imitate) and one can only imagine what horrors that'll wreck upon the already morally/emotionally/ethically addled society. Or you can have Alexander Weinstein imagine these things for you in a frighteningly realistic manner. Not all the stories are perfect, but most are dangerously close to it, genuinely original, well written and often very similar to the emotional powerhouses of Black Mirror episodes. Until Charlie Brooker comes up with more episodes, this is a more than adequate literary substitute. Whether read as purely speculative or eerily prescient, these stories are sure to make you think. Like books ought to. Enthusiastically recommended, particularly for technology cautious individuals. Thanks Netgalley.

  • Sara
    2018-11-07 19:07

    We live in a time of incredible change and that change isn't always for the better. Mind you, it doesn't seem that way on the surface. How can it when you can connect to another human being across the world instantaneously with the touch of a button. How can we be isolated when at any second of the day we can send our deepest thoughts and desires to a million people? How can we consider ourselves out of touch when we have 24/7 access to every major (and minor) event in the world as it happens? Those are the kinds of questions I'm sure many people were asking themselves twenty years ago when AOL first invited us to join chatrooms for fellow cat lovers and we first saw "a/s/l?" show up in Instant Messenger. For some reason Alexander Weinstein decided to start answering them now with a series of well written but frankly mundane short stories that retread some really, really worn out paths through various dystopian futures destroyed or at least very damaged by a reliance on technology.He revisits Speilberg's (and Kubrick's) "A.I." with Saying Goodbye to Yang a story about a hipster family forced to deal with their robotic son's breakdown and delves into "Surrogates" and "Matrix" territory examining the breakdown of a society of people who don't even leave their houses anymore in favor of lives lived entirely online in Migration and the sad but not at all surprising Children of the New World where a childless couple's "virtual" children are threatened by a computer virus they pick up after venturing into a virtual "dark city" of mind bending porn.I just felt like I'd read or seen all of this before and Weinstein doesn't seem to have anything new or especially different to say. Whatever you think might happen in Openness when a pair of young lovers give each other "full access" to their minds is exactly what happens. And if you predict the ending in Ice Age where a community barely surviving in igloos rises up against a rich guy with a better igloo congratulations you've read a book before!I'd finish a story and without fail find myself saying "okay...and?" Weinstein keeps presenting the reader with a set of circumstances that then proceed exactly how you'd expect them to. There's nothing wrong with that per se but I get the impression that he thinks he's making some grand statement about the evils of the internet that no one has ever brought up before.In the absurdly titled The Pyramid and the Ass we're presented with the basic plot of "Idiocracy." A man living in a world where the ability to be technologically "reborn" over and over has bereft humanity of any semblance of intelligence or emotional depth and sexual gratification is achieved by going to "ass bars" where you stare at butts (don't ask me I didn't write it) turns out to be part of some weird underground movement trying to stop that from happening. The reincarnation not the ass bars. At least I think that's what they were rebelling against. Maybe it was the ass bars? My point is the setting, this bizarre dystopian future where people go to things like "ass bars", becomes more important than whatever the story is supposed to be. That's the problem with much of this book. Weinstein is a very good writer but I'm iffy on his story telling ability. There is nothing wrong with telling a familiar story, god knows it happens all the time, but you have to bring something new to the party. You can't just retell "Sleeping Beauty" by setting it in China and act like you've reinvented the wheel.I wrote recently that truly great science fiction is great because its based in real science. But the great science fiction writers just use that as the jumping off point. They conceive worlds and futures beyond the things we all see when we wonder where the internet will take us. We all know its probably not great that we get so worked up about nasty comments on a Huffington Post article and its never a good idea to "date" someone exclusively on line. We don't need to have that spelled out for us again with the only new element being that its happening amidst a new ice age. I keep hearing this book compared to the outstanding television series "Black Mirror" but honestly that's doing the writers of that truly excellent series a big disservice. Setting and style aren't enough if there's no substance. All the ass bars in the world can't make up for hearing the same old "beware the evils of technology" Twilight Zone episode.

  • Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
    2018-11-12 19:22

    Just another straight-white-male sci-fi collection. Though I did finish all the stories, none of them really stood out to me as bringing anything new to the science fiction genre. There were an assortment of tales about artificial intelligence becoming part of the family, digital manipulation of memory, and a couple of post-apocalypse style settings.This book has a strangely distant voice and feels deeply male-centric. Children of the New World was an interesting story but like all the others lacked any emotional depth. Which perhaps might be the point? That in a future where digital connectivity is the primary mode there is an absence of empathy? I toyed with this as an idea, but there was simply not enough depth in any of the stories for me the believe this idea with any conviction.The stories all projected capitalist and patriarchal structures into the near future. These structures were generally critiqued but overall not really challenged in their fundamental inevitability. The protagonists are all male, presumably all white (though it is not specified), and all are ambivalent to the women in their lives. The only character with a race specified was an Indian child who is tagged as an ‘outsider’ and blasted into space in a bizarre sacrificial ritual.Most disturbing to me was the representation of women throughout all the stories. Very few had names, none were the protagonist, and all existed to further the male lead’s story or to cast him in a sympathetic light. They fell into three categories:1. Sexual Object: These women existed for pleasure or titillation, had no personality and no name. They strongly desired the protagonist despite his ambivalence towards them.2. The Wife. Little more than a footnote, wives existed in the stories to; provide for children, be argued with, and to fail to understand the depths of the protagonist’s suffering.3. The wise hipster. These beautiful, enigmatic creatures were critical of authority, provided alternative insights or perspectives into the status quo, but ultimately were cut off by the protagonist when he failed to come around to their anti-authority perspective, or when they correctly interpreted his selfish behaviour as selfish. This loss is mourned in an abstract sense.I have referred here to ‘the protagonist’ as a single character, though each of the stories ostensibly had a different lead, they were so bland and similar in attitude I honestly couldn’t tell them apart. I feel like this book will, like many reviewers have mentioned, appeal to viewers of TV series Black Mirror. But so far it offers nothing new for fans of science fiction writing more broadly.

  • Shannon
    2018-10-17 15:29

    It’s hard to imagine social media taking up more of our lives than it does today, but in the near-future of Alexander Weinstein’s stories it starts to blend with all-consuming virtual reality and pre-programmed memories. Families and children are raised completely online while memories take the place of recreational drugs. For many of the characters in Children of the New World, life before complete technological immersion is a distant story told through the visions of their screens.Not long ago, a friend mentioned her worries that Children of the New World would be too much “but the youths are the worst because gadgets harrumph”. It’s a fair concern, especially given the book’s description and the recent push to blame Millennials or social media for every societal ill. Thankfully, Weinstein dodges that tone by setting most of his stories in physically altered worlds—a total loss of soil, drastic global warming, a new Ice Age. Though humans seem responsible for many of the frighteningly plausible futures, the development of technology doesn’t take the fall for everything.There are clear parallels between Children of the New World and other collections like Tenth of December or the TV show Black Mirror, but Weinstein’s stories have their own distinct, dark voice. This is a strong collection from start to finish that definitely needs to go on your list (even if you struggle to love short stories!).More at rivercityreading.com

  • Mel (Epic Reading)
    2018-11-08 14:34

    There were three really solid little stories in this anthology of dystopia snippets. I say snippets because many of these stories are more ideas that haven't been fleshed out enough. Even the best writers can't tell a good story in 8 pages. Almost all the ideas in Alexander Weinstein's compilation of Children of the New World are unique and engaging; but most just don't have enough there to really make me feel like I was told a story with characters I can remember. Many of the stories I can barely remember the basic premise they were so short. The three stories definitely worth reading however are: The Pyramid & The Ass, Fall Line, Saying Goodbye to Yang. I hope Weinstein takes a concept or two and writes some substantial stories in the future. Even 100-200 pages could really be a difference maker to feel like there's a real message in his words. I'd definitely read fiction from him again; he has a great handle on dystopian futures that are weird and odd but all very believable. For this review and more visit my new book review blog at: Epic ReadingPlease note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave great or poor reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad.

  • Julianne (Outlandish Lit)
    2018-10-31 15:36

    I haven't been this excited about reading a book in what feels like forever. I knew that I'd like this collection of short stories. It was pitched to me as akin to the TV show Black Mirror, which I absolutely loved. And they weren't wrong about that. Here we have a collection of stories that are all speculative. Set in the very near future, things are just a little different from how they are now. People are a little more hooked into technology, the environment is in worse shape, etc. Our scenarios are set up quickly and with apparent ease, and we then get to see normal people interacting with each other in these worlds. The result is at times funny, at times devastating, often both. Weinstein provides riveting stories about being human as well as biting commentary on our world. In the stories, we've got robotic siblings to help out with biological children, and what you do when they malfunction. Enlightenment as a drug. Manufactured memories. Support groups for the loss of virtual children. It's all so good, and none of it feels wildly off base from where we are as a society right now.I really emphatically enjoyed this whole collection. The only thing keeping me from loving it unconditionally is the fact that none of the stories have a female main character and none of them pass the Bechdel test. To be fair, two of the stories have weird formats and don't actually have a character. One of the shorter stories never specifies the gender. But it was still disappointing. I get if you're somebody who writes about a certain thing. I do. But to both 1) not take up the challenge to write about somebody different from you, or 2) not see females as "just another kind of person" that should be relatively easy to write about because, again, they are just another kind of person, is a disappointment. If the plots of the stories weren't so intriguing, I probably would've begun to find the "wearied male trying to make his family/life work" character that reappeared in most of the stories boring.Truly, though, that is my only qualm with the book. I want everyone to read these stories, but my point above is something to be aware of and think about. This is one of the most consistently solid collections of short stories that I've read in a while. I've actually sat and read them aloud to people, they're so good. Dark, cleverly written, and brilliantly imagined. I laughed and I cried. Alexander Weinstein gets it. And, if you were wondering, my favorite story was "The Cartographers."Full review: Outlandish Lit

  • Wendi Lee
    2018-10-15 13:18

    This is a very strong short story collection about our near future with technology, and the grim possibility of global warming advancing. People connect with eye tech and social layers, and buy bittersweet memories of family vacations. People mourn robotic children, children created in virtual worlds, and struggle to protect them in places filled with new wildness. I was struck in particular by a story of a family, who has stayed in the safety of their home for years: they worked and went to school remotely. But when their tween son leaves the house, his father follows, and they take a small journey through the crumbling remains of life as we currently know it, and the beauty of the outside world. The son stands in front of an old Toys r Us, having no idea what the building used to be. I thought of my own child, of taking her to Toys r Us for the first time last week, because they're closing stores and it dawned on me that it might be one of the only times she'll be able to go to a real toy store. Weinstein's stories could be our future in a mere generation, and this possibility makes the collection even more poignant.

  • Kelley
    2018-10-18 16:36

    Collection read in conjunction with Michigan Notable Author Alexander WeinsteinI loved this collection of short stories! I would have never chosen to pick this book up to read had it not been for the author visiting our library tomorrow night. The stories were all variations on what our not-too-distant future could look like with technology seeming to take over our lives. For those of us who are over 50, I think that technology is equal parts scary and fascinating so these stories resonated with me. What would it be like if another ice age engulfed the earth? How close are we to choosing everything about our children? Will on-line life supplant real life? The stories in "Children of the New World" tackle these and other questions. They are at once thought-provoking and entertaining.

  • Annie
    2018-11-03 13:29

    3.5/5