A creator of virtual memories struggles to distinguish real-life experience from manufactured events. A childless couple conceive two children in an online world, only for their imagined life to be infected by a computer virus. The robotic brother of an adopted Chinese child ‘dies’, and a family realises how real a son he had become.
Alexander Weinstein’s debut story collection, Children of the New World, imagines a near future of social-media implants and instant connection, environmental collapse and post-revolution discord. It grapples with our unease in the 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 for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon.
‘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.’
‘[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.’
‘A darkly mesmerizing, fearless, and exquisitely written work. Stunning, harrowing, and brilliantly imagined.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘These stories are equally unnerving and tender, and a reminder that what we ultimately long for is human connection.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.
‘An eye-opening horror that will leave you thinking about the implications of technology long into the night…Fantastic.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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 World is 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.’
‘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.’