Author(s): Alexander Weinstein
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.
The short story collection Children of the New World is the brainchild of American writer Alexander Weinstein. The opening story, ‘Saying Goodbye to Yang’, sees a family sitting around the dining table watching Yang, a sophisticated big brother robot, malfunction. In the story ‘Children of The New World’ a couple live a virtual existence, complete with two perfect children, a nice suburban house and everything is wonderful until they venture into the Dark City. Their adventuring brings a virus into their perfect world, creating chaos. Many of the characters in the stories are disconnected from each other and from place, addicted to their programmes, technological implants, computer generated improvements and virtual worlds. Weinstein gives us wry stories – many are darkly funny – which question our obsession with technology, social media, perfection, identity and our desire to recreate ourselves. Set in a near-future this collection is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
'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
Alexander Weinstein is the director of the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and his stories have received the Lamar York, Gail Crump, Hamlin Garland, and New Millennium Prizes, have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and appear in the anthology New Stories from the Midwest. He is an associate professor of Creative Writing at Siena Heights University, and leads fiction workshops in the United States and Europe.