Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology

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Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology. James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, editors. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2007.[1]

Anthology, apparently of already-published short stories by important authors in the field.

Contents: "Bicycle Repairman" by Bruce Sterling

"Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland" by Gwyneth Jones

"How We Got in Town and Out Again" by Jonathan Lethem

"Yeyuka" by Greg Egan

"The Final Remake of The Return of Little Latin Larry With a Completely Remastered Soundtrack and the Original Audience" by Pat Cadigan

"Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City" by William Gibson

"The Wedding Album" by David Marusek

"Daddy’s World" by Walter Jon Williams

"The Dog Said Bow-Wow" by Michael Swanwick

"Lobsters" by Charles Stross

"What’s Up, Tiger Lily" by Paul Di Filippo

"The Voluntary State” by Christopher Rowe

"Two Dreams on a Train” by Elizabeth Bear

"The Calorie Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi

"Search Engine” by Mary Rosenblum

"When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” by Cory Doctorow[2]


Reviewed by Sandor Klapcsik in SFRA Review #284 (Spring 2008): pp. 15-16, who notes that,

While some entries (Charles Stross's "Lobsters"; Cory Doctorow's "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth") focus strongly on techno-geek culture, others apply high-tech ideas in more down-to-earth contexts (Mary Rosenblum's "Search Engine"; Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Calorie Man)." [...]

In his humorous story ["The Dog Said Bow-Wow"], an alternate history setting is populated by biotechnologically modified characters: a talking dog, a multiple-headed queen, autistic servants. The virtual gods have turned hostile and rampage if anyone uses a computer. Christopher Rowe [in "The Voluntary State”] also creates a bizarre, madcap future in which [...] cars pine for and track down their owners, and garages need to be fed every morning. [...]

In Mary Rosenblum’s “Search Engine,” the sleuth of cyberpunk film noir investigates the data flow in a future world where chips record all details and AIs run the most complicated search programs, but PIs are still needed because “intuition mattered — the ability to look behind the numbers and sense the person behind them” (377). [...]

The psychological depth of the New Wave is no longer irreconcilable with cyberpunk; its complexity is revived, for example, in Gwyneth Jones’s “Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland,” in which the female character’s alienation from society cannot be dissolved even by cyberspace therapy sessions. [...]

The humanist approach is clearly shown by the editors’ choice of Greg Egan’s “Yeyuka,” in which criticism of the West’s actions concerning the third world is highly tangible, and a bootlegged computer and unlicensed medical software play crucial roles. [* * *]

In David Marusek’s “The Wedding Album,” the tribulations of the digital alter egos of a married couple and the almost surreal multiplication of selves create a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of animated objects. The eternity of VR [Virtual Reality] becomes a Dickian nightmare here, similar to Walter Jon Williams’s “Daddy’s World,” in spite of the positive aspects to Williams’s VR [...].[3]

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Also reviewed, briefly but significantly, by Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing, "Rewired: Post-Cyberpunk Anthology shows how sf has changed since the Mirroshades era," 14 November 2007. Note the comment, "No one's really sure what 'post-cyberpunk' means, but these stories were written by writers who took the themes and furniture that cyberpunk brought to the field in directions never contemplated by the first generation. There are a lot more families in these stories, a lot more work extrapolated from real computer science, a lot more work set outside of the USA and Japan."[4]


RDE, finishing, 5Jan21