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Getting to Know You [Paperback]

David Marusek
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Dec 2008
Not since William Gibson and Bruce Sterling galvanized science fiction in the 1980s has the emergence of a new writer been heralded with such acclaim as that attending David Marusek, whose brilliant first novel, Counting Heads, appeared to rave reviews in 2005. But Marusek did not come out of nowhere. Aficionados of the genre had already taken note of his groundbreaking short fiction: masterfully written, profoundly thought-out examinations of futures so real they seemed virtually inevitable.

Now, in this collection of ten short stories, Marusek’s fierce imagination and dazzling extrapolative gifts are on full display. Five of the stories, including the Sturgeon Award-winning “The Wedding Album,” a shattering look at the unintended human consequences of advanced technology, are set in the same future as Counting Heads. All ten showcase Marusek’s talent for literate, provocative science fiction of the very highest order.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (30 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345504283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345504289
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 884,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collection of short Sci-Fi 19 Nov 2009
First rate collection of innovative sci-fi stories and novellas which examine human relationships and evolution over the coming decades and centuries, at turns poignant, witty and enthralling. Includes "the wedding album" which is one of the best short works in any genre i've read in several years.

I can't recommend this highly enough.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best collections to come to market in years 4 Jan 2009
By Omphalos - Published on Amazon.com
Simply stated every single solitary word of this book is pure gold that left me begging for more. Five of the stories in this book are reworked a bit in his first novel, Counting Heads. Collectively they tell a story that by Marusek's own words was inspired by Herbert's idea of the Butlerian Jihad. That motif is not only the central issue in one of the stories, but it hangs over them all, threatening to come at a moment's notice. Overall I would say that many of Marusek's stories are gadget/AI stories with a realistic and humanistic bent to them. One story (Cathyland, mentioned below) has clear post-human elements to it, though some will argue that the entire book is full of post human stories. Instead, I think the people in this book are on the verge of going post human, as their technology is so advanced and they have such fine control over their own internal biological processes, but they haven't quite gotten there yet.

The Wedding Album and A Boy in Cathyland tell the story of how our society goes to hell and the war that ensues after AI in all its various forms is emancipated. What is left in the dust is a society that summarily executes owners of high-tech merely for owning it, and encourages and rewards individuals who grow extra brain tissue and keep it in various appendages so that people on their own are capable of processing large amounts of information without machines. We Were Out of our Minds with Joy tells the story of two lovers in a thoroughly transformed society who are granted an extremely rare license to have a child. That story is absolutely beautiful in every detail, but ends on a very bitter note when fate and computer error throw the couple a curve ball that nobody ever saw coming. On its own its one of the best dystopian pieces I have ever read, in any form. As a matter of fact this story is so good that virtually every reviewer that looked at in 1995 swore that it was penned by some big name in SF who was writing under a pen-name. Nope! Jus' little ole' Marusek, living in a cabin in Arctic Alaska with his blind, deaf and incontinent dog.

Many of these stories were compiled yearly in 'Best of' collections (I had not heard of all of them until I bought this book), but I have to say that they really work even better when compiled together. As you can probably tell, several of them are not only set in the same universe, but in the same story line. Marusek had changed several for incorporation into Counting Heads, but this is essentially true. But even the stories like VTV, about opportunistic and amoral TV network personnel who are blindsided by opportunistic and exploitative pseudo-terrorist hunters, fit into the whole. Unlike Herbert, Marusek shows us what technological evils are going to come, and not only how, but why that lifestyle will create a conflict we cannot win: Because our numbers will be too few, and the resources stretched too thin.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humanizing the non-human 6 May 2009
By Nicholas Gold - Published on Amazon.com
How is it that David Marusek is able to give true human dimensionality to non-human characters? His first two novels gripped me, and this collection, including the absolutely stunning The Wedding Album, takes it to the next level.

I used to be very excited to be living at the threshold of "The Future." However, Marusek makes me very afraid of this reality. And it strikes me as more compellingly believable a future reality than that painted by Gibson or Stephenson.

I can't recommend Getting to Know You, as well as Marusek's two novels, more highly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue 15 Jun 2007
By John Me Wallace - Published on Amazon.com
It's interesting that this anthology is called "Getting to Know You", because the eponymous story is the first one I read by David Marusek, one of those few stories that set me on fire about a particular author and their work. Furthermore, reading this book is in a very real sense about "getting to know" David Marusek; I can only hope his corpus grows in the future. The stories here represent every one he's published save for "She was Good, She was Funny", which IIRC was included with a limited edition only.

"Getting to Know You" is really two anthologies in one; half the stories here take place in the "Boutique Economy" of "Counting Heads", and serve as a kind of preamble for that novel. The other stories run the gamut, and are for the most part only loosely tied into science fiction. They are a mixed bag, showcases of cynicism and mordant humor. The best is "The Earth is on the Mend", an astonishingly tense chase packed into just four pages. Also memorable is "Listen to Me", in its chilling portrait of a man addicted to rage. You may want to take Marusek's advice and skip the nauseating "VTV", though even this tale has something to offer in its withering critique of an America obsessed with blood and ratings.

The best stories by far are those dealing with the future world fleshed out in "Counting Heads". They are classic Marusek, with protagonists who are blind or enslaved to truths unrevealed until it's too late. "We Were Out of Our Minds with Joy" is a magnificent novella of romance; it's a director's cut of sorts, clearly longer and more detailed than the first part of "Counting Heads". "Cabbages and Kale, or: How We Downsized America" is the dark horse of the set, a devilishly complex story about a politician forced to make an incalculable moral decision.

The real star of the book, of course, is "The Wedding Album", which remains my favorite SF story. Not only do I never get sick of it, but I glean some new detail from it with each reading. The first time, it was like getting punched in the stomach, yet beautifully tempered by the profundity of its underlying message. Though it comes first in the book, you might want to save it for last if you've never read it before.

Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality sci-fi 9 Jan 2010
By E. Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fans of Marusek's novels like Counting Heads and Mind over Ship will find chunks of them here in the
stories/novellas that led to them. There are also several fine related stories--distopian,
yet thoughtful and somehow hopeful too. Marusek can be grim and gritty, but he is not depressing.
All of his work is well worth the read; like the best of sci-fi it uses its alternative world
to make you consider the human condition today.
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live Yurek Rutz 25 Jun 2011
By A. J. Warner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a David Marusek groupie - he's funny, insightful, hugely imaginative, self-deprecating in a 'Rockford Files' way, and thoroughly entertaining. This is a great collection of short stories. Some of the themes show up later in his books and some don't. One of the most delightfully bizarre stories is about an off-kilter Alaskan named Yurek Rutz, who seeks immortality in print. Google it and read that short story free on the web, then pay Amazon for the book.
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