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Children of the New World Paperback – 27 Apr 2017
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"In this haunting and prescient debut collection, Weinstein evokes a vaguely dystopian, domestic existence where virtual reality, cybernetics, and social media are second nature. Like today we are disconnected despite being connected. We feel the insidious reach of technology, corporate forces, and climate change tightening into a chokehold. Over 13 tales, he steeps us in a realm of alternate realities close to our own, but each with a thought-provoking twist." - The Boston Globe
"As we further allow ourselves to be infantilized by our amazing gadgets, Weinstein offers a counter-narrative that both warns us about a dangerous path and wallows in this freedom that unlocks immense pleasure and satisfaction." - RollingStone.com
"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
"Storytellers like Alexander Weinstein come along once in a generation." - The Lascaux Review
"[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 (Prepub Alert)
"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
"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. Sparking disquieting thoughts about how vulnerable our brains are to electronic manipulation and how eventually consciousness itself might be colonized by corporate and governmental entities, Weinstein's brilliantly original, witty, and provocative tales explore the malleability of memory and self, the fragility of intimacy and nature, forging a ravishingly powerful, cautionary vision." - Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
"Touching on virtual families, climate change, implanted memories, and more, Weinstein's debut collection of digital-age sci-fi stories is 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." - Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*
"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...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 peek 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." --The Seattle Times
"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
"The most disturbing stories about the future may be less about what could happen, given unforeseen circumstance, and more about what should happen given the way things are right now. The haunting visions of a sad tomorrow in Alexander Weinstein's excellent first collection, Children of the New World, fit that category. 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 Book Review
"An eye-opening horror that will leave you thinking about the implications of technology long into the night…Fantastic." - Cosy Dragon
"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." - Saturday Paper
"A seductively quirky first collection of short stories that are at once funny and dark…. Weinstein writes in a clean, deadpan prose that never quite shows his hand, leaving the reader teetering between chuckles and chills." - Passport
"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: 15 Books You Have to Read in September
"A bold debut collection of speculative short stories…. Weinstein deftly captures technology's limitations and leaves the reader to ponder the beauty found in the real world's imperfections. Ultimately, what is most remarkable, and chilling, about many of these stories is their resemblance to our current times." - Bookpage
" [A] funny, discomfiting, and excellent debut… Even with a cursory reading of current events, it's difficult to deny that Weinstein's new world is the one our children will grow up in, if not the one we are already living in. Don't let anyone tell you these stories aren't real." - Bomb Magazine Online
"Anyone who has sat through a meal with folks whose eyes never leave their phones will understand what disturbs Weinstein: As people spend more time in immersive fantasylands, they are leveling down in their ability to interact in meatspace." - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"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.ORG
"It's almost impossible not to think of Black Mirror while reading Children of the New World, a remarkable new short-story collection by Alexander Weinstein. Both imagine worlds recognizably like our own, but with an element or two distorted: The horrors that will doom us in the future, they presume, are the same things that plague us now, most of them prompted by simple folly. 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. Thanks to wry prose and humor, the collection is less moody and horror-steeped than similar speculative works. But Children of the New World is no less ominous. Weinstein subtly infuses his cautionary tales about the price of submitting so credulously to technological progress with a sense of inevitability." --TheAtlantic.com
"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." - ArtsHub
"Seductive... the best of Mr. Weinstein's stories whistle with a cockeyed, formidable intelligence, and he is not afraid to provoke…. At their finest, Mr. Weinstein's stories contain moments of moral complexity and, even more challenging - and more moving - moments of grace." - The New York Times
"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
"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." - River City Reading
"It becomes clear early in the book that 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." - The Millions
"Weinstein's collection is the most engrossing work of fiction this reviewer has read since Dave Eggers's The Circle...Using wit and intelligence, each story investigates the negative effects of technology gone awry and the subsequent effect on society. Like a prose version of the Netflix series Black Mirror, this volume encapsulates a brave and imaginative examination of possible futures. Highly recommended for all readers." - Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*
"This is science fiction of the highest order." The Toronto Star
"Future-shocked, surprisingly moving, thoroughly excellent… deeply empathetic, sneakily funny, and clearly concerned about the ever-fuzzing line between our minds, our hearts, and our gadgets; it's a little bit Kafka, and a little bit Kaufman. And even though the future Children imagines is occasionally pushed to the brink of bleakness - Weinstein wrote it over the last decade, a period that saw such disasters as the BP oil spill and the Flint water crisis - the book is hardly a collection of tsk-tsking, glum parables. Instead, it roots for its characters, and its readers, by presenting a dystopia that's perhaps inevitable, yet also conquerable." - <b.WIRED.COM
"Poignant…A heartbreaking vision of the future feels all too real in this slim volume of imaginative stories." - Shelf Awareness *STARRED REVIEW*
"A darkly comic look at how far people will go to hold on to the devices that are replacing human experience." - The Washington Post
"I haven't been this excited about reading a book in what feels like forever...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." - Outlandish Lit
"Reading these stories fills one with intense recognition. This new world is ours" --The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
'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 Book Review)
‘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.’ (Publisher's 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) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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I love the first few stories, but over time, the darkness grew and I found myself searching for any nuggets of positivity. Surely our futures won't be completely bleak?
At said, it's definitely worth reading. But you may want to mix these stories in with something a bit lighter.
I wish there weren't such adult-themed references sprinkled in. I see the need, but would have loved to read all the stories out loud to my teenage kids like I did the first one.
I will be waiting with anticipation for Weinstein's next book.