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An anthology of original cyborg stories edited by a cyborg Stronger Better Faster We will rebuild youCONTENTSIntroduction by Neil ClarkeCome From Away by Madeline AshbyNo Place to Dream but a Place to Die by Elizabeth BearMarried by Helena BellA Cold Heart by Tobias S BuckellHoneycomb Girls by Erin CashierWhat I’ve Seen With Your Eyes by Jason K Chapman Here Liu tackles a familiar story detective decides to take on an overlooked case and solve the murder of a prostitute However in his hands an old trope becomes a fresh feeling genre crossing thriller It's not just a murder mystery with a sci fi veneer new believable fascinating technology is essential to the crime the motive the investigation and the solution It's also not just an exploration of new ideas in tech innovation it fully works on a human emotional level as well I hope to see this one up in year end awards listsUpdate 6715 I see that this was indeed nominated for the Nebula but it lost out to Nancy Kress I still like this one betterMerged reviewThis is a very strong collection of all new short stories on the them of cyborgs or modified humans Some of the best writers currently working in speculative fiction are featured here The book gives the reader a lot to think about as well as plenty of great sci fi entertainment Always the Harvest by Yoon Ha LeeA good opener for an anthology on the theme of cyborgs Our narrator is a woman living on the fringes of her society an outer space habitat where prosthetic replacements and enhancements are common Rejected and cast out by her 'circle' due do a problem she doesn't have the money to fix she takes pity on a seeming beggar who looks worse off than herself and discovers something truly unexpected The theme is a classic riff on strains often found in this genre played beautifully What do we believe it means to be human And what would an 'other' intelligence assume it means to be human based on observation A Cold Heart by Tobias S BuckellCyber soldier Pepper has been working for the alien Satrapy that controls Earth this is the same universe as his 'Xenowealth' series I've only read one of them but apparently there are a few other stories featuring this character He's been kept hanging on by the promise of the return of his stolen memories Now a free man he has a desperate plan to regain what he has lost by force Will those around him be sacrificed to his dreamThis would make a great opening to a novel and I'd definitely read it The Sarcophagus by Robert ReedIn a far future the outer hulls of enormous spaceships are inhabited by beings known as remoras which like their namesake fish cling on doing what they need to do cleaning and repairing the surface Technology means that they can live thousands of years but it's a dangerous job and most die by misadventure The remoras are regarded almost as drones but here we see an incident that illustrates their humanity Oil of Angels by Chen iufan translated by Ken LiuI see why Ken Liu picked this story it has a lot in common with his writing a strong idea based concept that is given voice through a strongly emotional very human short storyThe idea here is based on the current research into epigenetics some of which has suggested that traits sensitivities and even memory may be passed down to us an a genetic level Trauma experienced by our mothers and grandmothers may still be felt in usHere the author adds in the chemical potential of 'aromatherapy' and technological memory enhancement and then tells a moving very individual story What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes by Jason K ChapmanCorporations will sponsor necessary medical operations for the poor Lisa Wei went blind as a child and had her eyes replaced Of course now her eyes feature a corporate logo and she sees burger commercials where ever she looks But if a corporation can control what someone sees there's always a hack Someone can make you see something else Nicely drawn situation and characters and a crime thriller lurks around the edges I'd love to see this expanded into a novel No Place to Dream but a Place to Die by Elizabeth BearTwo cyber enhanced miners meet in a tunnel where neither of them is supposed to be and then end up weathering a disastrous accident together The setting is space opera but the situation could be 19th century company mining town because perhaps both the darkest and the best of human nature are constants Married by Helena BellA psychological study narrated by a wife and mother dealing with the effects that a new technology has on her family replacing flesh and blood with a new artificial material Come From Away by Madeline AshbyBodyguard and teen client face a school shooting scenario together Both weaknesses and resourcefulness surface in unexpected places Not bad but there's a lot of character background established that ends up being extraneous to the story I suspect this 'story' is actually an opening to Ashby's upcoming novel 'Company Town' the blurb and character names match I look forward to reading the full book Negative Space by Amanda ForrestCaught by those who were chasing her a young woman contemplates using technology to literally erase her identity to protect the secrets she holds in her memory Fusion by Greg MellorReminded me in style of AA Attanasio Of course it's been a while since I read Attanasio so I'm not going to swear that my association has basis in fact In a weird post apocalyptic landscape full of cyber infected humans and falling 'angels' a young man is enigmatically driven to run but from what and to what Taking the Ghost by AC WiseA palace guard is rescued from the scene of a coup by a strange man who saves his life and outfits him with ghost powered prosthetics Waking to consciousness the guard must face the fact that he has failed everyone who ever put trust in him on both sides of a conflict He is driven to atone and things get weird Honeycomb Girls by Erin CashierCertainly the stilted language used here is meant to convey the main character's uneducated status but I found it a bit distracting from the story In this post apocalyptic future an unspecified disaster has caused social collapse Most women are gone The majority of people live in filthy slums scavenging as they can An upper class lives in 'hive' towers each hoarding and sharing a woman Ignorance and violence are widespread It's a topic that easily could've been done uite badly but here it actually becomes a bittersweet and true commentary on what really matters to humanity The Regular by Ken LiuHere Liu tackles a familiar story detective decides to take on an overlooked case and solve the murder of a prostitute However in his hands an old trope becomes a fresh feeling genre crossing thriller It's not just a murder mystery with a sci fi veneer new believable fascinating technology is essential to the crime the motive the investigation and the solution It's also not just an exploration of new ideas in tech innovation it fully works on a human emotional level as well I hope to see this one up in year end awards lists Musée de l’Âme Seule by E Lily YuSkipped ahead to read this one in advance of hearing the author read the story at KGB Fantastic Fiction It actually made for a bit of a strange experience reading it and then hearing it read about an hour laterA woman survives a terrible road accident The accident itself is the least of her trauma however as she learns what life will be like for her dependent on medical technology prostheses and artificial organsExtremely well crafted some nice shifts in perspective Contains a lot of insight into how people view and handle or fail to handle disability Small Medicine by Genevieve ValentineI skipped ahead to read this one too in advance of the reading at KGB The author read a different selection however This story is actually somewhat similar in theme to Yu's Here a girl is faced with her family's decision to purchase a robotic version of her grandmother after her actual grandmother passes away She has uite a lot of resentment about being expected to treat this 'memorial doll' as a relative Will her attitude change after she has to have a nano treatment which on some level fundamentally changes who she is as well Tender by Rachel SwirskyA glimpse into the head of a suicidally depressed woman She sees her protective lover as a mad scientist keeping her from her goal of dying I read it as metaphorical not as an actual sci fi story This may be well done but I can't say I enjoyed it Tongtong’s Summer by Xia Jia translated by Ken LiuA young girl's grandfather comes home from the hospital accompanied by a new experimental home health care robot The device is not actually a true robot but a remote operated device that allows a distant care worker to be 'on call' as needed The device ends up revolutionizing society but not exactly in the way that was expected The main idea here is a sweet but idealistic call to respect the elderly and to develop technology that will make them able to contribute to society in a meaningful way Unfortunately the 'call to arms' overwhelms the actual story and at times it crosses a line into feeling like a piece of government propaganda Wizard Cabalist Ascendant by Seth DickinsonThree college friends came up with a transhumanist breakthrough that has changed human society forever However each of them now disagrees about exactly what the future should look like Due to 'backdoors' in their creation they have unthinkable power but which of their ideas will win I probably spent too much time trying to figure out if the fantasywizard metaphor here is specifically supposed to refer to Katherine Kurtz' Deryni series one of the 'versions' of the mental software here is called 'Haldane' but I'm still not sure if there's a parallel Memories and Wire by Mari NessWhat if your girlfriend was a terminator style secret cyber agent And what if she was suicidal There's not much you can do when she could kill you with her little finger A weird psychologically oriented piece God Decay by Rich LarsonA doctor has made a young athlete her pet project; enhancing his performance with extensive bio mods and in the process changing the face of pro sports She's also crossed a professional barrierHowever now things have gone bad with unexpected revelations about side effects How will they weather this crisis both emotionally and professionally Mercury in Retrograde by Erin HoffmanTrue cyberpunk Loved this action packed corporate hacker espionage tale Clearly owes a debt to both Gibson and Stephenson but I'd love to read of Jenny Mercury's adventures Coastlines of the Stars by Alex Dally MacFarlaneA poverty stricken worker makes a kind of connection to a missing artist through an innate understanding of his work and convinces an acuaintance to team up with her to try to find him and incidentally collect a significant reward Space opera with a thoughtful philosophical bent The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time by E Catherine ToblerA spacer has to team up with an alien Bumping it up a star for beautiful language and an interesting exploration of having to deal with a truly alien intelligence and way of perceiving But I found the style rather distancing and somewhat disorienting Synecdoche Oracles by Benjanun SriduangkaewA companion piece or at least set in the same world as 'The Bees Her Heart the Hive Her Belly' Again I didn't really connect with this piece It's a complicated original world but I wasn't convinced to care about the characters or events Collateral by Peter WattsFans of 'Ender's Game' may very well like this one A soldier with enhanced reaction times wired in to her weapons systems must face the ethical uestions brought up when innocents are killed Caught between the media the military her own training and her sense of right and wrong things play out in an unexpected but utterly logical fashion Seventh Sight by Greg EganWhat if some people could 'hack' their eyesight in order to see wavelengths greater than the normal human spectrum How would it affect their lives What kind of advantages or disadvantages would it give themA copy of book was provided to me by NetGalley Many thanks for the opportunity to read As always my opinion is solely my own

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UpgradedS by Chen iufanThe Sarcophagus by Robert ReedSynecdoche Oracles by Benjanun SriduangkaewTender by Rachel SwirskyThe Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time by E Catherine ToblerSmall Medicine by Genevieve ValentineCollateral by Peter WattsTaking the Ghost by AC WiseMusée de l’Âme Seule by E Lily YuAbout the AuthorsAbout the EditorCover art by Julie Dillo A mixed bag Overall I was not impressed with a good chunk of it There were a handful of stories I liked and that stood out; the rest ranged from dull to infuriating to forgettable I was hoping to like this because the unifying theme cyborgs is one I’m always interested in Mostly I ended up disappointed “Always the Harvest” by Yoon Ha LeeA fairly strong start to the anthology; the story ends up being something of a love song between a cyborg and a planet and it’s very sweet“A Cold Heart” by Tobias S BuckellA mercenary named Pepper tries to retrieve stolen memories and finds new things to live for Another fairly solid story; it didn’t really pull me in how I’d hoped but had some cool moments“The Sarcophagus” by Robert ReedI got utterly bored two pages in skimmed the rest then got thoroughly fed up with the immature infantilized beings of the worldship I have very little patience with characters who are noted to be hundreds and thousands of years old and act like spoilt adolescents And everyone seemed to be a total jerk in this story so I didn’t bother“Oil of Angels” by Chen uiufan translated by Ken LiuAnother about memory loss genetic memory and relationships between mothers and daughters Pretty good“What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes” by Jason K ChapmanA brother modifies his sister’s optics She acts as a Watson to his Sherlock and mostly relays past events while theoretically helping a detective with her brother’s murder So so A bit of problematic language the way Lisa refers to herself though“No Place to Dream But a Place to Die” by Elizabeth BearMiners get trapped during an explosioncave in and work to get free while becoming sorta friends Nothing really stood out for me in this one It felt bland and less punchy than some of Bear’s other short work“Married” by Helena BellThere seems to be a subset of recent SF in which the narrator is distant detached and never really has a feeling This is one; a woman cannot cope with her husband’s change into a fully metallic person due to tech that saved him from cancer Mostly depressing“Come Away From” by Madeline AshbyStarted interesting if on a sensitive topic of school shootings and then falls apart 34ths of the way through I didn’t care that it was a set up it just all seemed utterly pointless and I have no idea what the ending is trying to say“Negative Space” by Amanda Forrest Forcedforcible memory loss is apparently a theme because this is the third one in the anthology A girl tries to get away from people who want her memories because they think she’s a savant so she self lobotomizes herself in the end I found it unengaging and rather tedious “Fusion” by Greg MellorGot completely lost and absolutely bored two pages in didn’t finish“Taking the Ghost” by AC WiseI liked the idea of this one ghosts power metallic prosthetics in a semi post apocalyptic world but got irritated that literally all the women mentioned are dead or killed off I had no emotional engagement with this one“Honeycomb Girls” by Erin CashierThis one basically left me infuriated In a post apoc world the only thing ONLY women who are very few in number are good for is being used for sex by multiple men in strictly ordered segregations And then once they get pregnant they disappear and are replaced by female sex bots “The Regular” by Ken LiuLike Criminal Minds with a cyborg ex cop PI So yeah murdered sex workers are the central conflict here I did like the protagonist Ruth but the Watcher’s scenes didn’t work for me Ending was solid at least“Tender” by Rachel SwirskyRage bait A woman wants to commit suicide and her husband continually modifies her body to make her invulnerable without her consent That’s it There’s no plot other than her thinking of killing herself and him changing her body without permission Hated it“Tongtong’s Summer” by Xia Jia translated by Ken LiuI apparently missed this one while skipping around with the reading About the titular Tongtong and robot grandparents Sweet in places“Musee De L’Ame Seule” by E Lily YuA story about disability and adapting Sweet and upbeat by the end“Wizard Cabalist Ascendant” by Seth DickinsonA lot of the context and discussion of this went over my head and I had no real interest or attachment to the characters Did not leave much impact like some of Dickinson’s work has“Memories and Wire” by Mari NessYet another one where a woman appears to commit suicide This one has of a plot than “Tender” and an attempt at characterization Still did not like it“God Decay” by Rich LarsonA super athlete finds out his mods are going to kill him in about two years Decent although abelist in the backstory because of course you can’t be an olympian if you’re in a wheelchair UGH “Small Medicine” By Genevieve ValentineGirl and her robot replaced grandmother do stuff Apparently Mostly the girl misses her real grandma and then there is some kind of museum opening It really did nothing for me“Mercury in Retrograde” by Erin HoffmanMercury is trying to escape her mother gets hacked and has adventures trying to rebuild her life Fun in places I liked Digit but nothing in particular stood out to me“Coastlines of the Stars” by Alex Dally MacFarlaneSome very shiny ideas and nice prose in here; I mostly liked it “The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time” by E Catherine ToblerTedious confusing in places and did absolutely nothing for me The narrator is a chimera modified human apparently making her way down a ship There’s endless repetitive descriptions of mud So much mud Because you can’t forget mud right Mud Something something mud and then the narrator finds out that her former friend lover was turned into an alien host or something The end I did not like this one“Synecdoche Oracles” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew I liked this one a lot the prose is gorgeous and there are so many shiny ideas and it also has Luhna genderfluid space general I did not uite grok the entire meaning of the plot between Charina and Luhna but it was fun to read Actual space opera“Collateral” by Peter WattsI got only a few pages in before losing interest completely and skipping the rest“Seventh Sight” by Greg EganThis is another one I liked uite a lot people can modify their eye implants to see far colors on the spectrum The story follows a guy and his eventual wife as they explore the possibilities of enhanced eyesight until computers are able to mimic it and they have to rethink their priorities It’s engaging and fun and has a nice ending Good close out to the anthology


Neil Clarke ☆ Upgraded mobi

Free Upgraded kindle ¼ eBook 9781890464301 Ü dogsalonbristol ✓ [Reading] ➽ Upgraded Author Neil Clarke – An anthology of original cyborg stories edited by a cyborg Stronger Better Faster We will rebuild youCONTENTSIntroduction by Neil ClarkeCome From Away by Madeline AshbyWizard Cabalist Ascendant by Seth DickinsonSeventh Sight by Greg EganNegative Space by Amanda ForrestMercury in Retrograde by Erin HoffmanTongtong’s Summer by Xia JiaGod Decay by Rich LarsonAlways the Harvest by Yoon Ha LeeThe Regular by Ken LiuCoastlines of the Stars by Alex Dally MacFarlaneFusion by Greg MellorMemories and Wire by Mari NessOil of Angle I got a copy courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewAs usual with anthologies always a tricky read to rate Some of the stories I really enjoyed others I found average others yet were too far from my own tastes to hit home Nothing unexpected here All in all there was only one story I really skippedskimmed over and a few that I struggled with at first but ended up reading all the same thinking in the end it was somewhat worth itPerhaps the theme of cybernetics is making things a little hard in that regard either it works or it doesn't you won't really find many other different themes to check for if it ends up not being your cup of tea But that's kind of a given considering the anthology's title and blurbA lot of the stories also toy with concepts uestioning whether cybernetic enhancement would be a good or a bad thing hopes crumbling cyberntics leading to madness or violence and so on Those definitely open a path for deeper reflection hereStories I really liked Seventh Sight Part of my enjoyment probably stemmed of a personal fascination with tetrachromats colours and whatever is related to how we perceive the latter Always the Harvest This short story opens the anthology and provides an interesting view on what defines humans and on how a non human conscience may interpret the image we project of ourselves Wizard Cabalist Ascendant A bit hard to grasp at first but definitely interesting if one's looking for reflections about transhumanism The Regular A typical story on the model of detective shows which probably makes it easier to graspA word of warning a few stories made use of a second person point of view which unfortunately is a serious break it for me frankly apart of Choose Your Own Adventure books it never works—and even in such cases it has always tended to grate on my nerves It doesn't mean they're rubbish just that I can't stand that point of view Too bad because Musée de l'Âme Seule has really touching moments granted it's not 100% second person POV; but it felt like it too much to make me forget the constant you