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.
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 Pushcard 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.
‘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
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. In "Saying Goodbye to Yang," Jim has to shut down a malfunctioning Yang a humanoid who has been a "Big Brother" to Jim's adopted daughter for three years. In "The Cartographers," Adam designs and sells manufactured memories, until he gets so hooked on testing his software that he can no longer tell which memories are his own. "Heartland" shows a Midwest where topsoil is a precious commodity, and when a father loses his job "installing gardens," he resorts to exploiting the cuteness of his children to make ends meet. In the virtual-driven world of the title story, a couple lose their digital children to a reboot when they download a virus in the "Dark City." The disturbing and darkly funny "Rocket Night" features parents who gather annually to decide which least-liked child in the elementary school will be launched on a rocket to space. Complete with footnotes from fictional future publications and technology that is just one leap away, this is mind-bending stuff. Weinstein's collection is full of spot-on prose, wicked humor, and heart.