CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD
Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and frighteningly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster.
Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this 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 in speculative fiction for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon.
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
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
A darkly comic look at how far people will go to hold on to the devices that are replacing human experience.
—The Washington Post
Children of the New World is available now in paperback ($16.00) and eBook ($9.99)
More Praise for Children of the New World
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.
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
In each of the gripping stories in Children of the New World, Alexander Weinstein offers a glimpse into an unnerving, not-so-distant, and all-too-possible future. Weinstein explores what-ifs with both wit and sensitivity, and his cautionary tales demand to be read (before it’s too late).
—Judy Budnitz, author of Nice Big American Baby
In Alexander Weinstein’s debut collection, the future is a frightening and familiar place. Weinstein takes our uneasy truce with technology and blows it up, giving us child robots and ice worlds and the dark aftermath of failed revolutions. The collection is nothing short of a gorgeous new cold war, pitting us both with and against the science that threatens to become not-so-fictional every day.
—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World: And Other Stories
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.
—Donna Seaman, 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*
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.
This story collection hums with creative energy, and it’s the perfect balance of smart and heart, funny and moving. The stories are set in the future, but this is not genre sci-fi; rather it’s a glimpse at where our society IS, and maybe where it’s going. There are clouds in that future, but it’s also bursting with humanity. Children of the New World reminds me of George Saunders’ Tenth of December, which is the highest compliment I could pay a book of short stories.
—Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books (San Francisco, CA)
This collection of stories utilizes the technologies that we are familiar with today and tweaks them fifty or a hundred years into our future. In one story, a family loses their adopted son and though he is only a machine, they must come to terms with their grief; in another tale, people sell memories of vacations to those who cannot afford to actually go, but what happens when memories become more important than reality? What makes these stories so compelling is their powerful immediacy—they feel torn from an unknown future, something that can happen to us all. I was dazzled and amazed by Weinstein’s talent and further surprised by his innovative and warm approach to both people and technology.
—Raul Chapa, Book People (Austin, TX)
If Helen Philips, Black Mirror, and dare I say it, Margaret Atwood had a magical literary love child, THIS would be it. Children of the New World is truly a binge-worthy short story collection and a MUST read for fans of speculative fiction. Throughout the night I read it, I found myself finishing a story, turning the light off to go to bed, turning the light back on 15 seconds later promising myself, “just one more” until I was finished... and exhausted for work the following morning. #WORTHIT.
—Macon Wilson, The Booksellers at Laurelwood (Memphis, TN)
From where he’s writing, we must all look like ants to Alexander Weinstein, whose stories float, radiant and menacing, somewhere around the outer limits of What’s Possible. By the time you read this, Children of the New World will already be en route to one of fiction’s many futures.
—Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore (Brooklyn, NY)
This story collection is a perfect blend of science fiction and real world problems—so real it’s often creepy! I could feel the pain of the virtual parents who lose their online children to a virus manifesting as intruders in their beautiful cyber house, and was tempted by the fake memories manufactured by people who soon become addicted to them. Possibly my favorite entry was a dictionary-style selection of new words used in this future world, and I loved that the story which followed conspicuously used several of those words. I will happily read Children of the New World again while I wait for another book from Alexander Weinstein!
—Allison Chesbro, Schuler Books & Music (Grand Rapids, MI)
Not since I was introduced to Science Fiction have I read stories that resonated as strongly. Every futuristic world has elements we recognize; Weinstein focuses on the worst and best of our fears and humanity, each world swelled only slightly beyond what we recognize as normalcy, introducing us to an alternate future just grotesquely beyond the edges of our own. And then, with a flash glimpse into those stories’ futures, we see that we are not yet entirely lost. Each one is heartbreaking and awesome, a true treasure.
—Charity McMaster, Schuler Books & Music (Grand Rapids, MI)
The stories in Children of the New World are not quiet, before-bed reading. They are tricky and eerie and prescient peeks into our present and possible future. I closed the book with a knot in my gut more than once, but I'm so glad to have opened it.
—Rachel Betz Cass, Harvard Bookstore (Cambridge, MA)
Alexander Weinstein has created an image of our future that is as much fascinating as it is frightening. Set in the not-so-distant future, the stories of Children of the New World depict troubled characters addicted to bottled memories, coping with the loss of robot children, and ignoring their real lives in order to live out their fantasies in a virtual reality program that has transformed the culture. On the surface, these ideas seem too alien to have much meaning, but Weinstein has effectively crafted each of these stories as a rebuke on our present society. Children of the New World is at once innovative and introspective, critiquing our current state while offering possibilities of what we may become. I really enjoyed this book. Couldn’t put it down!
—Jordan Puckett, Joseph Beth Booksellers (Cincinnati, OH)
Wow! What a versatile and relevant short story collection. Weinstein can take a particular point of view in one story, and then argue the opposite in another. As a dealer of ideas and as a reader, I appreciated this talent. Children of the New World is intriguing, occasionally disturbing, and definitely thought-provoking. If you only read one short story collection this year, make it Children of the New World.
—Valerie Welbourn, Novels and Novelties Bookstore (Hendersonville, NC)
The highest praise I can give for Children of the New World is that it made me want to give up on a connected life and go live in the woods before it’s too late. That’s because Alexander Weinstein’s speculative visions, never too far removed from our actual reality, have a habit of getting into your head. Multiple scenarios are experienced convincingly through a diverse and empathetic range of narrators, and the familiar siren’s call of new technology provides balance to the invariably unanticipated consequences. Whether it’s the specter of an immersive virtual world becoming more appealing than our own (already here?), or a contemplation of what it could mean to lose a loved one who never quite existed to begin with, Weinstein places his finger on quandaries that may well come to preoccupy us in the years ahead.
—Jon Purves, Politics and Prose (Washington, DC)