Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cyber World, edited by Jason Heller and Joshua Viola

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(Cyber SF) Stories that reimagine cyberpunk in light of modern technologies and project it forward. (59,623 words; Time: 3h:18m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Cyber World," edited by Jason Heller and Joshua Viola, published on by .

Cyberpunk Revived

Of the twenty short stories in this slim volume, eighteen of them are original stories. (We don't review reprints.) Of those eighteen, ten of them more-or-less fit the cyberpunk definition. The rest include Virtual Reality stories (2), Military SF (2), Post Apocalypse, Time Travel, a Psionic story, and a Climate-Fiction mystery.

We recommend two and recommend against four, which is average for this number of stories. Several of the three-star stories were well-written with interesting concepts, but their protagonists were spectators, not active participants in the stories. Readers who value concepts more than story might like a number of those as well.


Serenade, by Isabel Yap is probably the most faithful to the original cyberpunk concept. Two professional hackers in Manila try to decrypt an old USB drive for a mysterious client with lots of cash.

The Singularity Is in Your Hair, by Matthew Kressel is also pretty solid cyberpunk. The narrator is a gifted teenager who's dying from muscular dystrophy who lives as much of her life as possible in cyberspace. Her best friend is a rogue AI, who gives her hacking jobs and who promises she'll be able to upload her mind before her body dies.

Other Reviews: Search Web,

5 & 4 Stories: 2;  Estimated Time: 19m (6K words)
Recommended By Stories: 2;  Estimated Time: 19m (6K words)
Total Stories: 18;  Estimated Time: 3h:18m (60K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Serenade by Isabel Yap  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Anj and EJ's fledgling hacking business gets a contract to decrypt an old AI-encrypted USB drive.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Singularity Is in Your Hair by Matthew Kressel  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Stricken with muscular dystrophy, the teenage narrator lives almost entirely in VR, where she hopes a rogue AI can save her.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4

Rating: 3 -> Average

A Song Transmuted by Sarah Pinsker  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Katja has been all about music from infancy, but she wants to do something really transformative.
Darkout by E. Lily Yu  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) In a zero-privacy future, Brandon can't help watching his ex, even though he knows he needs a break.
It's Only Words by Keith Ferrell  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Sem's class project explains why he rejects the Tap technology that everyone else is linked to for information.
Panic City by Madeline Ashby  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Post Apocalypse) When fan #6 fails, the underground city's AI decides to abandon it, but an overachieving worker is determined to fix it anyway.
Reactions by Mario Acevedo  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Military SF) Daryl gets unexpected leave time, which he wants to use to explain why he wants to cancel his wedding, but he's still under the influence of military drugs.
Staunch by Paul Graham Raven  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Military SF) Mercenary Elaine Stainless takes care of her people, even when it means carrying one into hostile territory for treatment.
The Bees of Kiribati by Warren Hammond  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(SF Mystery) Kaikoa is just a translator, but she wants to understand why a fellow refugee from the drowned Kiribati islands murdered four children.
The Ibex on the Day of Extinction by Minister Faust  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Kam's satellite phone fails while he's doing field work in Niger. But why has GPS failed as well?
The Mighty Phin by Nisi Shawl  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Virtual Reality SF) Stuck in a virtual-reality prison, Phin tries to manipulate the AI to give the inmates more freedom.
The Rest Between Two Notes by Cat Rambo  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) The narrator kills her mother over and over in virtual reality as a form of therapy. It doesn't seem to be helping.
wysiomg by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) What You See Is Oh My God! In which the protagonists go from making ants perform to making them into furniture.
Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown by Alyssa Wong  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(SF Horror) The young narrator attends a party for crime bosses, on a mission she doesn't expect to survive.

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

How Nothing Happens by Darin Bradley  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Time Travel) In which we learn that it's a lot of work to make nothing happen.
Other People's Thoughts by Chinelo Onwualu  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Psionic SF) A telepathic Nigerian runs a body modification shop and meets a new lover there.
Visible Damage by Stephen Graham Jones  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Raz is a professional hacker, and he accepts a very retro commission with very serious risks.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

We Will Take Care of Our Own by Angie Hodapp1  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueCyber World 2016
(Cyber SF) Tia wants to be elected president badly enough to do almost anything. Almost.

Rating: Not Rated

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