Sunday, April 2, 2017

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World, edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts

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(Near-Future SF) What happens when everyone can snoop on everyone else? (77,145 words; Time: 4h:17m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World," edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts, published on by .

Age of Transparency or the End of Privacy?

The theme of this anthology is what effect information transparency will have in the near future? Authors explore various degrees of transparency, ranging from futures where almost nothing can be hidden from anyone to ones where there’s a good deal of opt-out, and others where not everything is as open as it’s supposed to be.

As anthologies go, this one is unusually cohesive. The authors almost all stuck very close to the intended theme.

We only reviewed the sixteen stories which are original to this volume. Beyond those, there are nine reprints and four non-fiction essays (counting the introduction) for a total of 29 written works. Of those we reviewed, we recommended 3 (one better than average) and recommended against 3 (also one better than average).


Eminence, by Karl Schroeder, tells how the creator of a successful online currency faces the possibility that hackers may bring the whole thing down, ruining him, his family, and his friends. The surveillance angle in this one is subtle but very effective.

Eyejacked, by David Walton, deals with voluntary surveillance. A man comes to see his wife’s success as an online personality as a threat to their family because they have almost no privacy.

Public Domain, by Scott Sigler, explores the situation where a high level of surveillance is standard and is available to everyone, but not everyone is clever enough to make use of the data. In this story, a young man fears his girlfriend is cheating on him, and he resorts to online data to see what she’s up to.

Other Reviews: Search Web,
David Brin Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB
Stephen W. Potts Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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5 & 4 Stories: 3;  Estimated Time: 52m (16K words)
Recommended By Stories: 4;  Estimated Time: 1h:18m (24K words)
Total Stories: 16;  Estimated Time: 4h:01m (72K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Eminence by Karl Schroeder  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Nathan watches helplessly as the alternate currency he created collapses, taking down his friends and family with it.
Eyejacked by David Walton  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Patrick’s wife, Alicia, has become an online star, but the constant exposure of every detail of their lives is ruining their marriage.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Public Domain by Scott Sigler  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) In a world where everything is recorded, Hoyt uses publicly-available online data to see if his girlfriend is cheating on him.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4

Rating: 3 -> Average

AfterShift Memories by David Ramirez  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Medical SF) Dr. Bayani practices medicine in San Francisco, but the automation is making him feel useless.
Elderjoy by Gregory Benford  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(SF Humor) Owing to the health risk, older couples pay a fee every time they have sex. Not everyone is willing to stand for that.
FeastWar by Vylar Kaftan  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) A group of online gamers who win points by eating the right foods come together to save the world from a bio weapon.
Mine, Yours, Ours by Jack Skillingstead  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Members of I.O.E can get replacement organs when they need them, but they have to be prepared to donate one when asked. Emily discovers she has a hard time doing that.
Planetbound by Nancy Fulda  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(SF) You are the first space-bred human to try to walk on Earth since independence, and dealing with gravity turns out to be a lot harder than you’d expected.
Preferences by Cat Rambo  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Alanna and Howin take a cruise to forget their recent loss, but Alanna gets annoyed at the way the ship anticipates the things she wants.
Street Life in the Emerald City by Brenda Cooper  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) A group of homeless people get signed up to help test a new drone system that’s supposed to look after people.
The Disconnected by Ramez Naam  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(SF) The 22nd Century is a much better place, so why are you uncomfortable investigating things that seem to be illegally kept secret?
The Werewolves of Maplewood by James Morrow  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Slipstream) To fight the tyranny of his small town’s olfactory-information processor, Mr. Winkleberg resorts to the lycanthropy he dabbled in as a youth.
Your Lying Eyes by Jack Mcdevitt  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) The narrator learns that a brilliant engineer has developed a consumer technology that will reveal when anyone is lying. Is it really a good thing to release this to the public?

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

Elephant on Table by Bruce Sterling  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Tullio and Irma serve the eccentric, 104-year-old, Chief—the last prime minister of Italy—in his “Shadow House,” a place immune from surveillance.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: GDozois:5
First Presentation by Aliette De Bodard  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(SF; Xuya) Thanh attends her ex’s “First Presentation,” where her child will be connected to their society’s network.
Vectors by Stephen Gaskell  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueChasing Shadows 2017
(Near-Future SF) Zoe’s young brother is dying of an undiagnosed genetic disease, and the only way to save him is to get illegal access to proprietary global databases that cross-reference DNA and disease.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Rating: Not Rated

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