Published by Picador on September 13th 2016
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It’s hard to imagine social media taking up more of our lives than it does today, but in the near-future of Alexander Weinstein’s stories it starts to blend with all-consuming virtual reality and pre-programmed memories. Families and children are raised completely online while memories take the place of recreational drugs. For many of the characters in Children of the New World, life before complete technological immersion is a distant story told through the visions of their screens.
Not long ago, a friend mentioned her worries that Children of the New World would be too much “but the youths are the worst because gadgets harrumph”. It’s a fair concern, especially given the book’s description and the recent push to blame Millennials or social media for every societal ill. Thankfully, Weinstein dodges that tone by setting most of his stories in physically altered worlds—a total loss of soil, drastic global warming, a new Ice Age. Though humans seem responsible for many of the frighteningly plausible futures, the development of technology doesn’t take the fall for everything.
There are clear parallels between Children of the New World and other collections like Tenth of December or the TV show Black Mirror, but Weinstein’s stories have their own distinct, dark voice. This is a strong collection from start to finish that definitely needs to go on your list (even if you struggle to love short stories!).