Whatever new technology brings, humans will always act like humans. I liked that at the core of Children of the New World were normal people doing everyday things, just with more advanced technology. It some cases, the climate has changed, triggering the social issues explored, such as the strains of unemployment or the selfishness of not considering others in a survival situation.
A lot of the stories follow the evolution of the internet and virtual reality to a future where people barely exist in the real world. A family who never go outside, doing everything they need to do in virtual reality, faced with a son who wants to experience the outside. A company producing memories to experience instead doing the real thing.
All good memories have boredom buried in them.
In one story, people have become so unused to communicating offline, they forget how to interact with people in person, they panic at the thought of a conversation without having access to their profile. The same story goes on to show the dangers of oversharing, that sometimes it’s better to filter your thoughts.
Of course, sex always plays a part. From the couple who build a virtual life and a virtual family, only to be plagued with the kind of spam that’s so much easier to deal with when it only existed in 2D form, to a world populated by clones who no longer have the urges associated with reproduction.
It was tiring to labor through the sentences needed to explain how you ran into a friend – much easier to share the memory, the friend’s name and photo appearing organically.
In these futures, the feared terrorists are Buddhist, with enlightenment being a dangerous thing attained through unnatural methods. This targeting of a group so unlikely to be international terrorists helps highlight the absurdity of blanketing a whole religion as dangerous.
Each story explores a fairly believable advancement or change, but many leave a subtle punch at the end. Read too fast and you may miss the most important messages, the ones that make you think a life in the real world may be worth living after all. A desire for a simpler life and internet fatigue crops up in several stories.
We were the first generation to grow up with layers, a group of kids who’d produced thousands of tutorials on blocking unwanted users but not a single one on empathy.
Children of the New World is published by Text Publishing and will be available in the the UK in paperback from 27th April 2017. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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