"Memes of Loss and Devotion" is a science fiction and horror short story collection. It examines the human condition, our possible futures, our challenges as a species and our failings as sentient, supposedly intelligent beings.
Journey to a far future where all human minds are connected not only to each other but also to benevolent Artificial Intelligences. Technology may have changed, but the human condition has not, and neither has the human heart.
A not so random encounter in a hotel bar triggers unforeseen consequences, but just who is the hunter and who is the prey? If you thought that romance in the early 21st century is a minefield, just add advanced technology and see how much more dangerous it can get.
Can love survive death? What happens when devotion unexpectedly returns from beyond the grave? A doomed love triangle is destined to end in disaster in a haunting story of passion that can never be reciprocated.
What if men were obsolete? What if new technology meant that the human race could continue without them? How far would you go to prevent this?
Finally, a gun-toting, resourceful hero will get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the entire planet, probably...
In this collection, you will also witness a little girl arguing colonization morals with an elderly alien, while another girl will be 'fixed' by time travelling angels. An astronaut will be rescued (eventually) while another never will be. A deadly connection will be made. A private investigator will lose important parts of his memory on a distant moon. A future colonist never get his girl. A time machine will be abused. An alien observer will be lost. A sister's sister will find her true home.
Just where might future technology take us if we are not mindful of the unintentional consequences?
What will we get? The future we want, or the future we deserve?
Darren White is a new British writer. Born in the North of England, he now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and daughter. Raised in the heart of Robin Hood country, he went on to study Computer Science at university in Sheffield.
"Memes of Loss and Devotion" is his first collection of Sci-Fi & Horror short stories. A Sci-Fi novel, “The Fomalhaut Plague" will follow, and shortly after that an adaptation of his future gothic-horror screenplay "glorious".
Since the mid 1990's he has worked in the information technology industry. He is a Chartered Information Technology Professional, a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society and an Incorporated Engineer. He currently works as a Project Manager in the television industry, working on ‘Big Data’ insight initiatives.
He has an interest in popular physics, molecular biology, astro physics, technology and computing. He knows just enough to be able to Google any required information.
Oh, and he also went through a phase of only reading Stephen Baxter.
A spectacular selection of speculative/ sci-fi short stories that will intrigue and fascinate!
This anthology of short science fiction/ futuristic stories is simply brilliant, especially if you are a reader and lover of this genre. The author presents a totally plausible, credible setting that at times can be just a little unsettling. Highly readable and thought provoking these darkly sinister, scintillating stories are full of originality and striking creative imagery. Each individual story captures the essence of humanity through loss, hope and despair that capture your imagination and take you on a poignant, emotional inner journey of self-discovery and reflection. These stories contain such inner meaning and significant connotation, as well as substance that they literally blew me away. Having read ‘Memes of loss and devotion’ my outlook upon life and observations on humanity (as a fairly intelligent species) has somewhat altered, as the workings of the human mind ~ its complexity and its fickleness is truly fascinating. These stories show that even if we were placed within a scenario wherein Aliens, other life forms and advanced technology surrounded us we would still in essence remain the same and act according to our human emotions.
Many questions arose from having read these stories; such as for instance can love survive death? What would happen if man were obsolete? Is a world filled with advanced technology such a good idea?
Exploring our nature and cutting to the core of humanity itself, these stories equally observe the workings of the human heart and the human mind in addition to morality versus science. As a deep thinker and someone who is captivated by other life, scientific exploration and technology, and by literary visions on what the future may hold this was an absorbing, addictive read.
I would highly recommend ‘Memes of loss and devotion’ to all who seek an illuminating, provocative study of humanity versus extraterrestrial life.
*I won a copy of Memes of loss and devotion by Darren White through a Goodreads, first-read giveaway*
Memes of Loss and Devotion by Darren White is a collection of 15 short stories and an excerpt from his upcoming book. All of the stories are primarily science fiction/speculative fiction, although a couple also venture toward horror. White manages to infuse his stories with some timeless themes that explore the human condition and pack an immediate visceral reaction. White does an exceptional job of capturing the emotion or condition he wants to explore in the short story format, which is a notable accomplishment.
White also faces clearly the struggle we have or soon will have with technology integrating into our very bodies, begging the question: Will future technology change what it means to be human or does humanity remain the same even when augmented?
I really enjoyed the majority of the short stories included in this collection (with a few exceptions). All in all I would highly recommend it for those interested in science fiction short story collections. Please note that the Amazon Kindle price is only 2.99 as of this review date, so it's a great bargain too.
Contents: Hope: "In the far future, a man returns to his former home to retrieve the woman he loves." Seduction Games: "A supposedly random encounter in a hotel leads to romance, but is there more going on here than there first seems?" Soul Destroying: "A ghost story of a love returning from the grave." Ethnomethodology: "A little girl discusses colonization morals with an elderly alien, whose planet we now share." Sub Rosa: A young girl’s visions of angels coincide with her parent’s separation."" Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud: "A lone crew member on a stranded star ship longs for rescue. When he spots another ship he believes that against all hope his dreams have come true." Connections: "An ordinary life lived against a backdrop of a sinister spate of murders…" All In The Mind: "A futuristic private investigator is hired to uncover the truth behind a team of researchers who have failed to produce a working faster than light space ship drive". Spoilt for Choice: "A man with a tragic past hides a dark secret life." Participant Observation: "A man struggles to come to terms with overwhelming loss. He’s not helped by the unsettling dreams that eventually protrude into his reality." Life Chances: "For a brave, hardy colonist, there’s a less than ideal outcome to a ‘suspended animation’ voyage to a distant star." False Positive: "Following the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend and her new love, the prime suspect produces the perfect alibi." Ourselves Alone: "A twin, or is she a triplet, comes to terms with a seething sibling rivalry that threatens everything and everyone." 22T: "A scientist has been taken hostage by a man determined to halt her research into human reproduction without the need for men." Death Ship: "A one man killing machine protects the woman he loves from a hoard of aliens on board a giant star ship bound for the stars. Or does he?" Plus an excerpt from the book The Fomalhaut Plague due to be released in 2014 which was based off his short story "Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud" which is included in this collection.
Note: I received a free copy of Memes of Loss and Devotion in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing a short story anthology as a debut novel is a courageous decision. Somehow, reading a collection of short stories feels as though it requires additional effort from me, the reader. I’m in each one for a shorter amount of time, but because there are more stories, it feels like the book wants more from me. Yet in this book, every story is as strong as the next and none were included “just because.”
What I loved most is the voice. The title, Memes of Loss and Devotion, evokes a feeling that carries throughout. Each story is told in a breathy, haunting way. Each story made me feel. Each story made me consider something I had never considered before.
I had an issue with the grammar, which seems to deteriorate as the book progresses. Most of the time, the syntax issues didn’t bother me as much as usual--which is saying something for Mr. White’s storytelling ability, since I’m such a stickler for details--however, I got lost sometimes. Some of that was wacky dialogue tags, and some of it was the way the story was written. At times it got too ephemeral for me, and I wasn’t sure who we were focused on or what was going on.
I had a love-hate relationship with the way the stories ended. Almost every one finished too soon. I wanted more: More explanation, more story, more grounding. Yet every story ended at the right place for what Mr. White wants the reader to experience. He doesn’t give answers. He gives only questions.
If you enjoy the moral and spiritual implications of science fiction, I would recommend this book. If it had been professionally edited, I would likely have given it a 4 or even a 4.5, but I found the errors too distracting to fully get behind the book.
Each story gives you something to chew on long after you close the pages. I’m still sitting on the hill with that little girl and the elder alien, considering what it must be like for a primitive race whose wildest imaginings were made laughable by the arrival of space farers. And that’s exactly what good science fiction should do.
I was given a copy of this book in return for my review.
Inside is a collection of short stories and I must admit I really didn't like the first one. It was very slow going and full of purple prose. I put the book down only a few percent in and then had to come back to it, which is a real shame because the later stories are much less over the top in terms of description.
While a lot of the stories feature around romantic devotion they are also pretty much all of a sci-fi sort of nature, apart from a couple that were more horror based and that felt out of place to me. There was one with what seemed to be a serial killer in it that seemed a lot like it didn't belong in the collection at all.
A few of the stories I thought were very good, mostly the more heavily sci-fi ones that had a bit more plot to them and a little less waffle about strange things happening. I don't want to plot spoil so I can't really say which bits were overdescribed but often the more supernatural or strange stuff was described far too much.
All in all a bit of a mixed bag. I'd skip the first story or two and get into the third one and read from there.
I enjoyed this collection of short stories hugely and looked forward to sitting down to finish the current one or get stuck into a new one. I'm a fan of sci-fi and I thought the stories had just the right balance of hard sci-fi details, intriguing plot lines and believable characterisation. These aren't run of the mill stories and pose genuinely interesting and thoughtful questions about our present and future in a well written and engaging fashion.
I'm sad I've finished it now but I might reread my favourites in the not too distant future. Looks like this is the author's first book but I hope it won't be his last.
While the first story was not my favourite, as this new author finds his voice the stories get more and more interesting. Some rely on the twist and wordplay while others are the classic form of a unique circumstance played to the last moment. You find you want to read all of it just to see what tale you are going to be told next.
The book does not overstay its welcome and if one story is not to your taste you can still be assured it will at least never be less than interesting and the story to follow will be completely different. This is not a book ties to one style or form.
An easy book to recommend. An eclectic mix of stories that will keep you entertained throughout.
An interesting selection of short stories which deal with regular feelings and emotions but presented in sci-fi settings. He presents a future that feels plausible and just a little unsettling. Thought provoking and readable, sometimes dark but not without humour, I look forward to his long form work.
These stories might be great but the collection was poorly edited. Maybe just the Kindle version, or maybe differences between British and American English, but whatever it was I couldn't get through the book. I don't fault the author; there's some good stuff in here. It's the editor's job to keep the author out of trouble. Poorly edited. 2.5 stars.