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Cyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow

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Cybernetics. Neuroscience. Nanotechnology. Genetic engineering. Hacktivism. Transhumanism. The world of tomorrow is already here, and the technological changes we all face have inspired a new wave of stories to address our fears, hopes, dreams, and desires as Homo sapiens evolve—or not—into their next incarnation. Cyber World presents diverse tales of humanity’s tomorrow, as told by some of today’s most gripping science fiction visionaries.

250 pages, Paperback

First published November 8, 2016

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About the author

Jason Heller

36 books59 followers
I'm a Denver-based writer who contributes regularly to The A.V. Club and Alternative Press. Quirk Books will publish my debut novel, Taft 2012, as well as a series of middle-grade horror books (to be announced). I'm also the nonfiction editor of Clarkesworld Magazine and am represented by Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,016 followers
February 10, 2017
Like most anthologies, it's a mixed bag. But though I liked some selections more than others, it does include two pieces I'll probably nominate for Hugos, and one that I definitely would've if it were eligible (it's a reprint.)

*** SERENADE - Isabel Yap
A young hacker is hired to decrypt a future-USB-drive for a client. The attempt to get the job done leads to a rather-sentimental musing on the deaths of loved ones and grief, contrasting the hacker's expected loss, and the client's past loss.

*** THE MIGHTY PHIN - Nisi Shawl
Prisoners en route to a distant destination are held in the matrix of a ship, overseen by the AI. But, far from Earth, not everything is going according to regulations, and things are getting strange. The story really does a great job evoking a situation filled with both great potential and great terror - but I wished there was a bit more to it. I wished that the characters were a bit more fully developed, and that the plot had more resolution: it just about finishes setting up the situation before ending abruptly.

*** REACTIONS - Mario Acevedo
Some things haven't changed, in this future. Some things have: soldiers battle remotely, controlling drones, enabled by new drugs. But the government still takes advantage of its soldiers, callously uncaring about the side effects. Veterans are still shamefully neglected. This is a glimpse into one soldier's life. The scenario is extremely well drawn, I thought the plot could've used a bit more work.

***** THE BEES OF KIRIBATI - Warren Hammond
Perhaps particularly because I recently read another story dealing with very similar themes that I didn't think was successful; this one really worked for me.
A refugee from climate change has managed to land a job as a translator; not that it garners her much respect. She's unprepared for the impact of her latest assignment, translating for a woman accused of murder who happens to be a fellow refugee.
An insightful look into the motivations behind acts of terrorism, without any shying away from its horrors and the fact that there are innocents caught in the crossfire.

Resentful, spoiled teenager goes to therapy, where she works out her resentment by 'killing' her mother in VR. But when she learns that her mother is firing Rosalie, her telepathically connected therapy aide, she freaks out, and matters come to a head.

Sad and touching. A severely disabled teen escapes her horrible 'meatspace' reality by entering VR, where she's a talented hacker. Her friend and assistant in VR is a personality that she believes to be a true AI; and she hopes that he will figure out a way to 'upload' her mind to VR permanently, freeing her from her dying body. But the truth might not be so simple.
I liked this, but there weren't enough clues to back up the 'reveal.'

***** PANIC CITY - Madeline Ashby
Ashby takes two familiar tropes here, and mixes them together to create something quite new - and awful. First, we've got the idea of an underground bunker/city into which people have retreated in the face of disaster, and stayed so long that the technology is wearing down an people are no longer quite sure just what they're hiding from. Then, there's the idea of AI created by humanity, following its programming in order to maintain its directives - and following the letter of the law, not, perhaps, its spirit.
I didn't expect anything happy- but it still got me like a smack in the face. Loved it!

It's well known that sometimes the augment system that soldiers had implanted to receive battlefield directions malfunctions. Many vets talk about how, even though it's been disabled, they still receive spurious orders, ads, or other 'voices' in their heads. Usually, they learn to disregard these, and live with it - as they have to live with other PTSD symptoms. Ali's been under a lot of stress, watching his true love dying of a horrible ailment. When he starts hearing his 'prompt' going off in his head, telling him that she will live if only he follows directions, it's a temptation he can't refuse.
Beautifully written and cleverly structured, but the religious facet of this didn't appeal to me.

I've read a few of Alyssa Wong's short stories now, and I don't think there's been one that's been a 'miss' yet! This one is another hit... and it's about a hit. A young assassin is sent to kill her boss' rival - a long shot in a vicious criminal underworld. She doesn't expect to survive the night. The way things work out is unexpected - but makes a terrible kind of sense, once you think about it.

*** STAUNCH - Paul Graham Raven
Aims for the slick, pop-culture hipness of Stephenson's 'Snow Crash' et al., but doesn't quite hit the mark. The leader of a group of cyberpunky rebels has gathered her group of misfits together by telling them tales of her past as some kind of heroic roller derby queen-slash-medical professional (?), but when she needs to take her crew on a dangerous mission across the borders of a future, divided England, so that a colleague can save a life, the truth comes out...
I actually really liked the bit that fuels the tale: the issue of software license expiry, obsolete programs, and what might happen if copyrights are applied to technologies that people's lives depend on - but I thought the plot could've been stronger.

** OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS - Chinelo Onwualu
A telepath meets an attractive individual; they fall into a romantic relationship, open up to one another, and have some mind-blowing sex. Nice for them, but not the stuff of thrilling fiction.

** WYSIOMG - Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
The style this is written in is (intentionally) reminiscent of reading a blog post written by a really stupid (possibly brain-damaged) person on the Internet. The story repeatedly refers to various items that went viral on the Internet as well, like this one: http://www.inquisitr.com/2064903/body.... The overall effect was very unappealing to me; and I didn't really see what it was trying to get at, if anything.

Overly sentimental and message-y for me. A politician backtracks on her unethical goal to back a bill having to do with the treatment of defective AI robots in order to pursue a more effective, moral plan. But still, the skeleton in her closet (the reader knows from the beginning) is her treatment of her own daughter.

** A SONG TRANSMUTED - Sarah Pinsker
A near-future musician has the idea of using electronic implants to make her own body into an instrument. He skeevy roommate tries to rip her off, but that just spurs her to be more innovative. I didn't find the idea a groundbreaking as I felt like the author wanted me to - as a matter of fact, I felt like it almost undercut the story's other message, about how in-person collaboration is superior to long-distance/internet partnerships.

* IT’S ONLY WORDS - Keith Ferrell
One might expect a cyber-themed anthology to contain cautionary tales of the danger of technology. This isn't that. It's a straight-up paean to "doing things the old-fashioned way." However, it fails to make a convincing case as to WHY being a Luddite is better. The character's main reason is that he's doing it for his dying mother, because that's what she would've wanted. That's no kind of logical justification at all. In order to bolster the argument, the author makes the "modern" classmates and teachers of the protagonist cruel bullies - but they feel like propped-up strawmen. I wouldn't have been impossible to convince - I like stories that empathize with outsiders - but this one failed.

***** SMALL OFFERINGS - Paolo Bacigalupi
Can't say I *liked* this story. It's disgusting, horrific, and truly terrible. It's also powerful and all-too-likely prophetic. It warns of the heart-wrenching lengths that mothers of the future may have to go to, to bear a child into an increasingly polluted and poisoned world.

** DARKOUT - E. Lily Yu
A new take on 'Brave New World''s surveillance state. Here, the cameras are mandatory - but they're also "egalitarian." Anyone can observe anyone else. The viewing trends follow those that we see on the Internet and webcams today: cute animals, sex, celebrities, scandal... Our window into this future comes via a pathetic guy obsessed with his ex-girlfriend and his bigoted bro, as they watch the ball game...
The premise sets us up to expect something dramatic to happen when the cameras go out (the "darkout") but then, nothing does.

** VISIBLE DAMAGE - Stephen Graham Jones
No objections to this one; it just didn't really capture me. A hacker dreams of discovering an emergent AI.

This one joins the "Last Man on Earth" genre. While working on an ecological project in Africa, far-flung reforestation plantings take a man on a circuit far from his family. When he can't get any cell reception to call his wife, the first reaction is, naturally annoyance. But as time goes on and nothing seems to be functioning, worry sets in - then panic. The setup and characterization was very strong, but the conclusion wasn't as powerful, for me.

** HOW NOTHING HAPPENS - Darin Bradley
Experimental metafiction starting from the idea that all times are actually contemporaneous. Eh, I've seen more interesting extrapolations from the idea.

Many thanks to Hex and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.
Profile Image for RJ.
Author 5 books59 followers
August 2, 2021
Read this for cyberpunk month on #bookclub4m. A lot of the stories in here were too dark for my tastes but still contained good writing and interesting concepts. No regrets about reading it. I appreciated the diversity of voices assembled. But, as I said on the podcast, go in with a disclaimer that there is some dodgy content around gender and disability in here.

Favourite stories: "Serenade" by Isabel Yap, "Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown" by Alyssa Wong. Both hit on some classic cyberpunk scenarios (scrappy hackers hired for a near-impossible job and an action-packed assassination attempt gone wrong, respectively) but make them feel fresh and inviting, and both ended on a somewhat hopeful (or at least touching) note.
Least favourite: The story about an empath is the most egregious vis-a-vis gender, and also just incredibly emotionally draining to read. Shook me up for the afternoon after reading. Bacigalupi's story is narratively interesting and the reveal is delivered with finesse, but boy I do not think he thought through the implications of his portrayal of disability. But the one that was just "No wifi, put down your phones, talk to each other" fleshed out into a short story is BY FAR the worst. Skip it and read Feed by MT Anderson instead. Same concept but with things like character development, a plot, and a critical lens beyond "addiciton to technology is an individual moral failing and aren't I so smart and pure for not using it like all of these strawmen". Ugh.
Profile Image for Faith.
777 reviews8 followers
February 8, 2017
Overall Impressions

I don't "get" cyberpunk. This much is clear, because way too many of the stories in this anthology left me confused and frustrated. One after another after another, I got to the end and thought "what the hell just happened?". And not in a good way.

That said, there were a couple of standout stories that I did enjoy very much. And the presentation of the book was nice -- pretty cover and nice interior art to match each story.

Anthologies are always a mixed bag, but this bag had more misses than hits for me. Ah well. I guess I'll stick to more familiar genres.

Serenade, Isabel Yap 3 stars
This was fine but didn't do much for me.

The Mighty Phin, Nisi Shawl 3 stars
An interesting set up but difficult to follow and then abruptly cut off.

Reactions, Mario Acevedo 3 stars
I liked the concept, and the compelling voice, but where's the plot?

The Bees of Kiribati, Warren Hammond 5 stars
Finally! Hooked from the start. Great concept, characters that feel well-rounded even in a short story, prescient (there's a backstory of ecological catastrophe), and a gut-punch ending.

The Rest Between Two Notes, Cat Rambo 3.5 stars
All right. Again, an interesting set up (It's got a great opening hook) that sorta fizzles out toward the end.

The Singularity Is in Your Hair, Matthew Kressel 3.5 stars
Another one that drew me in with its vivid set up and intriguing main character and then just sort of...stopped. Plus the plot twist didn't feel well supported.

Panic City, Madeline Ashby 5 stars
Unique, well written, dark. I liked that it was written from the POV of the city.

The Faithful Soldier, Unprompted, Saladin Ahmed 3.5 stars
An intriguing setting but something about this story just didn't do it for me. I'm not entirely sure what it was, but considering I bounced off Ahmed's full length novel too it may just be that his writing and my preferences are incompatible.

Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown, Alyssa Wong 4 stars
This is great. Visceral and engaging. Only reason it's not 5 stars is because I honestly don't understand Misao's motivation for her actions; I don't know if I'm just oblivious but it didn't make sense to me.

Staunch, Paul Graham Raven 4 stars
I actually really liked this one. Very cool concept/setting. I didn't find the climax very impactful because I didn't see why it mattered that Elise had made up the story of the Surgicals, but it was still pretty good.

Other People's Thoughts, Chinelo Onwualu 2.5 stars
Some pretty writing in service of...nothing, as best as I could tell. Where's the plot? Plus, it didn't seem to really engage with the "cyberpunk" idea at all -- the gene splicing mentioned is really only used as a convenient explanation for telepathy. But that's just cyber-ish set dressing, not cyberpunk.

wysiomg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro 1 star
I couldn't even read this, the style was illegible and unpleasant.

We Will Take Care of Our Own, Angie Hodapp 2 stars
Moralizing and not particularly well written. Fine, but not more than fine.

A Song Transmuted, Sarah Pinsker 3 stars
Less speculative than some of the other stories. I would have liked it to push the envelope a bit more. Plus the themes were a bit mixed-message.

It's Only Words, Keith Ferrell 2 stars
I was already thinking this story was very "Old Man Yells at Cloud" and then I saw that Sem had dedicated his project in part to Thoreau. I mean I liked Walden when I read it, but the way it's used here...and the title of the project...I don't know, it just comes across as too smug.

Small Offerings, Paolo Bacigalupi 5 stars
Oof. Gross and brutal, but powerful.

Darkout, E. Lily Yu 2 stars
Another story full of set up with no payoff. There's a blackout and he goes to get bagels? Really? That's how this ends? Also the characters are unpleasant.

Visible Damage, Stephen Graham Jones 2 stars
Okay I'm dumb because I actually don't understand what happened in this story at all.

The Ibex on the Day of Extinction, Minister Faust 2 stars
I hate sentence fragments so this writing style didn't quite do it for me. The story itself was bizarre and the conclusion unsatisfying and I'm starting to think that I just don't "get" cyberpunk.

How Nothing Happens, Darin Bradley 1 star
Literally what

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a review copy
Profile Image for Cherry London.
Author 1 book79 followers
April 8, 2017
Cyber world is a book of short stories, with a few having complex and puzzling identities which gives the book an out of this world experience. These tales are by far some of the most unusual ones I have ever read, it is not your typical run of the mill sci-fi book. No siree, it’s almost like the book is entwined with a robotic presence, which confuses the hell out of me at times. But between all these meshed wires there is a gleam of knowledge, a spark if you will, in it’s nugget, making it an interesting and compelling read, depending on which story you are reading at the time.
Profile Image for Maryam.
495 reviews27 followers
November 7, 2016
Review originally published on The Curious SFF Reader


Overall Review

I have interested by this anthology for a while, I don’t read a lot of cyberpunk but I like reading this genre and I was curious to encounter some new authors I would like. Also, the fact that both Alyssa Wong and Paolo Bacigalupi contributed to this anthology was a bonus for me.

Overall, it was a strong anthologies, as always with those types of books they were hits and misses, I DNF’d a couple of stories that didn’t work for me (mostly because they confused me too much) but other stories such as Reactions by Mario Acevado, The Bees of Kiribati by Warren Hammond, Panic City by Madeleine Ashby, Your Bones Will be Unknown by Alyssa Wong, Other People’s Thoughts by Chinelo Onwualu, A Song Transmuted by Sarah Pinske, It’s Only Words by Keith Ferrell and Small Offerings by Paolo Bacigalupi were extremely good.

All the stories were short and very different from one another which was great because I never felt bored. I flew through this collection in two days and I liked the broad selection of themes it tried to tackle. Some of the most recurring themes were family, pregnancy, gender and gender fluidity, information and body’s transformation.

I would absolutely recommend this anthology even if you’re not a fan of cyperpunk or short fiction because I tryuly believe thatCyber World: Tale of Humanity’s Tomorrow contains something for everyone!

Story by Story Review

Serenade – Isabel Yap ★★★1/2

This story follows Anj, a young techgirl who has to access certain files that may be very important for one of her clients. In this future, most of the files are protected by Ais which means that you have to “confront” them to access the info contained in an AI-USB. This story wasn’t particularly unique but it was pretty bittersweet which I liked and it was dealing with issues such as grief, letting go and growing up that are always interesting to read about

First sentence: “Anj was in the shop late at night on Thursday when the new client walked in.”

The Mighty Phin – Nisi Shawl ★★

This story was previously published on the Tor.com website so this was a reread for me. I didn’t like it as much after rereading it because even though, it is fairly unique, it’s hard to understand. It follows Timofeya Phin, a woman who has been uploaded into an AI. We soon learn that the AI is losing some of the files and while it tries to hides it, weird things start happening in Timofeya’s life. I guess that it was mostly about loveand gender fluidity but it was pretty confusing. It was very hard to relate to the characters, I really couldn’t care less about them. I don’t really like Shawl’s short fiction which is why I’m pretty hesitant about reading her debut-novel Everfair that came out this year…

First paragraph: “Timofeya Phin glared at her bare brown hands. They were hers, all right. They looked the same as the orginals. Unlike her feet.”

Reactions – Mario Acevado ★★★★★

One of my favorite story in this anthology, this story follows the aftermath of war on a young soldier. It deals with PTSD, grief and love. It was very powerful and I really like the voice of the main character. I will be looking out for more of Acevado’s works!

First sentence: “”

The Bees of Kiribati – Warren Hammond ★★★★1/2

Another really good one, it was pretty creepy and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I don’t want to say too much about this one but I don’t think I ever read a story about surrogate mothers and refugees as powerful as this one. The ending was really impressive!

First sentence: “I spotted Detective Inspector Keo at the end of the corridor, his back against the wall, smoke snaking from the cigarette lodged between his fingertips.”

The Rest Between Two Notes – Cat Rambo ★★1/2

This story was very promising at the beginning and as much as it had interesting themes (dealing with an oppresive family, being different etc..) it felt a little flat toward the end. it didn’t really had a plot except the fact that the main character hates her mother and it was pretty meh overall.

First sentence: “I kill my mother.”

The Singularity is in Your Hair – Mathew Kressel ★★★

This one was a weird one, most of the story is set in a virtual reality where our main character works for an AI who promises to upload her on a server when she dies and in exchange, she has to program all kind of things. In “real life”, the main character is suffering from Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystophy which means that she can’t leave her wheelchair and that she only has a few years left to live. With an premise like that, I really expected to story to make more of an impact on me and, sadly, it didn’t…

First sentence: “When the door opens, the brown-skinned mailman stands smiling on the stoop in his rolled-up baby-blue short-sleeve shirt, top buttons opens, his chest hair exposed.”

Panic City – Madeleine Ashby ★★★★1/2

This is one is pretty unique since the main PoV of the story is… a city. And this city doesn’t want anybody to go in… or out.

First sentence: “Devoured by the blades of Fan Six, high above the Service Sector quadrant of the city and suspended over her many rings, something went still and cold.”

The Faithful Soldier, prompted – Saladin Ahmed ★★★1/2

This story is about a soldier who wants to find a cure for his wife illness, since leaving the army, he still receives prompted with instructions and some of them may be the key of his wife illness. I think that the concept could have been pushed farther but it was interesting and different from the overall tone of the anthology.

First sentence: “If I die on this piece-of-shit road, Lubna’s chances die with me.”

Your Bones Will be Unknown – Alyssa Wong ★★★★1/2

One of the main reason I was intrigued by this anthology was that it contained an Alyssa Wong story. Following a young assassin infiltrating a crime lords meeting, the story was pretty intense.. and gory. I mean we are talking Alyssa Wong here. As usual with this lady, the story is gripping and well-written.

First sentence: “I stuck close to the wall and let my corneal camera watch the action for me.”

Staunch – Paul Graham Raven – DNF

Sadly, this was a DNF for me, I was very confused while reading and I couldn’t get what was going on so I decided to drop it.

First Sentence: “The Hackney Kid’s kidneys go into shutdown on our way out Gunchester.”

Other People’s Thoughts – Chinelo Onwualu ★★★★★

This story doesn’t really has a plot but I really liked it, it follows a girl who was designed by her mother to feel other people’s thoughts and feelings and her relationship with a mysterious customer. I really liked the writings and the ideas and since I never heard of Onwualu before, I’m glad that I discovered her voice!

First sentence: “Zayin walked into my shop on the morning of my twenty-ninth birthday.”

wysiomg – Alvaro Zinos-Amaro – DNF

Another DNF, I might be dumb but this one made no sense to me whatsoever, I think that I only read three pages and then I was “Maryam’s out”! I don’t know if I should try this story again in the future but I’m in to rush to.

First sentence: “Bartolomeu used to puppeter ants and then he went to singU and now he builds furniture out of bugs but a few things happened in between”.

We Will Take care of Our Own – Angie Hodapp ★★★★

Political SF’s story are pretty rare because I’m pretty sure that they’re hard to do well (build a logic political world, adversaries and all for a short story might be a bit of a pain) but We Will Take Care of Our Own was fascinating. It reminded me a bit of Infomocracy and Minority Report and it was dealing with really complex themes like artificial intelligence and conciousness with a refreshing simplicity.

First Sentence:”Senator Tia Isandro stepped out of the Lincoln’s back seat.”

A Song Transmuted – Sarah Pinske ★★★★★

A cyperpunk story dealing with music? Oh yes. This was very well done, I am usually a big fan of stories with music eements in them and this one did it wonderfully well! It follows a young girl who loves playing music and her journey to make her body a music instrument. Really good.

First paragraph: “I was a fussy baby. The only thing that quited me was my great-grandfather’s piano. My parents placed my bassinet directly on the piano, with noise-cancelling headphones to keep from damaging my ears. His chords came up through the instrument, up through my bones.”That child is full of music, I’m telling you,” he told anyone who listened.”

It’s Only Words – Keith Ferrell ★★★★★

Another great one, it follows the idea that in a near future, everyone is going to be linked “tapped” to Internet thanks to an implant. Our main protagonist, Sem, isn’t and we follow him as he’s writing a school assignment explainign why he doesn’t want to have this implant.

First Sentence: “Eventually Sem began keyboarding.”

Small Offerings – Paolo Bacigalupi ★★★★★

I previously mentionned that one of the reason I was interested by this anthology was the Wong story, Bacigalupi is another. I only read one of his short stories before City of Ash but I loved The Water Knife and I was excited to give his short works another try. Small Offerings reached and surpassed my expectations quite a bit, i’s depresssing as hell and if reading about horrible pregnancy and dead babies is something that you can’t stand, well do not read this. I personally found it fascinating and creepy but extremely well done.

First Sentence:”Readouts glow blue on driplines where they burrow into Maya Ong’s spine.”

Darkout – E. Lily Yu ★★★1/2

Set in a society where everyone can observe other people’s life, it’s not suprising that, our “hero” Brandon isan unreliable self-centered douche bag. However, as much as I didn’t like Brandon, I like Yu’s commentary on what may be the future of our society.

First Sentence: “In all of Northchester, Pennsylvania there was hardly forty square feet that was not continuously exposed to public view, on glass walls if you had money or on tablets if you were poor.”

Visible Damage – Stephen Graham Jones ★★

I was a bit confused by this one but it has similarities with the first story of this collection, Serenade, because the main character is kind of fighting against an AI. I can’t say much more about this one.

First Sentence: “If it were 2028 or something Dark Ages like that, what Mark had just asked for after casing the place, it would-no, it still wouldn’t make sense.”

The Ibex on the Day of Extinction – Minister Faust ★★★

This story follows the aftermath of a regional evacuation. Because of his work, our main character had not way to know that his family was evacuated and he tries to find them, wandering Niger. I liked this story when I read it but I have to admit that it was pretty forgettable in the sense that I had to reread a large portion of it to write this tiny synopsis…

First Sentence: “Kam Manjiri checked his satellite phone for the fifth time that morning.”

How Nothing Happens – Darin Bradley ★

I remember finishing this story and rereading the last paragraph to see if I missed something. It follows a main character that takes notes but who may have come from the future.. Maybe ?

First Sentence: “It’s strange to listen in, knowing at once nothing and everything about the discussion.”

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exhange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Adam.
68 reviews9 followers
November 2, 2016
Speculative fiction has come a long way since the long nights spent at the Chatsubo. The torrents of neon reflected rain drops, once painting the megaplex streets like technicolor oil paint, have ceased. Noir is nostalgia. Adapting to the times, the punk of tomorrow has become a dark reflection of our present. Cyber World: Tales of Humanity's Tomorrow embraces this and emphasizes the need for the genre to be malleable, technically, socially, and environmentally in-tune with the modern world.d

In the spirit of old school sci-fi, Joshua Viola and Jason Heller present us with the latest views from the edge. The anthology features 20 diverse stories from the genre's leading writings. It satisfies our desire for the hacker runs of yesterday and the singularity-centric glimpses of the near future. There are stories include VR rigs, feedback loops, AI sentience, robotics, the future of medicine, and more. Cyber World is dark, gritty, and rooted in real-world concerns.

List of Fiction

Serenade - Isabel Yap
The Mighty Phin - Nisi Shawl
Reactions - Mario Acevedo
The Bees of Kiribati - Warren Hammond
The Rest Between Two Notes - Cat Rambo
The Singularity Is in Your Hair - Matthew Kressel
Panic City - Madeline Ashby
The Faithful Soldier - Saladin Ahmed
Your Bones Will Not Be Uknown - Alyssa Wong
Staunch - Paul Graham Raven
Other People's Thoughts - Chinelo Onwaulu
wysiomg - Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
We Will Take Care of Our Own - Angie Hodapp
A Song Transmuted - Sarah Pinsker
It's Only Words - Keith Ferrell
Small Offerings - Paolo Bacigalupi
Darkout - E. Lily Yu
Visible Damage - Stephen Graham Jones
The Ibex on the Day of Extinction - Minister Faust
How Nothing Happens - Darin Bradley
Having your fantasies become reality is always better than living in reality and wishing you were somewhere else. - The Singularity is in Your Hair, Matthew Kressel

Select Stories & Summaries

Visible Damage (Stephen Graham Jones) - In the far future, where life is seamlessly integrated with technology, a hacker-artist named Raz is commissioned to capture an ASCII-graph image of an artificial intelligence. Some simple B & E, a little art, what could possibly go wrong? A cyberpunk story set in a post-singularity world, Visible Damage is well written and frightening. It explores the nature of humanity and hubris Black Mirror-style.

The Singularity Is in Your Hair (Matthew Kressel) - A severely crippled 16-year-old freelance coder teams up with an AI in the virtual world to create premium synesthetic experiences. Kressel uses real technology such as hackable exploits and public key cryptography to craft a VR world with real brand names and is highly relatable. A powerful story that deals with technology's deeper value and our rush to have it.

The Ibex on the Day of Extinction (Minister Faust) - A Kenyan-Canadian eco-tech developer is working to create a sustainable ecology in a war-ravaged Niger when something terrifying happens. Like many stories in the anthology, it features an interesting multicultural setting. It also explores the relationship between mankind and progress.

Darkout (E. Lily Yu) - This story explores the role of social media and an all-pervasive surveillance system sweeping across a near-futuristic world. Held hostage by hackers, the governments of the world decree that everyone can watch everything 24/7. What does it mean for privacy issues and society as a whole? Check out one man's perspective in this creepy short.

Serenade (Isabel Yap) - A post-cyberpunk tale of two hackers hired to extract data from an encrypted USB stick. The information they find may be more than the client asked for. There's plenty of multicultural aspects that are reminiscent of old school cyberpunk. The story is about accepting the real world in a digital age.

The Rest Between Two Notes (Cat Rambo) - In a near-apocalyptic New York, a girl exercises her inner demons in the safety of VR. But safety is overrated and, put bluntly, sometimes hitting things in the head is justifiable. Dark and powerful writing. Every kid in America should read this for a cathartic release.

Small Offerings (Paolo Bacigalupi) - In a futuristic world ridden with disease and despair, birthing becomes nearly impossible. Small Offerings tells the story of one researcher's strong desire to overcome this obstacle while dealing with the chaotic world around her. The controversial subject matter makes this unique and original.

We Will Take Care of Our Own (Angie Hodapp) - It's election year and the Senator Tia Isandro is ready to discuss new robot-care legislation. Unfortunately, she's in Elevated Reasoning International's pocket. When society creates the most important innovation since the toaster oven, the moral obligation to maintain the defective creations is called into question.

Other great stories include the innovative A Song Transmuted by Sarah Pinsker, the action packed Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown by Alyssa Wong, and Paul Graham Raven's tale of running in the shadows, Staunch. The cutting edge and diverse nature its stories help Cyber World do for modern sci-fi what Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling did three decades ago.

In short, I haven't had this much fun since the last time I was cruising down the spindle with a good rasta dub playing in the background. Or maybe it was that time I ate falafel in the Budayeen? (Ugh, that was a long night.) Anyway, be sure to pick it up or check the bundles for a dedicated soundtrack, t-shirt, and poster. 5/5

(This book was received from Hex Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Trailer for Cyber World incl. merch (and that amazing art & music. :O )
Profile Image for Donald Armfield.
Author 66 books154 followers
January 13, 2020
This is my first cyberpunk experience, that I know of. With a handful of authors, Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow tosses a yawn into the deepest parts of the universe. Although there was of course a few stories that kicked the stars around with sharp prose and showed their science fiction with no wires attached.

The Bees of Kiribati - Warren Hammond
The Singularity Is In Your Hair - Matthew Kressel
Other People’s Thoughts - Chinelo Onwualu
Wysiomg - Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Small Offerings - Paolo Bacigalupi
Profile Image for Zaz.
1,559 reviews56 followers
October 30, 2016
It can be challenging in current times to visualize new ideas for a technological future. It seems most was already done by the scifi big names during the past 70 years and all is now left is virtual stuff or space adventures, which is strange in a way as social networks, the web and portable devices changed a lot how people behave or live in rich countries during the past 15 years. The future will probably have lots of crazy ways to use technology in every day life, but they seems too much out of reach for most authors. This anthology showed well this problem, with few really challenging stories or truly unusual ideas. Also, most of the settings were dystopian, which didn't bother me as I like the genre, but a high tech future could use more often a positive tone. Otherwise, the read was overall pleasant with authors who were managing well the difficult short story format and I especially enjoyed the diversity in settings or characters. The use of technology was varied and gave specific tones to each story, which was nice. As expected, some shorts didn't really work for me but I had some good surprises and will check other works by these authors.

eARC provided through Netgalley

Serenade - 2 stars
A quick story about recovering old encrypted data. Easy to read but not thrilling.

The Mighty Phin - 3 stars
Interesting story with an AI and virtual selves. The author played with genders and love relationships, I wasn't sold on both of them, but they were unusual.

Reactions - 3.5 stars
No risks taken for this military short but it worked well and it was easy to picture the new technology and its effects.

The Bees of Kiribati, by Warren Hammond - 5 stars
Good story, with a touch of mystery and social issues. It kept me very interested all along and the way the technology was used was good.

The Rest Between 2 Notes - 3.5 stars
Nicely told and a bit depressing. It was light on technology, so I didn't really feel the cyperpunk vibe.

The Singularity Is in Your Hair - 4 stars
A little disturbing but an interesting take on virtual reality. I really enjoyed the pseudonyms.

Panic City, by Madeline Ashby - 5 stars
Great dystopian short story, with an unusual point of view. I totally enjoyed the ride and I'm looking forward to something else by the author.

The Faithful Soldier, Prompted - 4 stars
I enjoyed the setting and the story was original. I'm not fond of religion based stuff, so this side was a little too much for my tastes.

Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown - 4 stars
Well paced, disturbing and with some interesting ideas.

Staunch - 2 stars
The story and characters didn't interest me, nor the tech part.

Other People's Thoughts - 4 stars
Pleasant story with genetic engineering and diversity.

wysiomg - 3 stars
The story was weird. Otherwise, I understand that a lack of punctuation can be usefull to convey an atmosphere but it's painful to read.

We Will Take Care of Our Own - 3 stars
Interesting enough world building but the story was too much focused on politics for my tastes.

A Song Transmuted - 3 stars
Nice musical setting, however the cyperpunk side arrived late and didn't feel new or impressive (probably because I read The Fluted Girl which is a favorite).

It's Only Words - 4 stars
Good mysterious atmosphere. The story was easy and pleasant to read.

Small Offerings - 5 stars
I read it in December last year and then moved with pleasure to Pump Six and other stories. This short was interesting, easy to read and it gave a quick but complete look at some characteristics of a (disturbing) future.

Darkout - 4 stars
Creepy dystopia with everybody connected through cameras. It was well done and believable.

Visible Damage - 2 stars
Ok on the cyber side, but the story didn't interest or grab me.

The Ibex on the Day of Extinction, by Minister Faust - 5 stars
Great atmosphere and a lot of tension. I enjoyed the setting and the mysterious side, well conveyed by the main character.

How Nothing Happens - 2 stars
I think I didn't understand everything, so it's more a miss than a hit.
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
March 1, 2017
[I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley.]

A collection of short stories with virtual reality, AI and technology themes in general. Despite the 'cyberpunk' flair, I agree with the curators: it's not so much cyberpunk in its original meaning, as dealing with various ideas that fit our current societies more than the 'old cyberpunk' feeling.

* "Serenade:" 3/5

A hacker decrypting data on an old USB sticks realises that said data is not about future useful information, but memories.

* "The Mighty Phin:" 3/5

In a prison ship controlled by an AI, not everything is as it looks, and truth may be more difficult to stomach than the characters think at first. Bit of an abrupt ending, though, when I think about how it could've been more developed.

* "Reactions:" 3/5

What a drone pilot pumped up on battle drugs goes through when the operation he's on is suddenly cancelled... but not what's still lingering in his organism. I found it interesting, although, like the story before it, I'd have liked some more development (especially regarding the soldier's decision to break his family).

* "The Bees of Kiribati:" 5/5

Chilling because even though this doesn't exist (yet), the principles behind the murders in this story could very well be applied in other ways. It also raises the old but still accurate ethical question: would you kill a few people, even babies, if it meant being able to save many more?

* "The Rest Between Two Notes:" 2/3

Promising theme (a teenager killing her mother repeatedly in virtual reality), but I found the plot too muddled in places. The resolution brought at the end wasn't too clear--I wouldn't mind in a novel, but in short stories it's another matter.

* "The Singularity is In Your Hair:" 5/5

Touching and horrible. A girl suffering from a degenerative disease, who can only experience living through virtual reality, performs jobs and meets people thanks to an AI who may or may not be so benevolent. The promise of one day being fully uploaded to virtual space, and leaving the meat behind instead of facing the prospect of her impending death, keep her going. And she desperately hopes this will come true sooner than later.

* "Panic City:" 5/5

In an underground city that is both a refuge and a prison, people have been living for generations following models and using technology that are gradually failing. When something threatens to break an opening into this 'homeostatic' environment, the AI controlling the city has to make a decision: is their original programming really ideal in this case?

* "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted:" 4/5

A veteran from corporate wars receives prompts on his augmented reality system, even though the war is over. While such defective prompts are known to be useless, and should be discarded, these seem different... and so he follows them, desperate in his hopes that the rewards will save the woman he loves. I liked the writing here--even the prompts sounded poetic.

* "Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown:" 4/5

An assassin is sent to kill a rival boss, knowing full well there are little chances of success here. But what the boss has in mind for them is not necessarily death, and could even actually be a gift.

* "Staunch:" 2/5

A group of kids-hackers-rebels, led by a doctor who used to be part of a legendary team, travel through what's left of the UK to save the life of one of their own. Though the plot itself was a bit weak, I liked the technological problems used in it (replacement organs shutting down if the firmware's outdated or the copyright has changed hands, etc.)—definitely freaky.

* "Other People's Thoughts:" 2/5

About empathy, telepathic powers and gender fluidity. Good themes, and I would've loved actually liking the story, but it was more descriptive than actual plot, and I found it too weak to hold my interest.

* "WISYOMG:" 1/5

Almost skipped that one. The style and character weren't appealing, and I'm still not sure what was the idea. Warning people against body mods and fads? It was hard to follow, so I'm really not sure.

* "We Will Take Care of Our Own:" 2/5

Of corrupt politicians and corporations trying to make money by officially solving problems, and officiously sweeping them under the carpet. Again, good theme, especially since the politician has a skeleton of her own in the closet, but in terms of plot and development, it wasn't strong nor long enough.

* "A Song Transmuted:" 3/5

A young musician comes up with a new concept to be music, rather than simply playing it—spurred by her relationship with her grandfather, his way of encouraging her to meet other people and play music with her, and this in spite of a dishonest colleague stealing her idea. Good, though not groundbreaking.

* "It's Only Words:" 2/5

A sort of neo-Luddite theme, of a boy writing his school project on paper when everybody else is constantly connected to the web and not doing anything in an "analogue" way anymore. I'm not sure where this story was going, though: I felt that something was missing, that the point wasn't strongly made enough at the end, because nothing really changes, and the people targetted may not even have understood what was happening?

* "Small Offerings:" 5/5

Horrific but fascinating. A story about the means that may be necessary, in a future and over-polluted world, for people to carry healthy children to term, by sacrificing others.

* "Darkout:" 2/5

Good build-up to something bigger, in a society where everybody's living under the camera's eye... but the end just fell flat, and nothing really happened.

* "Visible Damage:" 3/5

A hacker goes on the trail of a nascent AI, in the hopes of finding it before everyone else obliterates it. Interesting, but a bit confusing.

* "The Ibex on the Day of Extinction:" 4/5

A man far from his family comes home to find everybody and everything gone—no GPS, no radio, no internet, and only empty clothes left behind.
I kind of suspected what had happened early on. Still, I liked this story. Sometimes all I need is for the conclusion to vindicate what I'm already thinking.

* "How Nothing Happens:" 1/5

Kind of what it says on the tin? I get the basic idea, but the way it was developed didn't grab my attention.
Profile Image for Lucille.
1,029 reviews204 followers
October 27, 2016
Obviously, this book is full of cyberpunk stories but it also is a reimagination of what cyberpunk is and could be. Like it is said in the afternotes, tones of magic realism can also be found there. I liked that the afternotes explained what they were looking to accomplish here and it really showed the pleasure they had in reading those stories themselves and working in this anthology.

The stories are challenging, sometimes emotionnally and sometimes even to understand. There are a lot of abbrevations that are not easy to understand for a a person that is not a native english speaker, thankfully google is my friend!

I love the diversity both in characters, locations, sexuality, genre and social norms.
I also liked the illustrations (done by Aaron Lovett) at the beginning of each stories which added a nice touch and made me wondered what these would mean later.

It’s too bad it is not being released for Halloween because it is very dark and brutal at times. Maybe not what I was expecting but when I was three stories in, I better put myself in the mood to appreciate them better.



SERENADE, by Isabel Yap
I was really hyped about this anthology but was a little bit disappointed with that first one, maybe because of my very hight expectations. But it was a good start nonetheless, a nice slow starting point. That one is about a mysterious USB key, professional Filipino hackers, family ties. It was very humane.

THE MIGHTY PHIN, by Nisi Shawl
A story set in some kind of prison ship in a virtual reality. Phin’s real body was destroyed and her mind was uploaded there so she doubt everything. It was a really nice story about love, with transgender representation, a disabled character (feet deformation) and a really interesting AI.

REACTIONS, by Mario Acevedo
A battle management system, linking human to drones, in a world devastated by a eleven years old war. “A minute ago I was on the other side of the planet,hunting enemy. Now I’m expected to take all that amped-up energy and divert it to house chores.”
So this story deals with the aftereffects of the drugs used to link with the machine. It is quite macabre but in the end it is a story about solidarity and how human interaction is important to survive the hard world we live in.

THE BEES OF KIRIBATI, by Warren Hammond
Kaiko, a translator, is called in to speak to a suspect in a murder case. In this story, people have systems implanted in their brain. “An error message annoyingly vibrated against the back of my skull, a once-a-day warning to upgrade, as if surgery was cheap.”
I thought it was too bad the title actually kinda gave away a big info on what’s going to happen. And the baby farm thing made me very ill at ease.

I really enjoyed Cat Rambo’s collection of short stories (that I reviewed here) so I was very happy when I saw she was in this collection!
The first sentence of that one is “I kill my mother” so uh, right in the mood then!
It’s about the way therapy sessions use a virtual reality but also about the relationships people develop because or thanks to this technology.

What and interesting title!
So far it was the first of the anthology that I really enjoyed mostly because of its originality. A young girl is wheelchair bound, she describes herself as a being like a “vegetable” in the meatworld but she builds amazing virtual realities for people and has an interesting relationship with an AI.

PANIC CITY, by Madeline Ashby
That one was from the point of view of a city! Plus it’s a sassy city who judges people on wether they spit on the street or compost their garbage, behaving like a mother with her many babies. It was the most original and I enjoyed it a lot!

I read Saladin Ahmed’s novel last year and really enjoyed it so I was happy to get to read something else from him, and in a very different genre! I actually came accross this anthology thanks to a retweet he did and I’m very grateful!
In this height story, a veteran goes on a quest to save his dying wife. There are weird messages appearring in his implant and he thinks they are from God. It was very sad but I was captivated.

That story was badass! A young girl assassin is sent by her boss to kill another boss. There were gory parts with eyes but despite that it was really cool.

STAUNCH, by Paul Graham Raven
I was kinda lost by this one unfortunately, there were just too many elements. I got bored but still tried to understand what was going on. It had to do with the medical field and brexit and its concequences are mentionned. But I liked the ending surprisingly. I think I should re-read it one of these days.

This story was set in Lagos and is about an hyper empathic woman. It is a love story, in a world where not only physical alterations are possible but personality traits can also be altered. I liked it, very refreshing.

WYSIOMG, by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
I found this story really weird. I liked that the main character had a very distinctive voice, even if that’s from a stroke that left him with a speech impairment (long sentences with coordinating conjunction like “and” and “but”). This protagonist and his roomates get a very big ant problem and very weird things happen.

This story was interesting and touching but I guessed what was going on super early, I could see the strings of the narrative. It was a story about a senator in a presidential campaign, holding press conferences with her aide, a robot by her side. Coruption, personal tragedy and artificial intelligence.

A SONG TRANSMUTED, by Sarah Pinsker
I really loved the beautiful relationship between a grand-father and his grand-daughter. It was a really beautiful story about music, technology, wanting more and working towards that goal. In this case it has to do with physical enhancement.

IT’S ONLY WORDS, by Keith Ferrell
Everybody is connected to some kind of virtual world or network but Sem isn’t. He is proud of doing things his way, putting time and effort in it. At times I felt like he thought about himself as better than the others, but there was also beauty in his way to liking being different, like his mother.

SMALL OFFERINGS, by Paolo Bacigalupi
People who know me know I get super incomfortable around babies and everything that is about them, mostly the delivery. So this story wasn’t a pleasure to read for me. It was even awful and horrific at times. Plus I don’t know but it also felt weird that such a story would be written by a man. Like I’m so very tired of scifi using women bodies and possibilities to write weird stories. That also goes for some of my fave shows like Star trek, BSG or DW. I mean I understand that it has interesting possibilities but that’s a no no for me, sorry.

DARKOUT, by E. Lily Yu
Everybody’s life is recorded and everybody is a “peripheral home-cam star“, basically a reality TV star. The main character there is sad not to attract much viewer and blame it on the fact he is a white male and he is obsessed with watching his ex’s home-cam. So to say he is unlikable is an understatement. That one really felt like it could be a Black Mirror episode!

VISIBLE DAMAGE, by Stephen Graham Jones
Set in the far future I guess since 2028 is seen as the dark ages and an actual paper book and a pencil are seen as antiques. I struggled to understand what was going on.

Another favourite here! It was perfect for an october read because it was so stressful. It is about a kenyan-canadian eco-tech developer roaming the Nigerian desert in a sand rover, planting trees thanks to terraria and neo-tech divining rods. He leave for his usual few days expedition but his phone doesn’t work. You can sense something isn’t right and something bad is coming. It really kept me at the edge of my seat until the end!

That one was a story about a story, also kind of hard to understand for me, but keep in mind I’m not a native english speaker. I think the fact they put it at the end of the anthology is interesting.

(A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.)

(Originally posted on my blog! https://adragoninspace.wordpress.com/...)
Profile Image for Hobart.
2,311 reviews58 followers
November 9, 2016
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader, Hex Publishers also released a soundtrack to go with this book. If you'd like to read what I thought of it, click here.
Heller insists in his Afterword that this is not a collection of Cyberpunk stories, and who am I to doubt him? Although it feels pretty punk to ignore the Editor/The Man. It sure feels like Cyberpunk -- but I'm also pretty sure that it doesn't matter what I call it, as long as I say that it's good, strong, creative, mind-bending, and occasionally mind-blowing. I can't summarize this anthology better than Hex Publishers did:
Cybernetics. Neuroscience. Nanotechnology. Genetic engineering. Hacktivism. Transhumanism. The world of tomorrow is already here, and the technological changes we all face have inspired a new wave of stories to address our fears, hopes, dreams, and desires as Homo sapiens evolve—or not—into their next incarnation.
Cyber World is a collection of this new wave of cyber-inspired tales, that should appeal to a wide audience. There's part of me that wants to write a paragraph or two on each story -- well, most of them -- but I don't have the time for that, and I can't imagine many of you would read it. So I'll opt for brevity. As I read through this collection, I noticed that my notes had a theme, I'd consistently remark on three aspects of the stories: 1. The Premise/Cyber-Conceit; 2. The Story/Characters; 3. The Language Used/Way of telling the story. Now, this actually sounds like a pretty decent strategy to approaching these, but I'm not clever enough to do that deliberately, apparently. Almost every story here nailed two, if not three, of these aspects.

There was a story that only scored on one front for me, but I'm not going to mention which one, because I know others will strongly disagree with me -- I might even disagree in 6 months -- so I'm not going to focus on it. Even those stories that didn't do much for me, I can absolutely see where others would say that they're a favorite. Usually, when I read a bunch of short stories I don't see where people would have much appreciation for some of them (I mean, I know tastes vary, but sometimes you just don't get why people like stuff). Not here -- tough to ask for more than that. The writing is on point -- lean, terse, quick-moving -- with the occasional appropriate exception. There's something that made me smile about all but one of the stories. The voices are strong and individual -- yet pretty much clearly belong together.

I do want to talk about a few of these -- sorry, no one really wants to read about how I write these things, but I think this says something. I wrote that fragment, and then took one more look at my notes, trying to find 3 or 4 stories to focus on and I came up with four in a row and stopped myself before things go out of hand. Again, this speaks to the strength of this collection. I still wasn't able to restrict myself to 4, though:
Mario Acevedo's "Reactions" is maybe too-brief, but a compelling look at remote warfare drugs and the effects of both of those on the brain/soul. Just enough zag to his pretty obvious zig to make this a keeper.
"The Rest Between Two Notes" by Cat Rambo contains this line:
But this is New York City, and there can be traffic jams or terrorist threats or flash plagues to contend with...
"flash plagues." I love that concept. There's just so much -- probably a novel if someone wanted it, in those two words. The rest of the story was pretty weird and disturbing, and though provoking on its own, but those two words (for me) sealed it as a favorite.
"The Faithful Soldier, Prompted" by Saladin Ahmed reflects the international flavor of this book as well as featuring an odd mishmash of spam emails and religious revelation. Something only Ahmed could probably pull off.
"Staunch" by Paul Graham Raven pushed just about every stylistic button for me -- mix of bio/technical/cyber/genetic fiction, plus political/economic commentary -- and a whole bunch of other stuff -- while telling a tight story.
"Will Take Care of Our Own" by Angie Hodapp is probably the most accessible, closest to mainstream story in this batch. Which doesn't stop it from being a great story about politics, with some interesting commentary on contemporary issues -- just what SF is supposed to be about -- with a good fallible protagonist.
Minister Faust's "The Ibex on the Day of Extinction" felt very different from most of these stories, and I don't know how to talk about it without spoiling the whole thing, but I wanted to focus on how good it was.
"The Singularity Is in Your Hair" by Matthew Kessel -- can I use the word "sweet" about one of these? Probably not, but this tale about VR helping a person with a debilitating disease experience more than many people is very close to it.
"A Song Transmuted" by Sarah Pinsker just blew me away several times.
"It’s Only Words" by Keith Ferrell -- is almost a counter-point to the worlds the rest of these take place in -- a dash of Thoreau to rebut the rest.
"The Bees of Kiribati" by Warren Hammond was just freaking chilling -- a police interrogation to a heinous crime, becomes so much more. I want a book in this world, now. Just without the creepy killer (it can have another creepy killer, I just don't want anything to do with this one again).

Heller (and I read his book Taft 2012 before starting this blog, so you can't read all the nice things I thought about it at the time) and Viola did a bang up job with this collection. They might not love the label cyberpunk (but someone neglected to tell those who wrote blurbs, or the promotional material I read), and perhaps it's not the most accurate -- but if these stories aren't Cyberpunk, they're the result of evolution from Cyberpunk. Cyber World is a direct descendant of Mirrorshades -- a couple of these stories could've easily been included in that collection (but some require more current cultural/technological input).

Don't read too many of these in one sitting, it takes away some of the impact -- but you'll have a hard time stopping once you start. One of the best collection of stories I've read in forever.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for this post and my honest opinion. I thank them for this.
Profile Image for Dee Maselle.
Author 5 books7 followers
April 8, 2017
This anthology was a "mixed bag" in the best way: so many thought-provoking, diverse, imaginative near-future-worlds laid before me in crisp, colorful, textured writing. Cyberpunk is *not* dead: we're living some of the 80s-90s tropes, yes, but you'll be reminded there are technological dreams and nightmares to come. Well worth a read if you like cyberpunk, biopunk, and plausible it *could* happen to you speculative fiction in general. I'll be looking into Warren Hammond's future noir, in particular, and hoping for more of Matthew Kressel's VR possibilities and Angie Hodapp's AI dystopia. Paolo Bacigalupi's offering broke me and made me determined to live better, like strong medicine.
Profile Image for Marcelo Galvão.
Author 24 books12 followers
March 24, 2017
Não sou exatamente fã de coletâneas com muitos contos (são 20 nesta aqui), mas gostei do resultado final, mesmo com umas 3 histórias "experimentais" demais para o meu gosto. Você vai encontrar desde contos que lembram as histórias de William Gibson (o pai do cyberpunk) até outros que poderiam ter saído de uma temporada de "Black Mirror". Altamente recomendado não só para quem gosta de cyberpunk, mas também de uma boa ficção científica (independentemente de rótulos).
Profile Image for Uma    | Books.Bags.Burgers.
259 reviews154 followers
December 3, 2016
( I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)


Cybernetics. Neuroscience. Nanotechnology. Genetic engineering. Hacktivism. Transhumanism. The world of tomorrow is already here, and the technological changes we all face have inspired a new wave of stories to address our fears, hopes, dreams, and desires as Homo sapiens evolve—or not—into their next incarnation. Cyber World presents diverse tales of humanity’s tomorrow, as told by some of today’s most gripping science fiction visionaries.


As a whole, the book was quite interesting but there were some stories that weren't as interesting as the rest. Those stories would have made great novels on their own but I feel did not make a huge impact as a short story. Below are my comments on the stories I liked best.

SERENADE by Isabel Yap (4/5)

The main character Anj is a young techgirl who is approached by a client who wants to access encrypted files from an AI-USB. The story has some very interesting technology and also deals with other concepts like forgotten love and letting go.

REACTIONS by Mario Acevedo (4.5/5)

The main character is a war veteran suffering from the drugs used to connect soldiers to machines for remote warfare. It's a poignant story that reminds one the importance of family and friends and stresses upon human interactions.

THE BEES OF KIRIBATI by Warren Hammond (5/5)

The story is told from the PoV of a translator and deals with surrogacy, baby farms and consequences of war. It was a really disturbing but captivating story that shocked me. The ending wasn't something I was expecting!

PANIC CITY by Madeline Ashby (4.5/5)

It is a really unique story as the protagonist is a city. A city that wants it's inhabitants to never leave and outsiders to never enter. The city is described as being a mother to the inhabitants and hearing the story from the city was really refreshing!


The MC is as assassin who infiltrates a meeting to kill a crime lord. The story features highly interesting technology but we warned, the story has gory and macabre elements. I found the plot to be really good and this story is one of my favorites!

OTHER PEOPLE'S THOUGHTS by Chinelo Onwualu (4/5)

The story is set in the future where not just physical features but also personality traits can be altered. The MC's mother turns her into a hyper empath who can feel emotions and read thoughts to an extent. This was a unique love story and very touching.

A SONG TRANSMUTED by Sarah Pinsker (5/5)

It's a beautiful musical story. The protagonist loves music and has a beautiful relationship with her grandfather (a very endearing man). The story deals with loss, remembrance, creativity and music. The story left me smiling and asking for more.

IT'S ONLY WORDS by Keith Ferrell (5/5)

Sem is a guy who prefers to type on papers in a world that is 'tapped'; everyone is linked to everyone via implants in the brains and this has caused communication as we know it to become obsolete. The story was emotional and proves the weapons we need are not the weapons we see in the world but rather just words.

SMALL OFFERINGS by Paolo Bacigalupi (5/5)

The story is set in a world where there is so much pollution and toxicity that birthing of healthy children is basically a miracle. The story follows a woman torn between her religion and her profession (in the words of another character). The story is frankly highly disturbing but has a unique and interesting concept all the same.


It is an interesting collection of stories that weren't perfect but had some really amazing stories. Worth a read.
Profile Image for W.L. Bolm.
Author 2 books13 followers
January 17, 2017
This was one of the best anthologies I've read in a really long time. It's been a while since I've read cyber punk; I picked this up on a chance at the library because some of my favorite authors, like Saladin Ahmed and Nisi Shawl, were included. I was delighted when I lost myself in its pages.

There were 2-3 stories I couldn't get into, but in general were short and quick and still managed to pack a lot of impact. The world views were diverse, and that added to my enjoyment. Even though each story fit into the cyber punk genre, I felt that most of the stories included had a depth and resonance I wasn't expecting. From nanobots to interactive tattoos, the stories included tech that seemed just within touch, but with the dystopian noir that results from wondering what a few wrong steps in government, ethics, or morality would mean for the near future.
Profile Image for lady h.
639 reviews181 followers
March 9, 2017
Some of these stories were pretty good, but most were only okay. It's kind of a mixed bag.
The problem with cyberpunk - or sci fi in general, I suppose - is that it threatens to be buried under the weight of its own inscrutability. Some authors want to throw in tons of new terminology and concepts and give the reader little time to adjust, which makes for a difficult reading experience.

There were some that were practically nonsensical that I only skimmed, and there were some that left no impression on me at all.

And then there were some that were excellent: "Other People's Thoughts" , "The Bees of Kiribati" , "We Will Take Care of Our Own" , "Small Offerings" , and "The Ibex on the Day of Extinction".

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Brian.
649 reviews79 followers
November 3, 2017
Like all anthologies, there's some good and some bad. And I think this collection would have been better served without an introduction that ties to nail down what cyberpunk actually is and an epilogue that says not to call the book cyberpunk. Whatever it is, it's not cyberpunk? I guess.

My favorite story was "The Bees of Kiribati," about a murder mystery among refugees of a country destroyed by climate change. The suspect is a surrogate for women in the developed world, apparently a common profession among the refugees, and one that causes a large amount of resentment. And why not? The developed world's industry destroyed their country, and not even in the usual way that war or devastation can. It's just gone, swallowed by the rising waves, and now those same people use the displaced to have their babies. No wonder people would go to extraordinary lengths for revenge.

"Panic City" is about a hidden refugee of the rich away from a ruined world and the AI in charge of that city. It's predictable, but the main takeaway I had is a blatant error. There's a saying that "Cyberpunk is just Asian cities," that it adopts the aesthetics of East Asia without Asian people, and it reminds of this story because "Panic City" uses Japanese and gets it grossly wrong. When it AI is speaking of other cities, it says "Paris, je t'aime. New York, I love you. と今日、大好き." That Japanese is gibberish. "With [UNDEFINED], today, I love"? Really? The author obviously meant 東京、大好き, "Tokyo, I love you," Tōkyō instead of Tokyō. It's so obviously incorrect, and reminded me so much of something like Scarlett Johansson's Ghost in the Shell, that I don't remember much of the rest of the story.

"The Faithful Soldier, Prompted" is about a message from G-d through implants. Or is it? And that's the point, because it seems like a hack into an old mercenary's left-over combat mods in order to facilitate a heist, but maybe it all serves a greater end? Perhaps it was the ghost in the machine.

"Wysiomg"--"What you see is O.M.G."--is written in the style of badly-spelled, barely-punctuated internet lingo, with constant reference to memes to the point that it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on. And that's the point, but it also meant it was exactly as excruciating to read as a real badly-spelled, barely-punctuated online screed. No thank you.

"Small Offerings" is another story about children, about the effects of increasing environmental pollution and the lengths that people will go to to have healthy babies. The vision it lays out is horrifying, but I wish it had been a couple pages longer to better explore the protagonist's moral qualms about her vocation. The moral conflict is the point, but as it is, it seems just like, "I think this is bad but I will do it anyway because it benefits me," which is very human but not very sympathetic.

I can't tell if "It’s Only Words" is deliberately Luddite or trying to satirize that position. The protagonist won't use constant-contact "Tap" implants because his mother doesn't want him to, but he comes across like a serial killer in the offing. He constantly thinks about people with the implants as basically zombies, not even human, unable to really experience life and solitude, not worth of any of his thoughts. He writes out an essay on paper and thinks he's committing a profound act by doing so, like someone taking a typewriter to the coffee shop and thinking they're making more of a statement than simply annoying other patrons with the keys clanking. I know some people with limited mobility who would love a constant-contact implant that came with that ability to virtually visit other places! I guess they're just sheeple, though.

"Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown" is about a failed yakuza hit (triad hit?) that the protagonist doesn't expect to survive. This story is all about the twist, and when it came I found it incredibly satisfying. That also means I can't say much more without spoiling it, but it's definitely worth reading.

"The Singularity is in your Hair" is the antidote to "It's Only Words." Who are these sheeple who get internet implants? I don't know, maybe like the protagonist of this story, who has Emery–Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and requires constant care in the physical world, but is a VR designer in cyberspace. She's partnered with an AI who promises her that soon it will reveal itself to the world and make everything better. These are the kind of people that the Singularity is for. "Rapture of the Nerds" rhetoric aside, there are quite a few people who might want to upload themselves into the internet for reasons that aren't narcissistic immortality, and I'm appreciated this portrayal of one such person.

There are a few other stories, but they didn't stick in my mind as much. And something else that ran through every story is that I would have preferred if they were universally about 25% longer. Only a few stories, like "The Bees of Kiribati" or "Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown," wouldn't benefit from just a bit more length, a little more exploration of the protagonists' minds or worldbuilding. Many stories felt rushed, or ended just a little too quickly. More room to grow would have been nice.

A good definition I've hard of cyberpunk is that transhumanism is about how technology allows us to overcome the limitations of humanity, whereas cyberpunk is about how it does not. By that definition, there's plenty of cyberpunk in Cyber World. And some good stories, too.
Profile Image for Fraser Simons.
Author 9 books243 followers
February 14, 2017
So I loved this. Not only do the goals of the anthology completely align with what I'm looking for in regards to new contributions to the genre, but they're just really, really GOOD contributions too. The following quotes from the book made me super excited to read it:

"Cyberpunk isn’t cool anymore because it doesn’t have to be. It’s gone beyond cool. It’s life itself, the good and bad of it."

"One of the things I like about Cyber World is that it shows cyberpunk has left its heteronormative boy’s club roots behind in the dust."

"Today we no longer fear technology. It’s no longer a question of assimilation. What remains to be seen is what we are about to become."

"As each story for Cyber World popped up in my inbox, my confusion about how I defined cyberpunk grew. And I loved that feeling. Left to define the term “Cyber World” as they saw fit (or gloriously unfit), the authors formed a vast unconscious collective that redefined cyber-something-or-other for the current millennium. A network, you might even say. I don’t say that flippantly. Cyberpunk—or should we just start saying “cyberfiction”?—must continually plug back into itself, challenge itself, consume itself, and reinvent itself if it hopes to survive and remain relevant."

YES, right?

I can't explain how awesome it is to see short fiction that had an emphasis on diversity, yes. But also clearly inclusivity. Almost all the stories make specific points in regards to how this genre can be relevant today. It totally works. There were, I think, two stories that didn't really resonate with me but I saw why they were there and what they contributed. I just couldn't get all that into them. The other stories though, it's very difficult for me to select some favorites, that's how much I liked this collection. There's pansexual relationships, queer content, feminist content. Stories where people continually change their gender as their life progresses and the nice thing about these stories is that this progress is assumed, as it should be. There's tons of representation in these stories and it's very clear after reading just how good these stories are that representation like this makes a big difference in the quality of fiction produced because of it.

From a story about what faith might look like, from a Muslim perspective no less, in the future. To an entire sentient city's thoughts. I just could not have enjoyed myself more. The authors that weave in action always do so in such a way that always makes it secondary to a more overall and purposeful exploration of a question. This is what has always pulled me towards the genre. It's what makes it so riveting and exciting. You get philosophy, action and sometimes, you also get smart commentary on relevant subject matter during all of it.
Profile Image for Riju Ganguly.
Author 31 books1,394 followers
April 25, 2021
This anthology contains twenty stories with a common, rather dystopic theme. They depict a future where increasing association between mankind and their machines have changed the world irrevocably. However, they don't use a framework of thriller or mystery while trying to be introspective. As a result, most of the stories are not memorable like Blade Runner etc. Those which registered their presence in my mind through their taut writing and underlying themes are~
1. Isabel Yap's "Serenade"
2. Warren Hammond's "The Bees of Kiribati"
3. Cat Rambo's "The Rest Between Two Notes"
4. Saladin Ahmed's "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted"
5. Alyssa Wong's "Your Bones Will Not be Unknown"
6. Chinelo Onwualu's "Other People's Thoughts"
7. Angie Hodapp's "We Will Take Care of Our Own".
The book is beautifully illustrated and printed, making the reading experience aesthetically pleasing as well.
If you are inclined towards reading cyber-oriented and yet thoughtful tales of the probable future, then this book is for you.
Profile Image for Dave.
193 reviews5 followers
December 17, 2016
You can call this a collection of cyberpunk stories, and be accurate, though as the editor points out, that is not quite all there is here. I would call this is more of an assortment of post-human speculative fiction than merely that older term in that it goes further into the possibilities of hacks and mods. This is another review copy I received from NetGalley. I requested it because of the handful of authors I had read before (some of my favorites) and happily the book is better than I expected in that the plenty I had not read before are excellent. This is a quality anthology of talented writers and well worth picking up.
138 reviews11 followers
July 1, 2018
I wanted to like this more than I did, especially since a few of the authors are from/currently living in my home state of Colorado. This isn't a bad book by any means, just a mixed bag. If you like cyberpunk, I would recommend getting this from the library. Here's to hoping you like it more than I did.

No one asked, but here are the Colorado authors (that I know of):
* Mario Acevedo
* Paolo Bacigalupi
* Warren Hammond
* Angie Hodapp
* Stephen Graham Jones

I'll be checking out more of their stuff.
Profile Image for Katie.
862 reviews11 followers
February 11, 2021
An interesting mix of short stories and while I was very happy there were so many A.I in them, it did feel like a lot of them could have been a bit longer. Even if only to explain some of the world building. Some stories just threw around a lot of new words that didn't make much sense by the end of it and then you had to go into another story and the whole thing would restart.

So, mixed bag. I don't think it's really encouraged me to look into cyberpunk much either.
280 reviews
February 16, 2017
I really enjoyed it! These are fresh stories, up-to-the minute aand that felt good, sonce sometimes you read, hmm, classics that sometimes feel outdated. Some stories spoke to me more than others, but this anthology felt overall stronger than others I've read beyond year's best collections. They are all short-seeming tho, with a few I'd like expanded or put into context of a world.
328 reviews3 followers
August 4, 2017
I guess it's kind of ok. Most of the stories were good or passable, but very few of them were given enough room to breathe. Few were enough for me to hunt down other works by their authors - not due to lack of talent, I think, but they were just too short to give enough of an idea. Compared to something like Burning Chrome or Mirrorshades, it just doesn't stack up.
Profile Image for Louis Corsair.
Author 13 books14 followers
February 17, 2019
It took a while to finish this... There are so many good stories here that don’t require you to love sci-fi. It helps, though. One of my favorites was near the end, by Minister Faust (funny). It’s one of the longer stories, at six and a half.

The drawback is that there are sooooooo many stories. They’re short too, so the book’s 200+ pages feel infinitely long...
Profile Image for Frances.
495 reviews26 followers
January 12, 2020
A really solid, wide-ranging collection that takes the cyberpunk subgenre into new, well-realized, thoughtfully examined places. As with most anthologies, preferred some stories to others, but each struck me as well-constructed, beautifully written, and engaging.

I cannot think of a better anthology to pick up for anyone craving cyberpunk, which is something I haven't seen enough of recently.
Profile Image for Pearse Anderson.
Author 5 books33 followers
August 16, 2020
I was saving reading this anthology for years, and I finally got to it this summer! Unfortunately, I didn't love it. I'm giving it 3 stars, because the only story that really caught my attention was THE BEES OF KIRIBATI. I'm glad that there's more good cyberpunk fic out there but this short read wasn't my thing.
Profile Image for Fanem.
5 reviews
February 1, 2018
One of the best collections of modern cyberpunk and post cyberpunk I've seen. I will probably return to it from time to time. Definitely something in there for every cyberpunk fun. Some of the stories were super inspiring.
More, please!
Profile Image for James.
3,352 reviews19 followers
May 31, 2017
Cyberpunk with more diverse authors and world settings than an equivalent '80s collection would have had. A mixed bag like all collections, some are pretty dark.
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