Published March 13th 2020 by XPRIZE
Edition Language: EnglishPraise for CURRENT FUTURES: A SCI-FI OCEAN ANTHOLOGY“Ann VanderMeer’s outstanding Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, is a selection of stories about climate change and the future of our oceans, all by some of the best writers working today…on the XPRIZE’s website, it is as indispensable as anything on this list.” —Jonathan Strahan, Reviews Editor, Locus
“Ann VanderMeer’s Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology is a required-reading, online-only “sci-fi ocean anthology” sponsored by XPRIZE.” —Liza Goren Trombi, Editor-in-Chief, Locus
**In 2020 the most recent anthology from XPRIZE, Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, was named to the Locus Recommended Reading list of 2019**
**4 Short stories from Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology were included in the Short Stories section of the Locus Recommended Reading List of 2019**
While on a mission to mars in the year 2080, a young astronaut encounters a decommissioned robotic Avatar unit, partially buried in the Martian dust.
She poops open the cranial casing to find its central processing chip, still intact. She holds the chip up to her visual display unit to reveal its contents. Within moments, she is flooded with what-seem-to-be “memories” from the life of the avatar.
This is Avatar Inc’s 24th successful mission, as part of an overall campaign to physically retrieve, preserve and archive the memory cards from their most valuable robotic avatar unitis.
They searched the world, and deep into the solar system, to acquire the chips that contain avatar memories spanning the 21st century.
These are those memories.
CREATOR: Eric Desatnik
SL Haung, Sarah Pinsker, JY Yang, Kelly Robson, Nino Cipri, Jeffrey Ford, K Chess, Indrapamit Das, Robert Reed, Paul McAuley, Julianna Baggot, Ken Liu, Merc, Fenn Wolfmoor, Pat Cadigan, Tom Sweterlitsch, James S.A. Corey, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Johanna Sinisalo, Tade Thompson, Dr. Harry Kloor, Charles Yu, Aliette de Bodard, Julie Novàkovà, and Madeline Ashby
I received a copy from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
I’m not a big Sci-Fi fan. There have been some books I like, but most of the time it’s a hit or miss. I’m saying this because I feel I may not be the best judge for sci-fi fiction for this reason. That isn’t to say that I found this book boring. Actually, I found it refreshing.
Oftentimes, we see sci-fi as the destruction or inevitable end of mankind. There are cataclysmic natural disasters, governments taking over, or the idea that artificial intelligence will one day rule you. Rather bleak, right?
I like sci-fi that pokes fun, is an adventure story set so far in the future the humans in them would be the same as King Arthur with his knights, or the stories that are human first and technology second. Avatars Inc is the third one.
Comprised of many different stories, but each one important. I’ve seen humans struggle, persist, and love in this anthology. It isn’t bleak, it embraces all that makes humans human. There were some stories I devoured quickly and others I had to take a moment to mull through. But each one was unique and helped me see the world through the eyes of a machine.
The Avatars in this book are machines made for people to plug-in like a virtual reality system and explore the world. With it, a pregnant woman in labor can climb the mountains and preserve the environment or a paralyzed adult can visit a dying parent. It had me thinking about how it would be a great thing for people today to visit family during COVID-19.
There was a pause in that point in my reading. It was a bittersweet pause, filled with the pent-up anxiety being at home causes, but it didn’t take away from the book. If you love human stories but need a little extra, check out this anthology. If you like Sci-fi and are tired of the bleak messages, check out this anthology.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and am glad I said yes to reviewing it.
Final Rating: 3/5
Over a 30-year career, Ann VanderMeer has won numerous awards for her editing work, including the Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award. Whether as editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years or in her current role as an acquiring editor for Tor.com, Ann has built her reputation on acquiring fiction from diverse and interesting new talents. As co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books, she has helped develop a wide-ranging line of mostly translated fiction. Featuring a who’s who of world literature, Ann VanderMeer’s anthologies include the critically acclaimed Best American Fantasy series, The Weird, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution, and the forthcoming Big Book of SF (Vintage).