GETTING TO KNOW YOU by David Marusek. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2007. 1st edition hardcover.
The debut collection by one of today’s hottest new sf writers.
On the short fiction of David Marusek, from Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times:
"Marusek, who hitchhiked his way to Alaska from Santa Barbara in the 1970's and now lives on the outskirts of Fairbanks, may have a relatively modest body of work (just 10 short stories in print over the span of 13 years), but each of these pieces has so far proven to be as concentrated and potent as a dwarf star. In "The Wedding Album," a story first published in 1999, he fashions an ominous and surprisingly moving tale about a bride and groom who repeatedly discover, forget and rediscover that they are merely computer-generated re-creations of a flesh-and-blood newlywed couple, fated to watch as their living counterparts, their marriage and civilization itself decay over the centuries. Though Marusek intermittently deploys terms like "ectopic hippocampus," "dendritic synapses" and "nanobioremediation," "The Wedding Album" is a story whose beauty can be appreciated even by readers who are intimidated by weather reports, despite the fact that I've just given away its major plot points.
"In an earlier short work from 1995 entitled "We Were Out of Our Minds With Joy," Marusek writes just as vividly about another married couple in the year 2092, whose blissful union begins to unravel after they are granted a rare and precious license that gives them permission to conceive their own child."
Mark R. Kelly, in Locus, about "Getting to Know You":
Marusek, showing a potentially volatile synergy of technology and human foibles, is a writer who gives the impression that he's been to the future, seen it work, and has come back to tell us all about it.
Cory Doctorow on "The Wedding Album":
"Marusek's amazing story 'The Wedding Album' floored me when I read it in 1999, was a finalist on the Nebula ballot, won the Sturgeon and Asimov's Reader's Choice Awards, placed in the Locus, Seiun and HOMer awards, and left all who read it gob-smacked."
* * *
I have always envied writers who somehow seem to dash off first-rate stories in their spare time while still putting out a new novel each year.
Not I. I obsess endlessly over my stories. I boil them down to their gooey essence and then boil them again for good measure. I squeeze them onto the page like frosting on a cake. I lay them like traps and bait them with shiny ideas. Oh, we have fun, my stories and I. Here, let me shine one up for you.
-- David Marusek
Issued in a SIGNED/LIMITED edition of 200 signed numbered copies, with a bonus chapbook.
The Wedding Album,
The Earth is on the Mend,
Yurek Rutz Yurek Rutz Yurek Rutz,
A Boy in Cathyland,
We Were Out of Our Minds With Joy,
Cabbages and Kale,
Getting to Know You,
Listen to Me,
My Morning Glory.
Publishers Weekly on Getting to Know You (starred review):
"Marusek, in a blurb for this superb collection of 10 stories (all the shorter SF he's published to date), gives fair warning when he says he lays his stories 'like traps and bait[s] them with shiny ideas…' Marusek's 'shiny ideas'--cloned laborers, electronic 'proxies,' the 'boutique economy'--sparkle, but these assured stories also draw on core SF themes: in the face of change, what does it mean to be human, and where do we draw the line between helping ourselves and hurting others?"
"He has a master tactic he uses fruitfully over and over. Take the eternal domestic, quotidian verities of humanity—love, marriage, children, family, work—then invert them through a posthuman filter. It's a technique perfected by John Varley in the 1970s—hell, maybe by Heinlein in the 1940s—but it still delivers unfailing epiphanies. Marusek has a handle on the future and can really crank it up."
Fine in fine dj.