Read the ‘digest’ version only.
** “For All of Us Down Here” by Alex Irvine
It’s always an interesting tack, when approaching a story, to take the point of view of someone the reader wouldn’t expect, and therefore to show a new angle on events.
However, there’s such a thing as going too far outside the ‘story,’ and I felt like “For All of Us Down Here” did that. We meet a young boy who tells us he’s an “Orphan of the Sing” – his parents, along with most of the planet, have opted to join the ‘Singularity,’ living presumably wonderful lives in virtual worlds. Meanwhile, those who’ve stayed behind, including this boy and his grandfather, are living in an increasingly decrepit world, as more and more knowledge is lost.
Then one day, a Singular shows up, wanting to talk to his grandfather.
And then what happens? Well, the boy never finds out, and neither does the reader.
This might work as the opening chapter of a novel, rather than as a stand-alone.
** “Plumage from Pegasus: The Very Last Miserabilist in Paradise” by Paul Di Filippo
Paul diFilippo really does like Paolo Bacigalupi, if we are to take his many published positive reviews and comments at face value. However, here he gives his colleague a good ‘roasting,’ in a humorous story about a former writer caught in a perfect utopia. It blatently makes fun of Bacigalupi’s dystopian outlook and ‘Cassandra-like’ warnings about our possible futures. Probably more entertaining to diFilippo and Bacigalupi than to a casual reader.