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Getting to Know You: Storiesby David Marusek
Synopses & Reviews
THE WEDDING ALBUM
Anne and Benjamin stood stock-still, as instructed, close but not touching, while the simographer adjusted her apparatus, set its timer, and ducked out of the room. It would take only a moment, she said. They were to think only happy, happy thoughts.
For once in her life, Anne was unconditionally happy, and everything
around her made her happier: her gown, which had been her
grandmother's; the wedding ring (how cold it had felt when Benjamin
first slipped it on her finger ); her clutch bouquet of forget-me-nots and
buttercups; Benjamin himself, close beside her in his charcoal gray tux
and pink carnation. He who so despised ritual but was a good sport.
His cheeks were pink, too, and his eyes sparkled with some wolfish
fantasy. Come here, he whispered. Anne shushed him; you weren't
supposed to talk or touch during a casting; it could spoil the sims. “I
can’t wait,” he whispered, this is taking too long. And it did seem
longer than usual, but this was a professional simulacrum, not some
They were posed at the street end of the living room, next to the
table piled with brightly wrapped gifts. This was Benjamin's townhouse;
she had barely moved in. All her treasures were still in shipping
shells in the basement, except for the few pieces she'd managed to have
unpacked: the oak refectory table and chairs, the sixteenth-century
French armoire, the cherry wood chifforobe, the tea table with inlaid
top, the silvered mirror over the fire surround. Of course, her antiques
clashed with Benjamin's contemporary-and rather common-decor,
but he had promised her the whole house to redo as she saw fit. A
How about a kiss? whispered Benjamin.
Anne smiled but shook her head; there'd be plenty of time later for
that sort of thing.
Suddenly, a head wearing wraparound goggles poked through the
wall and quickly surveyed the room. Hey, you, it said to them.
“Is that our simographer?” Benjamin said.
The head spoke into a cheek mike, This one's the keeper, and
withdrew as suddenly as it had appeared.
“Did the simographer just pop her head in through the wall?” said
I think so, said Anne, though it made no sense.
“I'll just see what’s up,” said Benjamin, breaking his pose. He went
to the door but could not grasp its handle.
Music began to play outside, and Anne went to the window. Her
view of the garden below was blocked by the blue-and-white-striped
canopy they had rented, but she could clearly hear the clink of flatware
on china, laughter, and the musicians playing a waltz. They're starting
without us, she said, happily amazed.
They're just warming up,” said Benjamin.
“No, they’re not. That's the first waltz. I picked it myself.
So let’s waltz,” Benjamin said and reached for her. But his arms
passed through her in a flash of pixelated noise. He frowned and examined
Anne hardly noticed. Nothing could diminish her happiness. She
was drawn to the table of wedding gifts. Of all the gifts, there was only
one-a long flat box in flecked silver wrapping—that s
A collection of short fiction by the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Counting Heads includes the author's imaginative exploration of the shattering, unintended consequences of advanced technology in the Sturgeon Award-winning tale "The Wedding Album," as well as nine other provocative pieces. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
Not since William Gibson and Bruce Sterling galvanized science fiction in the 1980s has the emergence of a new writer been heralded with such acclaim as that attending David Marusek, whose brilliant first novel, Counting Heads, appeared to rave reviews in 2005. But Marusek did not come out of nowhere. Aficionados of the genre had already taken note of his groundbreaking short fiction: masterfully written, profoundly thought-out examinations of futures so real they seemed virtually inevitable.
Now, in this collection of ten short stories, Marusek’s fierce imagination and dazzling extrapolative gifts are on full display. Five of the stories, including the Sturgeon Award-winning “The Wedding Album,” a shattering look at the unintended human consequences of advanced technology, are set in the same future as Counting Heads. All ten showcase Marusek’s talent for literate, provocative science fiction of the very highest order.
Table of Contents
The wedding album — The Earth on the mend — Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz, Yurek Rutz — A boy in Cathyland — We were out of our minds with joy — VTV — Cabbages and kale or: how we downsized America — Getting to know you — Listen to me — My morning glory — Permissions.
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