Thursday, February 22, 2007
For the last few days, I've been reading Cory Doctorow's new collection of short fiction, Overclocked (Thunder's Mouth Press). It's been one of the first things I've looked forward to in the morning -- reading it while waiting for and riding the subway to work -- and one of the last things I've done each day -- reading it before sleep.
Because the six stories in the book have all been published elsewhere, chances are good that at least one or two will be familiar. Apparently, that's OK, because even though I'd previously read "I, Robot," I caught myself rereading it with glee despite the fact that I knew exactly what was going to happen. It might be the case that -- in Cory's writing, as well as in the future itself -- it's not just what happens... but how it happens. His stuff holds up under the pressure of memory.
But it was one of the stories I haven't previously read that I found the most enjoyable, effective, and affecting. "After the Siege," in part inspired by his grandmother's survival of Hitler's invasion of Stalingrad, is the kind of short story that holds your attention, your imagination, and your affection all at the same time. At times, I'm irritated by how preachy Cory can be in his infopolitics, but in this story, he shows us that his heart is as big as his brain and his hopes for society.
Congratulations, Cory. Each of these stories was an accomplishment in their own right when they were first published, and in book form, they become an accomplishment in the aggregate. And the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Thanks for the good reads -- and rereads.