Sarah Pinsker writes excellent short stories. This collection opens with some shorter stories, which I found too short: They ended before anything could happen, all just setting up a scenario, then leaving me hungry for something:
The man with the prosthetic arm that wants to be a road is just that. The rock star escaping a cruise ship in a post-apocalyptic waste land is just that. The world where veterans willingly suppress their memory except during one day a year, where they make policy decisions is just that. The artificial grandmother gets a tiny, tiny development. The haunted houses that simulate people’s identities could be so strong, but I felt like the twist cheapened the story. The dying architect’s family felt very real and touching, but again the ending was … ehhhh. The sirens that didn’t know what to do with the intersex protagonist: good idea, strong (oppressive) world description, but again ehh on the arc.
Luckily, this collection also includes her longer shorts, including two I knew already: the good Wind Will Rove and the excellent And Then There Were (N-One), which I cannot recommend enough (and which is also available stand-alone). Additionally, there was a story about one of the last touring bands in a world where holo live entertainment is everywhere, which was vivid and American (of the road-trip variety, of course) and strong.