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Getting to Know You: Stories Paperback – December 30, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Marusek [has] the potential to make an indifferent audience care about [science fiction] again.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Marusek is one of the best-kept secrets of science fiction, a wild talent with a Gibson-grade imagination and marvelous prose, and a keen sense of human drama that makes it all go.”
–Cory Doctorow

“David 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.”
Locus

“Superb . . . Marusek’s ‘shiny ideas’ sparkle.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

David Marusek spins his quirky tales of the future by the glow of the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is the author of "Counting Heads "and "Mind Over Ship".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345504283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345504289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,918,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Simply stated every single solitary word of this book is pure gold that left me begging for more. Five of the stories in this book are reworked a bit in his first novel, Counting Heads. Collectively they tell a story that by Marusek's own words was inspired by Herbert's idea of the Butlerian Jihad. That motif is not only the central issue in one of the stories, but it hangs over them all, threatening to come at a moment's notice. Overall I would say that many of Marusek's stories are gadget/AI stories with a realistic and humanistic bent to them. One story (Cathyland, mentioned below) has clear post-human elements to it, though some will argue that the entire book is full of post human stories. Instead, I think the people in this book are on the verge of going post human, as their technology is so advanced and they have such fine control over their own internal biological processes, but they haven't quite gotten there yet.

The Wedding Album and A Boy in Cathyland tell the story of how our society goes to hell and the war that ensues after AI in all its various forms is emancipated. What is left in the dust is a society that summarily executes owners of high-tech merely for owning it, and encourages and rewards individuals who grow extra brain tissue and keep it in various appendages so that people on their own are capable of processing large amounts of information without machines. We Were Out of our Minds with Joy tells the story of two lovers in a thoroughly transformed society who are granted an extremely rare license to have a child. That story is absolutely beautiful in every detail, but ends on a very bitter note when fate and computer error throw the couple a curve ball that nobody ever saw coming. On its own its one of the best dystopian pieces I have ever read, in any form.
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Format: Paperback
How is it that David Marusek is able to give true human dimensionality to non-human characters? His first two novels gripped me, and this collection, including the absolutely stunning The Wedding Album, takes it to the next level.

I used to be very excited to be living at the threshold of "The Future." However, Marusek makes me very afraid of this reality. And it strikes me as more compellingly believable a future reality than that painted by Gibson or Stephenson.

I can't recommend Getting to Know You, as well as Marusek's two novels, more highly.
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Format: Hardcover
It's interesting that this anthology is called "Getting to Know You", because the eponymous story is the first one I read by David Marusek, one of those few stories that set me on fire about a particular author and their work. Furthermore, reading this book is in a very real sense about "getting to know" David Marusek; I can only hope his corpus grows in the future. The stories here represent every one he's published save for "She was Good, She was Funny", which IIRC was included with a limited edition only.

"Getting to Know You" is really two anthologies in one; half the stories here take place in the "Boutique Economy" of "Counting Heads", and serve as a kind of preamble for that novel. The other stories run the gamut, and are for the most part only loosely tied into science fiction. They are a mixed bag, showcases of cynicism and mordant humor. The best is "The Earth is on the Mend", an astonishingly tense chase packed into just four pages. Also memorable is "Listen to Me", in its chilling portrait of a man addicted to rage. You may want to take Marusek's advice and skip the nauseating "VTV", though even this tale has something to offer in its withering critique of an America obsessed with blood and ratings.

The best stories by far are those dealing with the future world fleshed out in "Counting Heads". They are classic Marusek, with protagonists who are blind or enslaved to truths unrevealed until it's too late. "We Were Out of Our Minds with Joy" is a magnificent novella of romance; it's a director's cut of sorts, clearly longer and more detailed than the first part of "Counting Heads". "Cabbages and Kale, or: How We Downsized America" is the dark horse of the set, a devilishly complex story about a politician forced to make an incalculable moral decision.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a David Marusek groupie - he's funny, insightful, hugely imaginative, self-deprecating in a 'Rockford Files' way, and thoroughly entertaining. This is a great collection of short stories. Some of the themes show up later in his books and some don't. One of the most delightfully bizarre stories is about an off-kilter Alaskan named Yurek Rutz, who seeks immortality in print. Google it and read that short story free on the web, then pay Amazon for the book.
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