Title: Memes of Loss and Devotion
Author: Darren White
Genre(s): Adult Science Fiction Short Story Collection
How To Purchase: Amazon
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Note: I received a free copy of Memes of Loss and Devotion in exchange for an honest review.
“Memes of Loss and Devotion” is a science fiction and horror anthology. It examines the human condition, our possible futures, our challenges as a species and our failings as sentient, supposedly intelligent beings.
Journey to a far future where all human minds are connected not only to each other but also to benevolent Artificial Intelligences. Technology may have changed, but the human condition has not, and neither has the human heart.
A not so random encounter in a hotel bar triggers unforeseen consequences, but just who is the hunter and who is the prey? If you thought that romance in the early 21st century is a minefield, just add advanced technology and see how much more dangerous it can get.
Can love survive death? What happens when devotion unexpectedly returns from beyond the grave? A doomed love triangle is destined to end in disaster in a haunting story of passion that can never be reciprocated.
What if men were obsolete? What if new technology meant that the human race could continue without them? How far would you go to prevent this?
Finally, a gun-toting, resourceful hero will get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the entire planet, probably…
In this collection, you will also witness a little girl arguing colonization morals with an elderly alien, while another girl will be ‘fixed’ by time travelling angels. An astronaut will be rescued (eventually) while another never will be. A deadly connection will be made. A private investigator will lose important parts of his memory on a distant moon. A future colonist never get his girl. A time machine will be abused. An alien observer will be lost. A sister’s sister will find her true home.
Just where might future technology take us if we are not mindful of the unintentional consequences?
What will we get? The future we want, or the future we deserve?
Publishing a short story anthology as a debut novel is a courageous decision. Somehow, reading a collection of short stories feels as though it requires additional effort from me, the reader. I’m in each one for a shorter amount of time, but because there are more stories, it feels like the book wants more from me. Yet in this book, every story is as strong as the next and none were included “just because.”
What I loved most is the voice. The title, Memes of Loss and Devotion, evokes a feeling that carries throughout. Each story is told in a breathy, haunting way. Each story made me feel. Each story made me consider something I had never considered before.
I had an issue with the grammar, which seems to deteriorate as the book progresses. Most of the time, the syntax issues didn’t bother me as much as usual–which is saying something for Mr. White’s storytelling ability, since I’m such a stickler for details–however, I got lost sometimes. Some of that was wacky dialogue tags, and some of it was the way the story was written. At times it got too ephemeral for me, and I wasn’t sure who we were focused on or what was going on.
I had a love-hate relationship with the way the stories ended. Almost every one finished too soon. I wanted more: More explanation, more story, more grounding. Yet every story ended at the right place for what Mr. White wants the reader to experience. He doesn’t give answers. He gives only questions.
If you enjoy the moral and spiritual implications of science fiction, I would recommend this book. If it had been professionally edited, I would likely have given it a 4 or even a 4.5, but I found the errors too distracting to fully get behind the book.
Each story gives you something to chew on long after you close the pages. I’m still sitting on the hill with that little girl and the elder alien, considering what it must be like for a primitive race whose wildest imaginings were made laughable by the arrival of space farers. And that’s exactly what good science fiction should do.