cover image Upgraded


Edited by Neil Clarke. Wyrm, $16.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-890464-30-1

Longtime magazine editor Clarke (Clarkesworld), inspired by the experience of becoming a "cyborg" after getting an implanted defibrillator, decided to explore new takes on cyborgs, and this anthology largely succeeds in presenting interesting twists on the concept. The best is Helena Bell's haunting "Married," in which an experimental technology called "Sentin" gradually replaces an entire body, causing a woman to question her husband's humanity. Yoon Ha Lee's "Always the Harvest" overcomes a simple plot with magnificent world-building and turns of phrases like "A braidweave splendor of limbs." The anthology ends with a typically brutal Peter Watts story ("Collateral") followed by an unexpectedly gorgeous and humanistic one by Greg Egan ("Seventh Sight," about the implication of enhanced vision on aesthetics), ensuring that even the pickiest readers are satisfied. There are plenty of other highlights%E2%80%94including excellent stories by A.C. Wise and Chen Qiufan, the latter translated by Ken Liu, who also contributes an excellent tale of his own%E2%80%94and few missteps worth noting beyond an underwhelming contribution from headliner Elizabeth Bear. Clarke's first themed anthology will leave readers hoping for more. (Sept.)