cover image We Are Satellites

We Are Satellites

Sarah Pinsker. Berkley, $16 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-984802-60-6

Nebula Award winner Pinsker’s cold and cerebral latest (after A Song for a New Day) revolves around technological haves and have-nots who are divided by class, disability, and ideology. Teacher Val and political staffer Julie come from underprivileged backgrounds, and their marriage has immersed them in suburban life, with two kids and a money pit of a house. Enter the Pilot, a new technology for enhancing brain function via a stimulating implant. It quickly becomes a fad: first Val’s wealthy students and then Julie’s congressman boss sport the Pilot’s tell-tale blue lights at their temples, and soon David, the couple’s teenage son, has one. The family, though, shies away from the implications of his enhanced capabilities until he announces his decision to join the military’s new program for people with Pilots. Meanwhile, David’s sister Sophie, whose epilepsy makes her ineligible for implantation, must confront being a have-not in a neural-enhanced world. It’s a slow-developing narrative, marred by slight characterization and check-the-box inclusion of topical issues. Pinsker raises fascinating questions about technology that will appeal to fans of hard science fiction, but the story itself too often reads like dry reportage. [em]Agent: Kim-Mei Kirtland, Morhaim Literary. (May) [/em]