Upgraded

Upgraded - Peter Watts, Madeline Ashby, Greg Egan, Robert Reed, Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, E. Lily Yu, Neil Clarke

(I got a copy courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

As usual with anthologies, always a tricky read to rate. Some of the stories I really enjoyed, others I found average, others yet were too far from my own tastes to hit home. Nothing unexpected here. All in all, there was only one story I really skipped/skimmed over, and a few that I struggled with at first, but ended up reading all the same, thinking "in the end it was somewhat worth it."

Perhaps the theme of "cybernetics" is making things a little hard in that regard: either it works or it doesn't, you won't really find many other different themes to check for if it ends up not being your cup of tea. But that's kind of a given, considering the anthology's title and blurb.

A lot of the stories also toy with concepts questioning whether cybernetic enhancement would be a good or a bad thing: hopes crumbling, cyberntics leading to madness or violence, and so on. Those definitely open a path for deeper reflection here.

Stories I really liked:

* Seventh Sight: Part of my enjoyment probably stemmed of a personal fascination with tetrachromats, colours, and whatever is related to how we perceive the latter.

* Always the Harvest: This short story opens the anthology, and provides an interesting view on what defines "humans", and on how a non-human conscience may interpret the image we project of ourselves.

* Wizard, Cabalist, Ascendant: A bit hard to grasp at first, but definitely interesting if one's looking for reflections about transhumanism.

* The Regular: A more "typical" story, on the model of detective shows, which probably makes it easier to grasp.

A word of warning: a few stories made use of a second person point of view, which unfortunately is a serious break-it for me (frankly, apart of Choose Your Own Adventure books, it never works—and even in such cases, it has always tended to grate on my nerves). It doesn't mean they're rubbish, just that I can't stand that point of view. Too bad, because Musée de l'Âme Seule has really touching moments (granted, it's not 100% second person POV; but it felt like it too much to make me forget the constant "you"...).