Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.
Nick Mamatas is one of those writers (and editors) I know of, but I couldn’t name one of his works from the top of my head. I have read one or two collections he edited at Haikasoru, and whenever I come across other works of his, they always seem to fit what I like in my fiction. So when his upcoming collection The People’s Republic of Everything came up for review on NetGalley, with a gorgeous cover, I couldn’t resist, and I am glad I didn’t.
This is a collection of stories Mamatas has written this past decade. Shorter stories and one novella (Under My Roof), covering various topics. A common element in a lot of stories is politics and political philosophy (communism mostly).Why do we follow? What does it take to stand up? But there is also a very interesting take on AI, and taking personalities from the past (In this case H.P. Lovecraft) to create a new AI. What are the implication for that personality? And another story about the consequences of social networks, and the doxxing of people for small slights in the public eye. One woman thinks after a couple of years she is safe again to live her life, but finds out quickly that the internet never forgets. One that hit home for me was a story about a neighborhood chat app (called Cranki.ly in the story, but totally based on Nextdoor) and how one person uses the app to wind other people up.
As always with a collection, there were some stories I liked, and some I liked less. For me there were too many stories about communism, and some of them (We Never Sleep and Arbeitskraft) were very similar to each other. Other stories were very enjoyable, and I liked the novella Under My Roof. The overall genre I would classify as speculative, as most stories are set in the current day or near future, with some fantastical elements in them. Four out of five stars.