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Review âMarusek [has] the potential to make an indifferent audience care about [science fiction] again.ââThe New York Times Book ReviewâMarusek is one of the best-kept secrets of science fiction, a wild talent with a Gibson-grade imagination and marvelous prose, and a keen sense of human drama that makes it all go.ââCory DoctorowâDavid Marusek, showing a potentially volatile synergy of technology and human foibles, is a writer who gives the impression that heâs been to the future, seen it work, and has come back to tell us all about it.ââLocusâSuperb … Marusekâs âÂ?shiny ideasÃ¢ÂÂ sparkle.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂPublishers Weekly (starred review) Excerpt. ÃÂ© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. THE WEDDING ALBUMAnne and Benjamin stood stock-still, as instructed, close but not touching, while the simographer adjusted her apparatus, set its timer, and ducked out of the room. It would take only a moment, she said. They were to think only happy, happy thoughts.For once in her life, Anne was unconditionally happy, and everythingaround her made her happier: her gown, which had been hergrandmotherÃ¢ÂÂs; the wedding ring (how cold it had felt when Benjaminfirst slipped it on her finger!); her clutch bouquet of forget-me-nots andbuttercups; Benjamin himself, close beside her in his charcoal gray tuxand pink carnation. He who so despised ritual but was a good sport.His cheeks were pink, too, and his eyes sparkled with some wolfishfantasy. Ã¢ÂÂCome here,Ã¢ÂÂ he whispered. Anne shushed him; you werenÃ¢ÂÂtsupposed to talk or touch during a casting; it could spoil the sims. Ã¢ÂÂIcanÃ¢ÂÂt wait,Ã¢ÂÂ he whispered, Ã¢ÂÂthis is taking too long.Ã¢ÂÂ And it did seemlonger than usual, but this was a professional simulacrum, not somehome-made snapshot.They were posed at the street end of the living room, next to thetable piled with brightly wrapped gifts. This was BenjaminÃ¢ÂÂs townhouse;she had barely moved in. All her treasures were still in shippingshells in the basement, except for the few pieces sheÃ¢ÂÂd managed to haveunpacked: the oak refectory table and chairs, the sixteenth-centuryFrench armoire, the cherry wood chifforobe, the tea table with inlaidtop, the silvered mirror over the fire surround. Of course, her antiquesclashed with BenjaminÃ¢ÂÂs contemporaryÃ¢ÂÂand rather commonÃ¢ÂÂdecor,but he had promised her the whole house to redo as she saw fit. Awhole house!Ã¢ÂÂHow about a kiss?Ã¢ÂÂ whispered Benjamin.Anne smiled but shook her head; thereÃ¢ÂÂd be plenty of time later forthat sort of thing.Suddenly, a head wearing wraparound goggles poked through thewall and quickly surveyed the room. Ã¢ÂÂHey, you,Ã¢ÂÂ it said to them.Ã¢ÂÂIs that our simographer?Ã¢ÂÂ Benjamin said.The head spoke into a cheek mike, Ã¢ÂÂThis oneÃ¢ÂÂs the keeper,Ã¢ÂÂ andwithdrew as suddenly as it had appeared.Ã¢ÂÂDid the simographer just pop her head in through the wall?Ã¢ÂÂ saidBenjamin.Ã¢ÂÂI think so,Ã¢ÂÂ said Anne, though it made no sense.Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂll just see whatÃ¢ÂÂs up,Ã¢ÂÂ said Benjamin, breaking his pose. He wentto the door but could not grasp its handle.Music began to play outside, and Anne went to the window. Herview of the garden below was blocked by the blue-and-white-stripedcanopy they had rented, but she could clearly hear the clink of flatwareon china, laughter, and the musicians playing a waltz. Ã¢ÂÂTheyÃ¢ÂÂre startingwithout us,Ã¢ÂÂ she said, happily amazed.Ã¢ÂÂTheyÃ¢ÂÂre just warming up,Ã¢ÂÂ said Benjamin.Ã¢ÂÂNo, theyÃ¢ÂÂre not. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs the first waltz. I picked it myself.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂSo letÃ¢ÂÂs waltz,Ã¢ÂÂ Benjamin said and reached for her. But his armspassed through her in a flash of pixelated noise. He frowned and examinedhis hands.Anne hardly noticed. Nothing could diminish her happiness. Shewas drawn to the table of wedding gifts. Of all the gifts, there was onlyoneÃ¢ÂÂa long flat box in flecked silver wrappingÃ¢ÂÂthat she was mostkeen to open. It was from Great-Uncle Karl. When it came down to it,Anne was both the easiest and the hardest person to shop for. Whileeveryone knew of her passion for antiques, few had the means or expertiseto buy one. She reached for KarlÃ¢ÂÂs package, but her hand passedright through it. This isnÃ¢ÂÂt happening, she thought with gleeful horror.That it was, in fact, happening was confirmed a moment laterwhen a dozen peopleÃ¢ÂÂGreat-Uncle Karl, Nancy, Aunt Jennifer, Traci,Cathy and Tom, the bridesmaids and others, including Anne herself,and Benjamin, still in their wedding clothesÃ¢ÂÂall trooped through thewall wearing wraparound goggles. Ã¢ÂÂNice job,Ã¢ÂÂ said Great-Uncle Karl,inspecting the room, Ã¢ÂÂfirst rate.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂOoooh,Ã¢ÂÂ said Aunt Jennifer, comparing the identical weddingcouples, identical but for the goggles. It made Anne uncomfortable thatthe other Anne should be wearing goggles while she wasnÃ¢ÂÂt. And theother Benjamin acted a little drunk and wore a smudge of white frostingon his lapel. WeÃ¢ÂÂve cut the cake, she thought happily, although shecouldnÃ¢ÂÂt remember doing so. Geri, the flower girl in a pastel dress, andAngus, the ring bearer in a miniature tux, along with a knot of otherdressed-up children, charged through the sofa, back and forth, creatingpyrotechnic explosions of digital noise. They would have run throughBenjamin and Anne, too, had the adults allowed. AnneÃ¢ÂÂs father camethrough the wall with a bottle of champagne. He paused when he sawAnne but turned to the other Anne and freshened her glass.Ã¢ÂÂWait a minute!Ã¢ÂÂ shouted Benjamin, waving his arms above hishead. Ã¢ÂÂI get it now. WeÃ¢ÂÂre the sims!Ã¢ÂÂ The guests all laughed, and helaughed too. Ã¢ÂÂI guess my sims always say that, donÃ¢ÂÂt they?Ã¢ÂÂ The otherBenjamin nodded yes and sipped his champagne. Ã¢ÂÂI just never expectedto be a sim,Ã¢ÂÂ Benjamin went on. This brought another round of laughter,and he said sheepishly, Ã¢ÂÂI guess my sims all say that, too.Ã¢ÂÂThe other Benjamin said, Ã¢ÂÂNow that we have the obligatoryepiphany out of the way,Ã¢ÂÂ and took a bow. The guests applauded.Cathy, with Tom in tow, approached Anne. Ã¢ÂÂLook what I caught,Ã¢ÂÂshe said and showed Anne the forget-me-not and buttercup bouquet. Ã¢ÂÂIguess we know what that means.Ã¢ÂÂ Tom, intent on straightening his tie,seemed not to hear. But Anne knew what it meant. It meant theyÃ¢ÂÂdtossed the bouquet. All the silly little rituals that she had so looked forwardto.Ã¢ÂÂGood for you,Ã¢ÂÂ she said and offered her own clutch, which shestill held, for comparison. The real one was wilting and a little raggedaround the edges, with missing petals and sprigs, while hers was stillfresh and pristine and would remain so eternally. Ã¢ÂÂHere,Ã¢ÂÂ she said,Ã¢ÂÂtake mine, too, for double luck.Ã¢ÂÂ But when she tried to give Cathy thebouquet, she couldnÃ¢ÂÂt let go of it. She opened her hand and discovereda seam where the clutch joined her palm. It was part of her. Funny, shethought, IÃ¢ÂÂm not afraid. Ever since she was little, Anne had feared thatsome day she would suddenly realize she wasnÃ¢ÂÂt herself anymore. Itwas a dreadful notion that sometimes oppressed her for weeks: knowingyou werenÃ¢ÂÂt yourself. But her sims didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to mind it. She hadabout three dozen Annes in her album, from age twelve on up. Hersims tended to be a morose lot, but they all agreed it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt so bad, thelife of a sim, once you got over the initial shock. The first moments ofdisorientation are the worst, they told her, and they made her promisenever to reset them back to default. Otherwise, theyÃ¢ÂÂd have to workeverything through from scratch. So Anne never reset her sims whenshe shelved them. She might delete a sim outright for whatever reason,but she never reset them, because you never knew when youÃ¢ÂÂd wake upone day a sim yourself. Like today.The other Anne joined them. She was sagging a little. Ã¢ÂÂWell,Ã¢ÂÂ shesaid to Anne.Ã¢ÂÂIndeed!Ã¢ÂÂ replied Anne.Ã¢ÂÂTurn around,Ã¢ÂÂ said the other Anne, twirling her hand, Ã¢ÂÂI want tosee.Ã¢ÂÂAnne was pleased to oblige. Then she said, Ã¢ÂÂYour turn,Ã¢ÂÂ and theother Anne modeled for her, and she was delighted how the gownlooked on her, though the goggles somewhat spoiled the effect. Maybethis can work out, she thought, I am enjoying myself so. Ã¢ÂÂLetÃ¢ÂÂs go seeus side-by-side,Ã¢ÂÂ she said, leading the way to the mirror on the wall.The mirror was large, mounted high, and tilted forward so you sawyourself as from above. But simulated mirrors cast no reflections, andAnne was happily disappointed.Ã¢ÂÂOh,Ã¢ÂÂ said Cathy, Ã¢ÂÂLook at that.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂLook at what?Ã¢ÂÂ said Anne.Ã¢ÂÂGrandmaÃ¢ÂÂs vase,Ã¢ÂÂ said the other Anne. On the mantel beneaththe mirror stood AnneÃ¢ÂÂs most precious possession, a delicate vase cutfrom pellucid blue crystal. AnneÃ¢ÂÂs great-great-great-grandmother hadcommissioned the Belgian master, Bollinger, the finest glass maker insixteenth-century Europe, to make it. Five hundred years later, it was asperfect as the day it was cut.Ã¢ÂÂIndeed!Ã¢ÂÂ said Anne, for the sim vase seemed to radiate an innerlight. Through some trick or glitch of the simogram, it sparkled like alake under moonlight, and, seeing it, Anne felt incandescent.After a while, the other Anne said, Ã¢ÂÂWell?Ã¢ÂÂ Implicit in this questionwas a whole standard set of questions that boiled down toÃ¢ÂÂshallI keep you or delete you now? For sometimes a sim didnÃ¢ÂÂt take. Sometimesa sim was cast while Anne was in a mood, and the sim sufferedirreconcilable guilt or unassuagable despondency and had to be mercifullydestroyed. It was better to do this immediately, or so all the Anneshad agreed.And Anne understood the urgency, what with the reception still inprogress and the bride and groom, though frazzled, still wearing theirfinery. They might do another casting if necessary. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂll be okay,Ã¢ÂÂ Annesaid. Ã¢ÂÂIn fact, if itÃ¢ÂÂs always li…
getting to know you stories by david marusek
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Answer: After all the angels returned to HeavenÃÂ ÃÂ (Luke 2:15)