The Various Mansions of the Universe • 2014 • near future SF story by Bruce Sterling

★★★1/2

Meta: ISFDB. This Near SF short story appeared in the 2014 anthology Twelve Tomorrows, my review here.

Sterling takes the title from 1884 Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods: „The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment!“

In fact, it is a SF version of this American classic novel.

A French woman dies in an accident caused by United Korean president. She is brought back to life within a post-human body together with her husband. Those two wander North America in the 2060s to find a house they can call home. Before a setting of post-oil, post U.S., post nation states they find a wilderness hut, a New York lighthouse, a Saskatchewan intelligent block home: „We don’t care what mankind thinks is real. We’re content to live in the fiction. All the best people do.“

I’m a fan of Bruce Sterling, love many of his stories. The only thing is: This narration is missing a story. I don’t know if it happened before the prose or is just outside. But the ideas are lovely and I like the characters. So, it’s mainly the ideas and the smoothly flowing prose.

 

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