Universal Love by Alexander Weinstein – A Review

Universal Love: Stories by Alexander Weinstein
Short Stories | Science Fiction
Published by Henry Holt & Company
Released 21st January 2020
Goodreads | Amazon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Technology plays an ever-growing part in our lives. Most of us are so addicted to our phones or laptops that it’s hard for us to fathom not having them. The internet, our phones, and the satellites moving through space all help us connect to the rest of the world. We share information and news. People have access to resources they wouldn’t have otherwise. Technology had undoubtedly improved our world.

As we all know, however, technology is far from perfect. We can easily become addicted to its use, oftentimes to the detriment of our real lives. There are a lot of questions we have to ask ourselves as technology continues to grow in our lives, such as how much privacy to sacrifice.

Author Alexander Weinstein

In Universal Love: Stories, author Alexander Weinstein places the reader in a near-future inundated with technology and both the positives and negatives of technology on our relationships. While many of the stories are in the realm of science fiction, the technology feels close at hand.

As I read these eleven stories, I found myself living through the ethical ramifications of the characters. In my favorite story, “Purple Heart,” a father and son play a video game that takes place in real life, fighting terrorists in a distant land. With the increased use of drones in modern warfare, this could easily already be happening. A child playing a game, however, might struggle to understand the gravity of the situation at large.

In another story, “The Year of Nostalgia,” a grieving father allows his daughters to create a holographic version of his late wife. After doing this, one of their daughters discovers the unknown past of her mother, which seems very out-of-character. One moment from this story that’s stuck with me is how the father, after spending time with the holographic wife, almost seems to prefer this “new” version of her better than who she was when she was alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed Alexander Weinstein’s glimpses into what could easily be our very near future. I find myself in the same situation as many others: loving technology while simultaneously being wary of it. The stories collected in Universal Love play on these feelings and create scenarios that leave you questioning how you’d react in such a situation, and which also leaves you with a hesitancy about where technology is taking our relationships and lives in the future.

Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way effects my opinions.


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