Friday, December 30, 2011

Maneki Neko, by Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling is one of my favorites, and I try to read whatever I can find of his.  Maneki Neko got a Hugo nomination for best short story in 1999.  When it was written we were on the cusp of the Web.  I was on Compuserve at the time--there were several proprietary networks that worked sort of like the Internet was going to. 

So Sterling imagines people organizing into mutual aid networks, with computers that keep track of the favors people do for each other.  You do little favors for people, without knowing them or knowing why.  Sterling portrays it as pretty much positive, but at the same time gives a pretty good picture of how it could be subverted.  It's a really interesting short read, and with four stars you should go read it.

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