Man Booker-longlisted author Wu Ming-Yi finally presents us with a collection of short stories three years in the making, in which humans, nature, and technology invade and shape each other’s worlds in many ways at once.
Prizewinning author Wu Ming-Yi, author of The Man with the Compound Eyes and The Stolen Bicycle, brings forth his newest literary creation, three years in the making: a collection of six short stories that uncover the energy, agency, and complex interdependence between humans, nature, and technology. Crafted with Wu’s singular eye for detail and emotional connection, this collection reminds us why Wu is such an important voice in this era of climate crisis.
Within these tales, we meet a host of complicated, conflicted characters, many of whom have been saddled with difficulty or trauma for their entire life: a retired lawyer who loses his wife to an indiscriminate murder, a doctor with Asperger’s, a worm biologist with congenital arthritis. These wounded humans find energy and challenge in a natural world that speaks to them in ways the human world cannot. Meanwhile, technological metaphors for nature like virtual reality and “cloud” computing recreate worlds with their own balms and dangers, like a virus that can analyze cloud content, create profiles of users, and give other people access to said profiles.
There are no blank canvases, no true wastelands in Wu Ming-Yi’s literature. Nature is not a resource; it is a living complex of agency, change, and deep consciousness. That potentiality imbues his writing with a magical quality that is also completely natural.