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Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene

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Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene

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Author: Paul J. McAuley
Publisher: Asimov's Science Fiction, 2023

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Book Type: Novella
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Dying Earth
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Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene by Paul McAuley was first published in Asimov's Science Fiction, March-April 2023.

Rose is discharged from the army after an encounter with a psych bomb leaves her with lasting trauma and occasional intrusive hallucinations. She washes up in a commune of almost hippie-ish "oldsters," who are making a living in a hot and humid marsh near the mouth of the now-flooded River Thames. Rose is attracted by rumors of "soul chips" and a man who inherited his séance-giving aunt's house who might be looking for them. She meets him and that sets off an unexpected path of investigation -- he doesn't particularly care about them, but someone does, enough to steal ones from his house whenever his aunt's projection system for the housed AI "souls" is turned on. Rose dreams of finding someone to buy the remaining stash and get enough money for treatment at a clinic in the Czech Republic rumored to be able to actually cure people with her kind of trauma. But is that the way of life in the Anthropocene?

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