One/Zero by Kathleen Ann Goonan

One/Zero by Kathleen Ann Goonan
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (41 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A near future novelette about the surge in AI that might bring hope to humanity if used well, in Kathleen Ann Goonan’s One/Zero.

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Change is difficult for everyone at times.

This tale did a very good job of balancing the perspectives of its two narrators, a senior citizen named Mai and a teenage girl named Vida. Mai lived a quiet, modest life in the United States, while Vida struggled to keep herself and her young brother alive in refugee camps in Kurdistan after their parents and grandmother were killed. It never would have occurred to me how much these two characters would have in common, but I kept finding small moments in one of their lives that reminded me so much of the other.

I would have liked to see more time spent explaining the technological advancements in this vision of the future. There was some fascinating stuff happening with the way certain types of technology were influencing how people went about their daily lives. It sure would have been helpful to have a better understanding of how it worked and how long people had been using it.

The ending left me wishing for more. While it did provide answers to some of my most pressing questions, I appreciated the fact that it left other questions up to the reader to figure out for ourselves. This could easily be expanded into a full-length novel, and I’d eagerly read it if that ever happens. With that being said, I was satisfied with where it ended.

One/Zero should be read by anyone who has ever had mixed feelings about how technology is changing the lives of average people.

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