My short science fiction story “As An Absence,” which looks at how our ideas of work, community, story and self change as we spend more time online, was featured in the June issue of New Orbit Magazine, which regularly publishes collections of “uncomfortable little futures.” They also published my essay on the same subjects, but I think the story’s better, though not as good as the classic story quoted in the title. (Yes, this is December, but the June issue just went up on the New Orbit website. Perhaps they are not attempting to encourage e-commerce – a perfectly valid concern given some of the issues they explore.)
This was a somewhat uncomfortable story to write. I found my main character fairly frustrating, but also saw myself strongly in her – including her distractedness and her constant nervous attempts to check out what other people might be thinking of her. Her life begins to change when she realizes what she is actually doing with it. Mine, on the other hand, suggests that realizing is a good first step but it may not be enough.