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James Patrick Kelly represents the human side of cyberpunk and Surprise Party is the first collection of his short stories ever published in dual language, English and Italian. It features the following stories: Bernardo’s House, Surprise Party, The Promise of Space, Declaration, Yukui!, The Chimp of the Popes and One Sister, Two Sisters, Three.
“Surprise party” is an introspective story seen through the eyes of an actress who offers a vivid immersion in a future where celebrities “guest” their fans directly in their minds. But what gift awaits the famous Mercedes Nunez for her fiftieth birthday? And who’s the mysterious fan observing every move she makes during the surprise party that her close friends have prepared for her?
In “The Promise of Space” the repeated visits to the hospital of Kirk Anderson’s wife reveal a touching, poignant story. In fact, due to the prolonged exposure to extreme environmental conditions in space, Kirk Anderson has lost many of his intellectual faculties and memory; however, an artificial intelligence makes up for these deficiencies thanks to the incredible amount of recordings that Kirk himself has captured before leaving for the last space mission. It would seem an acceptable solution, unless his wife Zoe, a science fiction writer, is not satisfied to talk to an augmented simulation of Kirk, which leads her to make a very difficult choice for the future of their relationship.