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We Are Satellites  By  cover art

We Are Satellites

By: Sarah Pinsker
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
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Publisher's Summary

"Taut and elegant, carefully introspected and thoughtfully explored." (The New York Times)

From Hugo award-winning author Sarah Pinsker comes a novel about one family and the technology that divides them.

Everybody's getting one. 

Val and Julie just want what’s best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all. 

Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device. 

Before long, the implications are clear for the family and society: Get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it's everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot's powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.

©2021 Sarah Pinsker (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of Buzzfeed’s Best Science Fiction Books of Spring

“Pinsker’s newest is a carefully crafted sci-fi web stretched over an intensely human core...issues of discrimination, ableism, transparency, and more weave together to create an intricately told cautionary tale.” (Booklist, starred review)

“It’s a fascinating novel that explores how technologies can transform family dynamics.” (Buzzfeed)

“Pinsker writes intensely human sci-fi, exploring with nuance and heart the ways technology impacts the emotional lives of her characters...it’s a deeply empathetic story of a family struggling with everyday impossibilities. We Are Satellites will drill a tiny - entirely painless - aperture in the side of your skull, snake its way inside, and rewire how you think about the lines between yourself, technology, and those we love.” (Bob Proehl, author of The Somebody People)

What listeners say about We Are Satellites

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Exceeded my expectations

I read Paul Di Filippo's review of this book in Locus Magazine. He described it as sort of domestic science fiction, and he recommended it. He made it sound pretty good, so I listened.

With all respect to Mr. Di Filippo, I think the book is more than his review said. It's very much a "domestic" book. The protagonists are four members of a family dealing with a technological change across a couple decades. But it's also a bit of a low-key political thriller as different forces vie to promote or suppress the new technology. And I even think this book can be compared to works of SF Grand Master Larry Niven. One of Niven's strengths is what I call Ruthless Consistency: he takes a single new idea and explores the ramifications for his characters and how it shapes their stories--and how they respond. Pinsker has Ruthless Consistency in this book, and it works.

The technology at the center of the book is called the Pilot, a simple brain implant that allows a recipient to essentially multitask, performing many mental tasks at once. This divides the family.

Son Dave wants a Pilot so he doesn't fall behind in school and in life. What he gets is so much more, both good and bad.

Mother Val is a traditionalist, worried about the effects of rampant brain surgery, but also worried about her son falling behind.

Daughter Sophie is an epileptic and thus ineligible to receive a Pilot. She's used to being odd, so at first she doesn't care; but soon she comes to resent a world where people are judged by their Pilot (or lack thereof).

Mother Julie is a fad-conscious gadget freak with a demanding job, where her Congressman boss becomes a strong supporter of Pilots. She feels pressured to get one, but afraid of upsetting Val.

The story starts with the early years of Pilots, when David is a teen; and it follows a decade or more in the family as they face the changes in society--and in their home.

The result is a very satisfying book. It IS domestic, in a sense. There's only one big action scene, while most of the drama is family conflict and worries. That makes it stand out as a smaller, more personal story.

8 people found this helpful

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Sci-fi without shoot em up battles

I appreciate a sci-fi book that does not involve violent battles and the saving of humanity. This is a story set in the fairly near future where brain implants that enhance perceptions become all the rage Is it safe? Is it a good idea?
It's told from the point of view of a "2 Moms" family with 2 teenage kids. I cared about the characters and the well constructed storyline. Fun interesting read. I wasn't sure I like the narrator but she grew on me.

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great book

great book, solid story, good characters. the reader could be a bit better, but I've heard far worse. overall a great book to read or listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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An interesting premise

I have mixed feelings about this book. The premise behind it was worth considering and comparing to other real life issues. Something like Ray Bradbury in that respect. Though well read I found the narrator’s voice bordering on robotic at times, though increasing the speed slightly helped.

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Brilliant

Awesome, Great Story, Loved it. Just enjoyed it. Need more books like these. Wonderful, amazing.