I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein

Overview

The award-nominated stories in this collection will bring memories of the future flooding back. Two new stories and all-new afterwords enliven the past with a touch of the present and that which is yet to come.

You don't need a collection of antique spaceships or a carefully calibrated time machine to share the memories of the final Holocaust survivor. You don't have to jump through the gate between universes ...

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Overview

The award-nominated stories in this collection will bring memories of the future flooding back. Two new stories and all-new afterwords enliven the past with a touch of the present and that which is yet to come.

You don't need a collection of antique spaceships or a carefully calibrated time machine to share the memories of the final Holocaust survivor. You don't have to jump through the gate between universes in search of a lost friend. All you have to do is open your eyes.

You'll remember the future.

The future remembers you.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This hard SF collection wears its heart on its sleeve, along with the various passions (the Holocaust, education, moral dilemmas) of its author. Characters must reconcile their rational objectives with their emotional judgment, intervening to save history's victims ("Time Ablaze") or pleading for humanity's ability to grow up ("Decisions"). The writing is often colorless, like the "transparent" prose of the classic SF writers Burstein idolizes, and the tone is elegiac and nostalgic, but the feelings are real if awkwardly expressed. Original material adds to one connected series and completes Burstein's homages to Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. Burstein may be too close to his models to keep younger readers satisfied, but older fans will admire his dedication to remembering and honoring the past. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981639062
  • Publisher: Apex Publications
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. Burstein won the 1997 Campbell Award. His short fiction, mostly in Analog, has been nominated for ten Hugos and four Nebulas. He and wife Nomi live in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he is a Library Trustee and Town Meeting Member. He has two physics degrees, and attended Clarion. His first collection (I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein) was released in late 2008 by Apex Publications.

For more information about the author visit http://www.mabfan.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Analog, November 2000

Nominee, 2001 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

Nominee, 2001 Nebula Award for Best Short Story

* * * *

"The deniers' window of opportunity will be enhanced in years to come. The public, particularly the uneducated public, will be increasingly susceptible to Holocaust denial as survivors die.... Future generations will not hear the story from people who can say 'this is what happened to me. This is my story." For them it will be part of the distant past and, consequently, more susceptible to revision and denial."

--Deborah Lipstadt,

Denying the Holocaust (1994)

Sarah Jacobson's hands shook as she parked her clunky Volkswagen across the street from the old suburban house in which she had grown up. She sat there, breathing in the gas fumes from the idling engine as she watched the reporters swarm all over the front lawn.

Her boyfriend, Tom Holloway, sat next to her in the passenger seat. He stared at her for a moment, then asked, "Ready?"

Sarah nodded. As she turned off the car's engine, Tom jumped out of the front seat, dashed around the front of the car, and opened the driver's side door for her. For once, she was grateful for the old-fashioned Southern charm. To think, when she'd first met him, she'd resented it.

Well, she didn't resent it now. Tom was positioning himself to fend off the horde of reporters, and she was grateful for that, too. Fortunately, no one had noticed, or else they had not yet connected Sarah to the biggest news story of the week. Tom gave Sarah his hand, and she allowed him to help her out.

She stretched as she got out of the car, feeling the warmth ofthe spring sunlight on her back. How strange that she could enjoy it, on this morning of all mornings. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, listening to a bird singing in the distance.

Tom's voice intruded upon her brief peace. "Shall we?"

She gave him a small smile. "I guess so."

"Okay." Tom looked around, concentrating his gaze on the sea of reporters. "Lot of excitement for a small town on Long Island," he said. Sarah noticed that he was making no effort to suppress his Southern accent; he knew how endearing she found it. "Hard to believe your grandfather's attracting all this attention."

"Yeah," Sarah replied. "I know." She cocked an ear toward the reporters. "Listen."

One radio reporter, close enough to be heard, was speaking into her thumbnail recorder, taping commentary for her story. "This is Paula Dietrich, reporting from Lawrence, Long Island, where Joshua Cohen is dying. Born in Warsaw in the 1920s, Cohen--"

Tom whistled. "He's become a celebrity. Finally got his fifteen minutes of fame."

Sarah shrugged. They'd both studied Warhol. After all, they had both graduated from Harvard with honors. "As far as I'm concerned, he's just my grandfather."

"Yeah, I know," Tom said softly. "Sorry. You sure you're ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be, I guess. If I can survive this, I can survive anything." Sarah grabbed Tom's hand. They walked off the sidewalk onto the path leading up to the front door. She braced herself for the barrage.

One of the reporters glanced in their direction and recognized Sarah. "It's the granddaughter!" he yelled and began running toward them. In seconds, all of the shouting, sweating journalists had descended upon Sarah and Tom. The way they jostled at each other, trying to get better positions for recording their images, reminded Sarah of a plague of locusts come to feed.

"We'd like to ask you--"

"May I ask you--"

"I have a question--"

"How do you feel?"

"Did you ever think--"

Tom shouted above the Babel of voices. "Please, everyone! Sarah just wants to get inside."

Obviously that was not good enough for the reporters. Instead, they used Tom's interruption to create some semblance of order to their questioning. One reporter took the lead, and the others fell silent.

"Ms. Jacobson, Trevor Hunt, USNA Online. Could you tell us what you're going through at the moment?"

Sarah glanced at Tom and shrugged. It would be easier to answer a few of their questions first, she decided, and then go inside. She looked directly into Hunt's right eye, which glowed red with the lens of an implanted camera. "What anyone would go through when her grandfather is dying, I guess."

"But, Ms. Jacobson!" interjected the radio correspondent they had been listening to earlier. "The circumstances of your grandfather's position--"

Sarah interrupted her. "Listen. I know what my grandfather is to the world, but to me, he's just my grandfather. Now let me go say goodbye to him in peace. I promise I'll talk to you--all of you--later."

Apparently chastened, the reporters parted in front of Sarah and Tom, clearing the path to the front door. As they walked up the path, a background murmuring began, like cats growling at each other over their food. The reporters chatted with their colleagues or recorded views for their broadcasts. Tom whispered to Sarah, "I'm really surprised. They're being more courteous than I would have guessed."

No sooner had Tom said that when a small man stepped right in front of them, blocking their way. He brushed back his sandy blond hair and asked, "Ms. Jacobson, why does your family continue to perpetrate this hoax?"

The growling noises of conversation cut off, leaving nothing but the sounds of the cameras and recorders.

At first Sarah thought he was a private citizen, not a member of the media, as he carried no recording devices and his eyes appeared normal. But a second glance exposed something far more sinister. This man wore a memory recorder implant behind his right ear. His audience, whoever they were, would be able to directly interface with his memories of confronting Sarah, over and over again.

As calmly as she could, Sarah said, "Excuse me?"

The man smiled. "I asked, given the fact that your grandfather, who lived a long and healthy life, is now on his deathbed, why does your family feel the need to perpetuate the hoax of the Holocaust?"

Tom stepped forward, shouting, "Now, listen here, you--"

Sarah gently reached out and grabbed Tom's shoulder. "Tom, stop." She turned to the man. "Excuse me, but I didn't catch your name."

"Sorry. Maxwell Schwab, from the Institute for Historical Revision. I'm doing an article for our academic journal." He waved his hand at the other reporters. "We'd like to know why your family has gone to the trouble of inviting the mass media here, pretending to the world that the Holocaust actually happened and that your grandfather was a victim of this fictional event."

Tom pulled at her arm. "Come on, Sarah, we don't need to listen to this shi--this crap."

Sarah resisted. "No, wait." She pivoted her body to face the reporter. "Mr. Schwab?"

"Yes?"

Sarah slapped him on the face, hard, glad she'd studied self-defense. He staggered back and fell onto his backside. Sarah hoped it was painful enough to keep people from playing this memory.

Schwab sat there, unmoving, just staring at Sarah. No one bothered to pick him up.

She turned to Tom. "Now, let's go inside."

No one else stopped them.

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