“He had been raised in the impossibly tall asteroid forests of Ebb, flitting between crystalline trees on invisible wings while the Galactic Core seared the skies above him. Years later, fighting the British in the Revolutionary War or hunting with his pride on the plains of New Africa, he could still feel phantom tinglings from those wings in the moments before sleep, though they had long since been abandoned in favor of less juvenile forms. And yet often he realdreamed of drifting through a million scintillating branches, the only sound his racing heart.”

A short story about the retreat of the super-rich to VR paradises and the overlooked effect of that retreat on the ones left behind, Shutdown¬†was featured in the March 2003 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, and was later selected for that publication’s 2003 “Best Of” audiobook compilation. It was called “the best of this issue” by Tangent Online, and John Joseph Adams, then assistant editor of F&SF, called it “brilliant… I don’t recall wavering at all in my decision to set that one aside [from the slush pile] because of how strongly I felt about its merit.”

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