We Are Satellites

Sci-fi novelist Sarah Pinsker's new book deals with the ways technology shapes how we conceive of the inner self.


On the surface, sci-fi novelist Sarah Pinsker's sophomore effort is about how new technologies disrupt, improve, and challenge our relationships with family, coworkers, and schoolmates. But it's really about how technology shapes who we are as individuals—not merely changing how we interact with the world around us but also how we conceive of the inner self.

If that sounds like a lot, don't worry. We Are Satellites is grounded in the revolving perspectives of Pinsker's four main characters—a lesbian couple and their two children—living in a not-too-distant future where Pilots, small neurological implants that allow users to become hypercompetent multitaskers, are widely adopted. The son and one of his mothers get the implant. The other mom and daughter have ideological and medical reasons for refusing to do so.

Like Pinsker's first novel (A Song for a New Day) and many of her excellent short stories, We Are Satellites works because it world-builds from the inside out. Technology can do a lot of things, but it can't change the fact that we're all alone inside our own heads.