Review | The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

Unless you want to be entertained, intrigued, and possibly disturbed, do not read this book.

On the other hand, if you enjoy thought provoking short fiction, then download a copy of Guy Hasson’s The Emoticon Generation today. A collection of short stories that seem to focus on human nature when technology allows us to play with the rules of physics, each is an interesting tale with a twist.

In one we see a controversial national war hero confronted with a technology that in one moment vindicates his version of events while simultaneously forcing him to reconsider history’s premise.  Another story questions what it means to be human and sentient. A third allows a man to revisit his past, with results that are disturbing.

The stories fascinated and intrigued. I saw echoes of Philip K. Dick or the Twilight Zone in several.

Ironically, the title story was the selection that I struggled with the most. In it, the author poses himself as a journalist who becomes interested in the effect of emoticons on rising generations. Satirically, it wonders if too many words are unnecessary, and if we can communicate meaning just as well, if not better, with smiley faces. Then, in just a couple of paragraphs, the author concludes that, no, it is the power of language that has allow great engineering feats, Shakespeare, and the progress of the human race, and the failure of language presages our decline. I laud Hasson for writing so convincing that I almost thought he was serious–until the last few paragraphs–but I felt cheated that he didn’t respond to his own arguments. On the other hand, it is perhaps a tribute to his ability to satirize emoticons that his arguments for simpler language were so simple and sarcastic that response is perhaps unnecessary.

If creativity, an eye for human nature, and insight are strengths Hasson’s stories can rely upon, an editor might be the single thing to improve them. While some stories clearly showed sharp and efficient use of language, others rambled beyond when Hasson had made his point.

As I opened with, go pick up a copy of The Emoticon Generation for your ereader. If Hasson’s stories don’t make you think, then you may not be paying attention.

Attack of the Books! is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, a month long quest to post every day. Each day should match a letter of the alphabet. Today is the letter G (as in The Emoticon Generation or Guy Hasson).


About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.

  • I felt the same way. Thought provoking, intriguing, and occasionally disturbing, but in a good way! And I struggled with the opening entry as well, but enjoyed each story after that more and more.

    • It’s true…the stories got better with each one.

  • Actually, I really liked the first story. I think that’s because of my children and so it resounded with me. It’s funny the different things that you take from each story.
    Lynn 😀

    • Well, there’s no accounting for taste, and I can appreciate differences. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  • My son just read it and loved it.

    Returning visit from A to Z.

    Transformed Nonconformist

    • Did your son have a favorite story? Thanks for stopping by.

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  • This sounds as if I should have read it when I was training the younger generation. I have to admit, as I got closer to retirement I realized I was generally out of touch with my students.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

    • Katie, I don’t know that reading it would have helped you with your younger generation…or just solidified your view that they are less articulate than ever.

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  • You had me at ‘echoes of Philip K. Dick’. Sounds like an interesting collection, I will have to check it out!

  • I enjoyed this book too. The first story on the Emoticons had me fooled at first too – thinking this was the author’s personal introduction as to why he was writing fiction or something. I found it clever.

    Hatchling was my favorite of the stories, focused on AI (as so many of his stories do in this collection) and the human responsibility to those AI we create.

    Yes, I was entertained and occasionally disturbed. And I would do it all again.

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