If you’re feeling down about the state of the world and need some way to imagine it getting better, you could read “Iteration,” John Kessel. Enzo is a grumpy checker at Tyler’s Superstore surrounded by grumpy people, until he receives an email that says: “Re-invent the world.” Bit by bit, he does, and so do an unknowable number of others. There’s a lovely sense of mystery about what force is driving the iterations.
The story is interwoven with commentary about the kind of iteration that converges on a result, but it reminds me more of deterministic chaos. Each small change builds on the previous ones in ways that are completely unpredictable. You have to play the game to see how it will come out.
Better, we hope.