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Comments for The Voluntary State
The second story in Science Fiction: The Best of 2004 is "The Voluntary State" by Christopher Rowe.
Imagine a modern day Philip K. Dick story set in Tennessee where cars are sentient and everything and everyone requires a license. Now imagine freedom fighters in Kentucky trying to bring down Tennessee. That's the basic idea behind "The Voluntary State."
From reading through reviews online, I gather that the story was very popular when it was published. I personally didn't enjoy it as much as "The Best Christmas Ever." There were just too many off the wall details crammed into this short story for me to parse. I think the story could have worked better if it had been longer, either as a novella or as a full novel.
If you don't want to buy the book, you can read the story online.
Read the review at The ED SF Project,