22 Ideas About The Future by Benjamin Greenaway and Stephen Oram (Editors)
|22 Ideas About The Future by Benjamin Greenaway and Stephen Oram (Editors)|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A brilliantly-readable book - and it's one you really should read - and then read again. The future might not look like this but some of it is worryingly possible. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 154||Date: September 2022|
|External links: Author's website|
Our future will be more complex than we expected. Instead of flying cars, we got night-vision killer drones and automated elderly care with geolocation surveillance bracelets to track grandma.
I've got a couple of confessions to make. I'm not keen on short stories as I find it easy to read a few stories and then forget to return to the book. There's got to be a very compelling hook to keep me engaged. Then there's science fiction: far too often it's the technology which takes centre stage along with the world-building. It's human beings who fascinate me: the technology and the world scape are purely incidental. So, what did I think of a book of twenty-two science fiction short stories? Well, I loved it.
Control over our lives has been subverted and in 22 Ideas About The Future we look at what's happening in four different areas. I'll resist the temptation to tell you about each story as we could end up with a review that's longer than the book: it would be too easy to rave. In Technologisation of Healthcare, Virtually Dead by Jule Owen makes a stunning opening for the section and the book. Mike Benz finds himself cancelled without recourse when the health-plan watch he wears malfunctions and declares him dead. Even his home is no longer his. It seemed all too worryingly possible.
Recovery of the High Street opens with Viral Advertising by George Jacobs. The High Street has become something entirely different, home to the big names of commerce but Ren wouldn't let the high street kill the true independents. We've seen the seeds of that already. Togetherness by Mark Huntley-James had me howling with laughter as his deliveries were rerouted around the country before they could get to his local pick-up point. Then I heard about an organisation which is - even now - finding that its post can take three weeks to arrive for similar reasons. The Time-Travelling Milkman by Jane Norris is a delightful story of how the distribution of milk has - and could - evolve.
The Fabric of Community is my favourite section with Friday Night at the Horse and Zoom by Peter Baran extending the way that zoom calls were used in the pandemic. My absolute favourite from the book is Accept all Cookes by Liam hogan - because it gave me hope.
The Digitisation of Central Money goes further than looking at the possible development of Bitcoin and its siblings. I loved Eva Pascoe's call for revolution in The Summoned and the introduction to shame laundering in Stephen Oram's Failing Fathers when the descendants of those who have done other communities wrong are having to physically pay off the debt decades or centuries later. My favourite is Heartbeat by Wendy M Grossman where health data is linked to payment data - and actions restricted in certain circumstances. This is brilliantly written and I could feel the fear of the heroine coming off the page.
Each section is pulled together by an Afterword. They're all thought-provoking and highlight points that you might have missed: I loved the way that they pushed my mind into unvisited corners.
In most short story collections, some are weaker than others. In 22 Ideas About The Future I found some stories which I preferred but they're all strong and the quality of the writing is excellent. Themes of the present are extended into the future and we see how our world could develop. I looked at the question of 'data' differently: we donate it too readily without appreciating the purposes for which it might be used: the winner is always the data scraper, rarely the data giver. I'll always remember that ethical data is an oxymoron. It's a different way to look at the near future and the stories free our minds to consider the inequalities embedded in our economic system and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. Reading was a real pleasure.
For more science fiction short stories we can recommend Exhalation by Ted Chiang.
22 Ideas About The Future by Benjamin Greenaway and Stephen Oram (Editors) is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2022.
You can read more book reviews or buy 22 Ideas About The Future by Benjamin Greenaway and Stephen Oram (Editors) at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy 22 Ideas About The Future by Benjamin Greenaway and Stephen Oram (Editors) at Amazon.com.
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