Note to Self: An Education by Mark Lingane
|Note to Self: An Education by Mark Lingane|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A techno dystopian retelling of HG Wells's The Time Machine. After a youth-restoring reset, Kry only knows what the short note from his earlier self has told him. Uncompromising as ever, Mark Lingane takes on a journey about vanity, social media, and the quest for youth.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 113||Date: December 2020|
|Publisher: Insync Books|
In Kry's world, the discovery that human cells replace themselves every seven years results in a cascade of medical "advances": in 2030 it's found that radiation can return cells back to their regeneration state seven years before, in 2035 it's possible to cure cancerous tumours but with the side effect of erasing seven years of memory, by 2045 the cosmetics industry is using the same technique to "de-age" their customers by seven years. In a society obsessed with image and youth, who needs memories?
After a youth-restoring reset, Kry only knows what the short note from Kry's earlier self has revealed: not much. He has no idea what he will find outside its doors. Confused, curious but above all hungry, he ventures out. What he finds is confounding. People who stare at shards of glass in their hands and take endless images but who rarely speak, and when they do it's in a short, truncated dialect. Words in this time mean little, apparently. Clothes are minimal too - everybody wants to display their best assets, after all. More confusing still are the billboards and messages everywhere, coming from someone called the General Manager. Who is he?
Of course, Kry discovers there's a lot more to this strange world than endless selfies for credit. But I'll leave you to discover for yourself how this retelling of HG Wells's The Time Machine builds on its source material.
Mark Lingane has a knack for drawing you in with his stories. This short, sharp novella is no different. Right from Kry's awakening in the bright, clincial medical centre, you know this journey is going to perturb but you're irresistibly drawn to find out exactly how. If you've read The Time Machine you'll have some idea but of course there will be contemporary twists to confound you along the way. The Eolens are pitiful and unsettling people. Locked to their screens with seemingly only two emotional registers, screaming in disapproval or moaning in pleasure, and a childlike devotion to the General Manager, we really do have to wonder where selfie culture and social media "brands" are taking us. And why on earth do we all want to be adolescents forever? Are we really this vain?
If you like speculative fiction of the baleful variety, Note to Self is the book for you. It's a startling and impactful read. Tight, sharp, full of clever observations that will send chills down your spine, it's an accurate skewering of selfie culture, exploited labour, human vanity and the obsession with youth. Underneath it, you might spy the real, genuine, human desire for meaningful connections. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can read more book reviews or buy Note to Self: An Education by Mark Lingane 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 Note to Self: An Education by Mark Lingane at Amazon.com.
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