Monday, April 11, 2016

Twelve Tomorrows

I read the 4th edition of "Twelve Tomorrows", published by MIT's Technology Review magazine. As in past years, it is a very good collection.

The Stross story, "Life's a Game", explores the end(game) of gamification as drolly as you would expect. "All the Childhood You Can Afford" by Daniel Suarez paints a picture of a very different and unique type of future dystopia. The John Kessel story "Consolation" features a global warming dystopia that is quite possible - and, while there is some degree of schadenfreude in southerners and particularly Texans as illegal aliens in a north that is now part of Canada, one hopes nonetheless that we don't go there. "The Design Doyenne Defeats the Dullness" by Paula Antonelli finally gives us a post-scarcity future, with art of course reigning, and presiding over a ritual suicide.

I was disappointed but not particularly surprised that there were quite a few more dystopias than utopias. The only story not mainly dystopian was the Antonelli.

But the last story kind of threw me. It was titled "The Ancient Engineer", by Bruce Sterling, who is a great author and futurist, and who edited this collection. The story is about a 2nd century Roman engineer??? So, I'm not sure what he was thinking in giving us "11 Tomorrows & 1 Yesterday".

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