SFFF KIT Challenge: Near future scifi (October 2017)
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A future vision of Paris - the year 2050
Welcome everyone to October's Near-future scifi reading challenge. I went searching for a positive vision of our world in the near future and loved all the images of a very green Paris at the link above.
Here's an explanation of this genre that sums it up fairly well:
Near-future SF keeps things local; earth-bound. The reason I find these stories interesting is that they are a way to look at our own society and technology, only a step into the future. The best books are extrapolations of current technologies and situations that seem like maybe they might already be possible. In some near-future SF the technological revolution is just starting. In others it is well underway. But there are those who remember the way it used to be, in generations not so distant. Maybe their granny lived a different way. The struggle isn’t against an alien menace, it’s against ourselves and the technology we bring into the world and the way that technology sometimes outstrips our ability as a society to cope with change.
The Official UN-official SFF/SFFF-KIT for 2017 thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/233035
A few books that fit this genre include:
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
Robert Sawyer's WWW trilogy- Wake, Watch, Wonder
Peter F. Hamilton's Greg Mandel trilogy: Mindstar rising, A Quantum Murder, The Nano Flower
Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash & Reamde
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
and there's lots of YA:
Cory Doctorow's Little Brother
M.T. Anderson's Feed
Ship breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
I haven't read much scifi this year but I did put The Windup Girl on my 'must read' pile, so will hopefully either read or listen to this one in October.
I'm planning to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is set in the year 2044.
I am also going to be reading Paolo Bacigalupi as I have chose to read The Water Knife for this theme. It is about climate change and water rights in a near-future version of Arizona.
I recently read Unwind and quite liked it, which would fit this theme (YA near-future sci fi in which parents can sign their bad kids up to be "unwound" -- disassembling them piece by piece and donating all their parts to others -- a good story with hard themes around bodily autonomy).
I saw The Word Exchange at the library today, it has an interesting premise though not so stellar reviews. Anyone read it?
>13 majkia:, Awesome--thanks! I've been meaning to read it for ages :)
>11 whitewavedarling: >12 Kristelh: I'm not able to pass judgement on all the books suggested, some will fit into several scifi niches. I think much cyberpunk, dystopian, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic will fit.
I might just pick up Malevil which is set in the 1970s but was near-future dystopian scifi at the time it was written.
My first read of the month was for this theme and The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi was excellent. A stylish, dark thriller with enough real life facts to be really scary. This author never disappoints me.
I am halfway through The Execution Channel. This book, written in 2009, is so eerily reflective of today's geopolitical world that it's making me even more anxious when I watch/listen to news.
I read (audio) Feed by M.T. Anderson. This is a young adult book, winner of Golden Duck Award for Hal Clement Award for Young Adult (2003), Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2002), National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature (2002), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Fiction (2003). The audio gives a real clear picture of the feed. The story was good book about consumerism and technology and loss of empathy for others and concerns about the world. Too much swearing and....
I have been wondering: would Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro work for this?
>20 MissWatson: I think it would though the book doesn’t tell us a time when it is occurring we know it is sometime in the not so distant future and it is on earth.
>21 Kristelh: Thanks. Now seems to be a good time to read it, with the Nobel laurels still fresh.
>20 MissWatson: I have finished Never let me go, and I'm a little puzzled. The copyright notice says Ishiguro published this in 2005, and at the beginning there's a note saying it takes place in England in the late 1990s, so it's not exactly near future, is it?
Then again, what he describes did not happen. I sincerely hope so, what makes this book so great is how Ishiguro convinces you that this is a true story.
Seeing as we've yet to send an actual manned mission to Mars then I'm pretty sure that The Martian counts for this challenge. I'll try and get a review written at some point in time but my home computer has finally bit the dust. I'm hoping just a power supply issue which I'll have a go at replacing when I get the time but working away from home a lot at the moment doesn't give me much of it. Some time off coming up after the weekend though so hopefully then.
I was going through my audible backlog and found, American War: A Novel (by Omar El Akkad; narrated by Dion Graham.) I was excited that it fit the ALPHAkit letter for the month, "A," but then was even more pleased when I found out it took place in the near future! Even though it is dystopian and runs counter to the rather bright, optimistic vision in the original post, I highly recommend it. The world-building was excellent, playing on a realistic "what-if" set of circumstances: a backdrop of extreme climate change, a fossil fuel ban, and the assassination of a president. The US is launched into a second civil war, and one family's daughter in the Red country becomes radicalized. It is a thought-provoking near-future dystopia, and Dion Graham lends a great performance, creating a varied and authentic cast of characters. Four strong stars all around. (★★★★)
>29 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Nice review. I'll have to look out for this one.
I finished Walkaway by Cory Doctorow, which is a very thought-provoking look at economics and societal structure in a near-future setting where there is an increasing separation between the unemployed and the wealthy elite. There are a few crazy far-future ideas here, but most of the book is scarily believable.
I also finished Chain of Events by Fredrik T. Olsson, about kidnapped scientists trying to solve an encrypted message amidst a plague-like crisis.
My final book for this month's challenge is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, a YA book about a teen recovering from a serious car accident, and the ethics surrounding the biotechnology used to keep her alive.
I finished listening to the audiobook of Feed today. I found it all the more frightening because it was so probable...
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