Wednesday, January 15, 2014

21st Century Science Fiction: Part One

I am reading a anthology of new Sci-Fi writers, 21st Century Science Fiction.  This is really a great book to pick up if you are looking to expand your Sci-Fi author stable.

Here's a review of the first 3 short stories.  I'll follow up with more as I read them.

Infinities by Vandana Singh


A small time mathematician in a small town in India rekindles his interest in the pursuit of mathematical proof.  A discovery he has chased since childhood challenges his faith and belief in Allah while he is surrounded by ethic/religious fighting.

My Take

Interesting for the inner monologue and desires that drive those passionate about math and religion.  The interfaith relationships and the strains of those in India is an interesting look at the insanity that religion can wreck on communities with various faiths.

Rogue Farm by Charles Stross


It's a not so distant future.  Modern day ideas of genetic code swapping and the ability to morph the cellular structure of other living beings has caused a rift in this future society.

There are those that choose a simple way of life, living off the land using technology and hard work.  There are others that have reached an "enlightened" state of being who live off the land through advancements that allow them to control the very DNA makeup of the land to suit their purposes.

My Take

Mind altering.

I loved this one.  Lots of modern science that I feel is on the cusp of turning into something bigger is played out in a rural setting.  Feels like this could be only years away or centuries into the future.

I will be looking into more work from Charles Stross.  He has a knack for tying many technologies together into a picture of a future that is grounded in a story that could be pulled from todays papers.  Rural folks just trying to live in peace while city folks encroach upon their land with no thought given to the devastation that their encroachment can cause. 

The Gambler by Paolo Bacigalupi


A refugee to the United States trying to make ends meat in the future news reporting world.  His ideals get in the way of his ability to shine and threaten his job.  Will he take the easy road or will he gamble one more time?

My Take

Great, but isn't this just the world today?  The only thing I think separates us from this world is maybe the tech to be able to control the story so well  and the direct link of cause and effect to stock price.

I feel we are at a cross roads where more and more physical jobs are going to disappear and more people will make their livelihood online.  This offers a glimpse of where ad revenue and sensationalism is taking the combined human conscience online.

Will our ability to drive profit for a corporation tie us more closely to our immigration status?  Lots of interesting questions raised from the stand point of a foreigner working in the United States like myself.

In the end, remember folks, we want happy stories, the 3 S's (sex, stupidity, and schadenfreude), nothing sad or truly informative.  Please, I hope we are not headed here.

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