Everything Belongs to the Future: a tale of pharmadystopian, immortal gerontocrats
Laurie Penny's first science fiction book, Everything Belongs to the Future, is available to the public as of today: if you've followed her work, you're probably expecting something scathing, feminist, woke, and smart as hell, and you won't be disappointed -- but you're going to get a lot more, besides.
Penny's story -- a novella from the Tor.com imprint -- is set in the last years of the 21st century, just as the very first ageless immortals are approaching their centenary. They are the beneficiaries of a drug that halts aging, a $100/day pill that you need to take every day -- a pill that revolutionizes the relationship of wealthy elites to the world. Once it's clear that the rich can live forever, patent law is immediately amended to provide for eternal royalties to the pharma company behind the drug, and climate change is suddenly a deadly serious business, with no expense spared for remediation. Inheritance laws and the relationship of rich children to their parents become very different indeed, and then there's the rest of us.
What if you don't have $400K/year to spare on anti-aging meds? Well, you could apply for a grant. The smartest scientists, the most successful artists, the people who amuse and assist the hyper-wealthy are all eligible for permanent, endless, lifetime supplies of the drugs. If you don't fit the bill, well, it's a meritocracy, isn't it? Try and raise some kids who amuse and entertain the super-wealthy and maybe they'll bud off a new immortal line. Follow your dreams, kids!
Penny's protagonists are a ragtag group of protesters, anarcho-syndicalist crustypunks who steal anti-aging meds from the rich students and dons of Oxford University and hand them out for free in the slums where the caretakers and janitors and waiters and sex-workers live. Unbeknownst to these resistors, one of their number is actually a police undercover agent, a snitch who's much older than he seems -- thanks to the anti-aging meds he receives as part of his compensation -- and who is sexually involved with one of them, besotted with her, planning to take her with him into a life everafter just before the police sweep in an take the rest of them into custody.
The scariest, most enduring dystopias walk a fine line between parable and prediction. Penny erases that line. In this made-up story, the rich speciate from the poor; in our real world, working class lifespans are declining as the one percent live ever longer lives at ever-greater removes from the rest of us. This is no mere literary device. This is a pitiless allegory, calculated to enrage and terrify its readers.
This is a book that is smart and merciless in its politics, expert in its storytelling, and uncomfortable in its ability to get under your skin.
Everything Belongs to the Future [Laurie Penny/Tor.com]
(Banner image: :Oxford Skyline Panorama from St Mary's Church, David Iliff, CC-BY-SA)
In Switzerland, the state-owned Swissmint says today that a 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches) gold coin created with Albert Einstein’s face on it is the smallest in the world.
Researchers in Berlin claim to have succeeded in re-creating the sound of the voice of an Egyptian person who died 3,000 years ago, and was entombed as a mummy.
The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend.
The life of an entrepreneur is rarely easy, regardless of whether you’re running Google or have yet to get your first idea off the ground. So why not make your life easier with a lifetime subscription to Zuitte 50+ Tools for Entrepreneurs while it’s over 90% off? With over 50 powerful tools that help everyday […]
When it comes to top-quality kitchen gadgets that won’t break the bank, nothing beats Gourmia. These eight best-selling Gourmia tools will help you take your culinary prowesses to the next level, and each one is available for an additional 15% off when you enter the coupon code COOKSAVE15 at checkout. 1. Gourmia GTF7350 6-in-1 Multi-Function […]
Traditional headphones are overrated, especially now that this HumBird Bone-Conducting Speaker allows you to enjoy a rich and completely unique listening experience depending on where you place it. A must-have item for true audiophiles looking to switch up their usual listening routine, this compact speaker uses cutting-edge bone conduction technology in order to deliver a […]