Dystopian masterpieces: The Strugatski brothers' "Snail On The Slope"

An appropriate book for this time, Soviet-era dystopian fiction grandmasters Boris and Arkady Strugatski considered Snail On The Slope "the most perfect and the most valuable of their works."

Snail on The Slope is comprised of two separate storylines, taking place in and on the edge of The Forest. Together they paint a vivid picture of how modern society is not prepared for the future it is driving towards.

The Bureaucracy has established The Administration on the edge of The Forest. Peretz, a visiting philosopher enthralled with the idea of The Forest but unable to gain clearance to actually see it just wants to leave. Every day he is promised a ride back to civilization, but it never comes. Evicted from the hotel and with his visa revoked, Peretz is suddenly outside a system that doesn't even work when you are ensconced within.

Candide is a survivor of a crashed Administration helicopter in The Forest. Initially, he encounters villagers who appear to be current-ish era humans losing their technology, science, and civilization in a future where physics and biology are evolving faster than they are. Exploring The Forest even slightly more introduces him to new cultures he and the remnants of his humanity could not have predicted or prepared for.

I highly recommend Snail on the Slope.

The Snail on the Slope (Rediscovered Classics) Kindle Editionby Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Olena Bormashenko (Author, Translator) via Amazon Read the rest

Amazon PR accidentally confirms the existence of a fictional dystopian Amazon technology

The New York Times has been publishing a series of "Op-Eds From The Future," giving fiction writers a chance to imagine our hellish circumstances to come. Read the rest

This new fiction anthology is punk as f*ck

A Punk Rock Future is a brand new fiction anthology featuring 25 speculative sci-fi and fantasy writers smashing the State in whatever fantastical futuristic form that it might take. Editor Steve Zisson (not to be confused with Steve Zissou) was smart enough to realize that a good short story is already like a punk song—fast, effective, and brutally DIY, with a fistful of meaning that explodes in your face with pure undistilled emotion. It only made sense to slam the two together.

The anthology features a setlist of writers with all the scene cred you need, including Nebula Award-winner Sarah Pinkser, who just released her debut novel about an illegal underground music scene; Margaret Killjoy, whose book The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award; and Marie Vibbert, who has published some forty-plus short stories and also attended the Clarion Writer's Workshop with me (where BoingBoing's own Cory Doctorow was our instructor).

We might be trapped in the dystopian cyberpunk hellhole of a future we were promised is children, but another world is possible. So check out A Punk Rock Future, or there's no future for you. Read the rest

JN Chaney's 'Variant Saga' is a wild ride across multiple universes

I recently tore through JN Chaney's Variant Saga, a four novel series that starts as dystopian sci-fi and turns into a fantastic first contact adventure. Read the rest