Monday, January 16, 2017

What Might The Future Bring?

As the world around us changes, it's intriguing to read about changed worlds, and to wonder what will be. For me it's particularly intriguing since the books I wrote as a teen all involved drastically changed worlds - perhaps I was writing dystopias before I knew the word. But I was writing as a teen and it's probably just as well those strange tomes never saw light of day, though some of the short stories weren't bad.

Anyway, here are some book reviews of tales set in "different" worlds where people are recognizably ourselves, but situations are changed. Grab a coffee and see what you think.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the screenplay by J. K. Rowling, was kind of a must-read, though I haven't yet seen the movie. The Cursed Child was a serious disappointment by comparison. Rowling's screenplay is clean and tight, uses all the right terms (and explains them for the uninformed), and, while not absorbing the reader into characters' interior lives, as a novel might, does bring scenes to vivid life, as long as the reader has a modicum of imagination. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I loved it. Enjoy with some elegantly complex four star coffee.

Next is The Amber Project by J.N. Chaney, an intriguing middle grade novel set in a dystopian future where surviving humans live in an underground city that's gradually decaying. Should the government concentrate on maintenance or seek to save the future; should it care for the people it has, or steal their freedoms for the sake of those who come next; should it be honest if honesty hurts? These questions and more arise in the course of a thought-provoking, action-filled novel where mysteries and backstories are revealed with perfect timing. Enjoy with some more elegantly complex four star coffee.

Who by Karen Wyle pushes present day technology to a not-so-farfetched future and makes the impossible not only real but seriously fascinating. What if technology could maintain a digital copy of yourself after death? What if that self could relate to and communicate with your loved ones? What if that self were self-aware... but not always aware of who might tamper with its code? Scary, intelligent and fascinating, this is grown up good old-fashioned science fiction, best enjoyed with elegantly complex four star coffee.

Conjesero by Carl Alves is set in the present, but again in a slightly changed world; this time one where monsters might not be as imaginary as we think. A good cop finds his friend horrifically injured and begins a manhunt for a serial killer, except it's never quite clear if the killer is fiend or man. Soon he's compelled to compromise safety and maybe even honor to save lives. Lots of characters' stories intertwine in this complex tale, which has the feel of a TV series waiting for a contract. Enjoy with some very dark five star coffee.

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