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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reading List: Tales From Our Near Future

Coppley, Jackson. Tales From Our Near Future. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2014. ISBN 978-1-4961-2851-5.
I am increasingly convinced that the 2020s will be a very interesting decade. As computing power continues its inexorable exponential growth (and there is no reason to believe this growth will abate, except in the aftermath of economic and/or societal collapse), more and more things which seemed absurd just a few years before will become commonplace—consider self-driving cars. This slim book (142 pages in the print edition) collects three unrelated stories set in this era. In each, the author envisions a “soft take-off” scenario rather than the sudden onset of a technological singularity which rapidly renders the world incomprehensible.

These are all “puzzle stories” in the tradition of Isaac Asimov's early short stories. You'll enjoy them best if you just immerse yourself in the world the characters inhabit, get to know them, and then discover what is really going on, which may not be at all what it appears on the surface. By the nature of puzzle stories, almost anything I say about them would be a spoiler, so I'll refrain from getting into details other than asking, “What would it be like to know everything?”, which is the premise of the first story, stated on its first page.

Two of the three stories contain explicit sexual scenes and are not suitable for younger readers. This book was recommended (scroll down a few paragraphs) by Jerry Pournelle.

Posted at June 4, 2014 22:12