Today’s dystopian fiction seems to be closer to reality than the dystopian fiction of the past. Brooke and Grant explore this new reality with Cory Doctorow, whose socially conscientious science fiction novels delve into topics of political consequence. From the ways in which anxieties fuel science fiction writers to how fiction has the power to change the way we think and operate in the world, today’s episode emphasizes the importance of dystopian fiction for its capacity to shed light on what is true, and what might happen, ideally, as Cory suggests, so that we might fix things before it’s too late.
Naked Captalism is one of my favorite sites, both for its radical political commentary and the vigorous discussions that follow from it; now, John Siman has posted a review of my latest book, Radicalized, which collects four intensely political science fiction stories about our present day and near future.
This Saturday, May 18, I’ll be appearing at the Nebula Awards Conference, at the Marriott Warner Center in Woodland Hills: I’ll be participating in the 1:30PM mass signing in the Grand Ballroom and then I’ll be on the “Megatrends for the Near Future” panel at 4PM in A/B Salon.
The tagline of Cory Doctorow’s latest release is “dystopia is now.” In four novellas, the Canadian ex-pat ably covers a broad swath of pressing social concerns ranging from police racism to affordable American health care through an only slightly science-fictional lens.
No prior volume has so perfectly encapsulated who Doctorow is or what he thinks we should be worrying about as this one does. In the past, a new reader might have had to read lots of long essays about Makerspaces and net neutrality and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on his website to get the whole picture.
But now, the answer to the question of where to start with Doctorow can be answered with “right here.”
Previous novels Little Brother and Homeland were like instruction manuals for millennial and generation Z activists, written in the shadow of George W. Bush’s war on terror and the 2008 financial crisis, respectively. They represented moments in time when government curtailment of civil liberties and economic oppression by corporate interests seemed to demand a response.
But that response — a particular brand of socialist and technogeek activism that blends community organizing with internet crowd-sourcing — is even better encapsulated in Unauthorized Bread, in which a young newcomer to the United States risks everything to bust open the operating system of her smart toaster so that she, and an entire building full of refugees, can actually afford to eat.
Tomorrow night at 7:30PM, I’m giving a presentation about my new book, Radicalized, as part of the Ottawa Writers Festival, at Christ Church Cathedral (414 Sparks St.) — I haven’t spoken in Ottawa for years (maybe a decade?!) so I’m really looking forward to it.
Cory Doctorow, blogger, journalist, science fiction author, and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing, talks about why he’s a great believer in the Internet, warts and all; how, as a white male, he became aware of the struggles of people furthest from opportunity; and how he keeps a positive outlook on life. Cory’s latest book is Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment.
I’m on this week’s Techdirt podcast (MP3) talking about my latest book Radicalized — this being Techdirt, the talk quickly moved to DRM, and then to tech policy, monopolism, breaking up the Big Tech platforms, and neofeudalism.
This Saturday, May 4, at 7:30PM, I’ll be presenting at the Ottawa Writers Festival, talking about my novel Radicalized and how it ties into surveillance, monopoly, refugees, climate change, racism and oligarchy — all the good stuff!
The LA Public Library’s Daryl M interviewed me about my new book, Radicalized, specifically, about how my Trump anxiety (created, in part, by the platforms’ relentless use of “engagement” tools to nonconsensually eyeball-fuck me with Trump headlines) led to the book’s germination, as well as the specific inspirations for each of the four novellas, and the delights of working in novella form.
I’m coming to Halifax to give the closing keynote on day one of Atlseccon on April 24th: it’s only my second-ever visit to the city and the first time I’ve given a talk there, so I really hope you can make it!