The pandemic has made many of us more reliant on technology. As this dependence has combined with a heightened anxiety over what comes next, readers have been drawn to books that imagine dystopian techno-futures. Some are turning to works of speculative nonfiction, such as Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. Others are finding unsettling reflections of their experiences in fictional works, such as Mary South’s short-story collection, You Will Never Be Forgotten, which melds discussions of technology and grief.
Still, some have hope for what’s to come. The anthology Iraq + 100 collected stories from Iraqi writers about what the country might look like in 100 years. While many reflected on the country’s turmoil, others harkened back to Iraq’s history of technological innovation and imagined a future in which such discoveries could define the country once more.
Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas.
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“[Mary] South’s stories explore tragedy as it flits uncomfortably between the digital and physical worlds. And at a time when the hunger for in-person connection is enormous, they also double as aching reminders of forms of human coping that aren’t currently possible.”
“A rich tale of earth-moving superhumans set in a dystopian world of regular disasters, The Fifth Season manages to incorporate the deep internal cosmologies, mythologies, and complex magic systems that genre readers have come to expect, in a framework that also asks thoroughly modern questions about oppression, race, gender, class, and sexuality.”