Friday 6 April 2012

97. 10 Futures by Michael Pryor

10 Futures by Michael Pryor
Published April 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Sam and Tara. Best friends in a future when artificial intelligence organises our lives, and micropets are the latest craze. Best friends when rationing means cold showers and no Internet. Best friends when genetic matching makes asking a girl on a date a minefield of epic proportions. 

But will they still be best friends in a future when plague wipes out most of humanity? Or a future when the Inquisitor asks Sam to choose one betrayal over another?

This book is actually a collection of short stories.  Each short story has the same two main characters, Sam and Tara. Each story takes place at at different time in the future, from 2020 - 2120.  None on the stories are connected, we don't see 16 year old Tara and Sam in 2020 and then 96 year old Tara and Sam in 2100, each future is a stand alone story and Tara and Sam are always the same age.  Hope that's clear?!  It will be when you start reading it.

I loved this book. Even though I initially thought it was going to be a novel, the short stories are a perfect way to explore the possible futures. I won't give you a run down of each story, but I will give you an idea of what to expect.

In 2100 you can buy genetically engineered micropets, just what you always wanted a mini giraffe, or a flock of miniature macaws.  Our homes are also run by AI (Artificial intelligence), and the question is asked, can and AI become human?

IN 2070, there has been a total financial collapse.  There is no money and items are bartered for. The oil ran out, and the banks collapsed, There are no cars, people use carts and rickshaws.  People have become more community minded and everyone works together to farm all available land.

In 2120, people are living until 300, and robots do many jobs that people used to do.  Our bodies are full of nanobots that work to keep us healthy.  Most people embrace this technology, but some feel that robots are ruining our lives. When people are born they have a 'reserve' created, which is basically a cloned copy, that can be used for parts if they are needed.

In 2040 when you meet someone you 'like' , you ask for a DNA sample to have it analyzed, to see if you are well matched, if the results are favourable, then you can move on to the next step.

In 2080, people are living longer, and this is causing a great deal of imbalance in the workforce.  the 'silvers' are working longer, and if and when they change jobs or careers, their positions are filled by other 'silvers', jobs are rare for younger people.  They are just about to pass a new law, that raises the voting age to 35.  On the plus side there is fusion energy, and the environment hasn't been this clean since before the Industrial Revolution.

So there we are, just a glimpse into some of the versions of our future.

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 12+
Read it if you like: dystopian/utopian fiction

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