Kim Stanley Robinson: The Ministry for the Future (2020)

17 August 2021, dusan

“Kim Stanley Robinson is one of contemporary science fiction’s most acclaimed writers, and with this new novel, he once again turns his eye to themes of climate change, technology, politics, and the human behaviors that drive these forces. But his setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world – rather, he imagines a more hopeful future, one where humanity has managed to overcome our challenges and thrive.”

Publisher Orbit Books, New York and London, Oct 2020
ISBN 9780316300131, 0316300136
563 pages

Interviews with author.
Reviews: Derrick O’Keefe (Jacobin, 2020), Gerry Canavan (Los Angeles Review of Books, 2020), Bill McKibben (New York Review, 2020), Steven Poole (The Guardian, 2020), Mark Yon (SFF World, 2020), Kirkus Reviews (2020),Michael Svoboda (Yale Climate Connections, 2020), Nick Robins (LSE blog, 2021), Cory Doctorow (2020), Ian Maxton (Spectrum Culture, 2020), George Katsiaficas (PM Press, 2021), Martin Empson (Climate & Capitalism, 2021), Bob Frame and Patrick Flamm (Polar Record, 2021).
Commentary: Andreas Malm (Verso Blogs, 2021).
Book seminar: Crooked Timber (2021, Robinson’s response).

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Shulamith Firestone: Airless Spaces (1998)

5 July 2020, dusan

“A collection of short stories, set among the disappeared and darkened sectors of New York City, about characters who fall prey to an increasingly bureaucratized poverty.

In 1970, at the age of twenty-five, Shulamith Firestone wrote and published The Dialectic of Sex, immediately becoming a classic of second wave feminism across the world to this very day. It was one of the few books that dared to look at how radical feminism could and should shape the future; and one whose predictions (the cybernetic revolution, for example) proved startlingly prescient of issues today.

Airless Spaces, Firestone’s work of fiction, is a collection of short stories written by Firestone as she found herself drifting from the professional career path she’d been on and into what she describes as a new “airless space.” These deadpan stories, set among the disappeared and darkened sectors of New York City, are about losers who fall prey to an increasingly bureaucratized poverty and find themselves in an out of (mental) hospitals. But what gives characters such as SCUM-Manifesto author Valerie Solanas their depth and charge, is their the small crises that trigger an awareness that they’re in trouble.”

Publisher Semiotext(e), New York, 1998
Native Agents series
ISBN 1570270821, 9781570270826
160 pages

Reviews: Sianne Ngai (Arcade, 2012), Sands Murray-Wassink (2014).
Commentary: Susan Faludi (The New Yorker, 2013).

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Elvia Wilk: Oval (2019)

7 May 2020, dusan

“In the near future, Berlin’s real estate is being flipped in the name of “sustainability,” only to make the city even more unaffordable; artists are employed by corporations as consultants, and the weather is acting strange. When Anja and Louis are offered a rent-free home on an artificial mountain–yet another eco-friendly initiative run by a corporation–they seize the opportunity, but it isn’t long before the experimental house begins malfunctioning.

After Louis’s mother dies, Anja is convinced he has changed. At work, Louis has become obsessed with a secret project: a pill called Oval that temporarily rewires the user’s brain to be more generous. While Anja is horrified, Louis believes he has found the solution to Berlin’s income inequality. Oval is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.”

Publisher Soft Skull, New York, 2019
ISBN 9781593764050, 1593764057
pages

Reviews: Katy Waldman (New Yorker, 2019), Angelica Frey (Hyperallergic, 2019), Michael Friedrich (LA Review of Books, 2019), Jason Sheehan (NPR, 2019), Yvonne C. Garrett (Brooklyn Rail, 2019), Will Preston (Full Stop, 2019), Alex Ronan (Nation, 2019), Stan Portus (C Magazine, 2020).

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