The Progressive Apparatus

The Progressive Apparatus and More Fantasticals
By Hugh A. D. Spencer

Toronto author Hugh A. D. Spencer is a singular voice in Canadian science fiction. While borrowing from pop-culture SF conventions that are so familiar they feel a part of us he nevertheless manages to spin them in quirky directions that take us places entirely new.

In this selection of stories spanning three decades of work he looks at the fate of humanity as our species undergoes radical overhauls. It’s a process of trial-and-mostly-error as various attempts at directed evolution – drugs, implants, artificial intelligence, the cult phenomenon of “mentotechnics” – often end up going in the wrong direction. What is the fate of the new human going to be? Well, we’re probably going to get very sick and die from our “upgrades,” but we’ll also experience a lot of new ways of relating to one another.

As in his previous collection Why I Hunt Flying Saucers the stories here are introduced with biographical sketches that give some idea of the sorts of preoccupations and experiences that gave rise to them. Spencer is a writer who should be better known. Picking up any of his books is a good place to start.

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