Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene

Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene
Ed. by Jonathan Strahan

In recent years, perhaps feeling that established literary genres aren’t already vague enough, some people have adopted the term “speculative fiction” as an alternative to “science fiction.” Whatever the new label’s merits, it’s fair to say that some SF is more geared toward an imaginative sort of forecasting of what the future might actually have in store, which is the direction taken by the stories collected in the series of anthologies put out by MIT Press that started out as Twelve Tomorrows and of which Tomorrow’s Parties is the latest instalment.

Despite the subtitle here, Tomorrow’s Parties isn’t just what’s come to be called CliFi (climate-change SF). The effects of climate disaster are included, and an introductory interview with CliFi master Kim Stanley Robinson addresses the real challenge of the anthropocene, but otherwise what we get is just a great line-up of stories that survey the wide range of concerns that today’s SF writers have about the future. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but Dylan Gregory’s “Once Upon a Future in the West” is certainly one of the highlights. A possibly cannibal Tom Hanks giving a lift to a refugee from a California forest fire is a truly magical vision of the end of the world.


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