2084 (2017) Edited by George Sandison

‘There is no singular truth, no fact that cannot be altered, repositioned and resold to the world.’ -“Degrees of Elision” by Cassandra Khaw

9781907389504

Unsung Stories’ 2084 is a collection of fifteen views of our future inspired by Orwell’s classic novel. What kind of a world could we see one hundred years after Nineteen Eighty-Four? It seems almost redundant to ask if Big Brother will still be watching us. In his introduction, George Sandison suggests that these tales are less predictions of dystopian futures than extensions of our present fears. As technology becomes ever more prevalent in our lives, are our fears of too much surveillance and too little privacy warranted?

Here are brief summaries of the stories that impressed me the most:

Babylon by Dave Hutchinson
A tale of borders, immigrants, prejudice and transformation. Somalian refugee Da’uud is trying to reach Europe by raft and will go to extreme lengths to fit in. As this is a Dave Hutchinson story it contains some richly-imagined technology.

Fly Away, Peter by Ian Hocking
A chilling story about the dangers of having an independent mind in an authoritarian world of compliance. Dare you be the one to stand up to the system? The setting of a children’s day-care centre makes this tale even more unsettling.

Glitterati by Oliver Langmead
How far would you go for fashion if it was your job? In this nightmarish tale of life among the elites, protagonist Simone’s trend-setting actions put the scream in extreme. This reads like a colour-drenched nightmare.

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Room 149 by Jeff Noon
This Jeff Noon short story is a dream-like tale of ghosts on a space station. But these ghosts are anything but traditional. A fascinating exploration of what we might leave behind after we die.

Degrees of Elision by Cassandra Khaw
‘Elision’ means to omit something, especially in relation to words. Cassandra Khaw’s cinematic story reads like an extract from a future noir screenplay. A man sits hunched over a display making changes to the report he is reading. His relationship on the rocks, will his recent actions come back to haunt him?

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Uniquo by Aliya Whiteley
‘But youth isn’t about age; she knows that now. It’s about the number of thoughts that you don’t yet carry around with you.’
As impressive as ever, Whiteley’s short story imagines a theme park of the future and its famous ride Uniquo. We experience it through the eyes of a mature couple who lives on the park and helps to maintain it. Are their fears of the young visitors justified?


I enjoyed the diversity and invention of the stories in this collection. It was seeing author’s names such as Hutchinson, Whiteley, Charnock, Smythe, Khaw, Noon, and Priest that sold this book for me. They are writers who have impressed me in the past so I was delighted to be able to read new stories by each of them. I’m happy to say that the quality of the selected tales is very high. Each story has something different to offer which is an impressive feat by both the authors and the editor.

It should be noted that the subject matter leads to a rather dark and dystopian view of 2084 by most of the writers in this collection. Yet by addressing some of our present fears these future-set stories feel very relevant and timely. 2084 is an anthology that I can highly recommend.

2084-hardback


List of Stories
Babylon by Dave Hutchinson
Here Comes the Flood by Desirina Boskovich
Fly Away, Peter by Ian Hocking
A Good Citizen by Anne Charnock
The Endling Market by E.J. Swift
Glitterati by Oliver Langmead
Room 149 by Jeff Noon
Percepi by Courttia Newland
Degrees of Elision by Cassandra Khaw
The Infinite Eye by J.P Smythe
March, April, May by Malcolm Devlin
Saudade Minus One (S-1=) by Irenosen Okojie
2084 Satoshi AD by Lavie Tidhar
Uniquo by Aliya Whiteley
Shooting an Episode by Christopher Priest

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