Tuesday 16 February 2016

Book Review: Future, Imperfect: Six Dystopian Short Stories by Ruth Nestvold

About the Book

"The Future, Imperfect" is a collection of near future, dystopian short stories by Ruth Nestvold. Environmental changes -- slow in some regions, catastrophic in others -- have had a major effect on our world, not for the better. While water wars and pandemics have devastated the Mediterrean region, and a major earthquake and the resulting destruction of nuclear power plants and sensitive research facilities have made much of California a wasteland, corporate-sponsored enclaves defend themselves from the have-nots. What can any one individual do to make a difference is such a world? These are the stories both of those who tried and those who failed.

Five of the short stories in this collection were previously published in such venues as Asimov's and Futurismic. "Exit Without Saving" also appeared in Rich Horton's "Science Fiction 2007: The Best of the Year." "Killfile" is an original publication.

My Review (4/5 Stars)

Six original stories, set in a dystopian, futuristic world. They're all complete stories, with different characters and plots, but the world remains the same.

It's a compelling world, too. The environment has gone to hell, and many of the big cities (Seattle being one that shows up in at least two stories) have been bought up (quite literally) by big corporations. The corporations use their technology to make life liveable for the citizens, even pleasurable... but only if they can see a way to make a profit.

Those who live outside the big cities, or in cities not yet owned by corporations (places called "the burbs") have a much tougher time of it, and they spend their lives trying to convince a corporation to move in, by selling the advantages of their natural resources, or other benefits that would make an acquisition viable to one of these big companies.

The stories are very well written and engaging. The descriptions are vivid, and more than once I found myself wondering what it might be like to actually live in one of these privatised utopias.

They're also quite literary in theme, and riddled with deeper, hidden meaning. Some of them, I must admit, went over my head, and/or I got bored and skimmed at times. But in a collection like this, it's practically impossible to expect to enjoy and identify with ALL of the stories.

Where to Buy

You can buy this book on Amazon.

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