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BSFA Review: Tomorrow’s Parties edited by Jonathan Strahan

31/01/2024 16:47 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Tomorrow’s Parties cover

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

(The MIT Press, 2022)

Reviewed by Paul Graham Raven

If these are Tomorrow’s Parties, then those of you who (like me) have largely given up on parties will find your decision validated. If this life in the Anthropocene, as veteran editor Jonathan Strahan’s pitch would have it, then we can safely say that, for these authors at least, the Old SF cliché—a future that’s in most respects better than the present—is the deadest letter of the lot.

That’s not a bad thing, to be clear—at least not for me, as someone who has watched from the sidelines while Alexandra Rowland’s “hopepunk” concept got hollowed out and filled with something which seems more often consolatory than hopeful. But in the name of expectation management as much as content warnings, wow, does this book end on a bummer: while it does at least offer the prospect of unexpected human companionship and solidarity in a world that is literally trying to kill you—a very hopepunk vibe, at least as I understand it—James Bradley’s closing story “After the Storm” is pretty bleak, and I wish I hadn’t read it just before lights-out. That said, it is one of the best stories in the book, and not only for its refusal to offer any of the easy endings to its protagonist (or, by extension, to us).

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Review from BSFA Review 22 - Download your copy here.


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