Friday, April 05, 2019

A Political History of the Future: A People's Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, at Lawyers, Guns & Money

After a few months off, my series A Political History of the Future is back at Lawyers, Guns & Money.  My first column of 2019 discusses Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams's anthology A People's Future of the United States, in which some of the top names in genre writing are invited to imagine the future of America.
In his introduction to A People's Future (excerpted in The Paris Review) [LaValle] writes about his feeling that America is being poisoned by the stories it tells itself about itself, and of the need for different kinds of stories if it’s to imagine and bring forth a different kind of future. As its title suggests, LaValle offers up A People's Future as an homage to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States (1980 and subsequent editions), which was itself an attempt to change the American narrative. LaValle and Adams have assembled a roster of some the hottest names in genre, people like N.K. Jemisin and Charlie Jane Anders whose writing has always been strongly political and inflected by the issues of the day, and charged them with imagining America's future along lines that acknowledge its current problems.
The results veer in a lot of different directions, and as I write in the piece the story I ended up liking the best was the one that actually felt the most rooted in the present.  But it's still a worthwhile read if, like me, you want your science fiction to address the many burning political issues we're faced with.

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