Visions of the Near Future

What do you imagine when you picture the future? Fantastical jet packs, flying cars, food pills, and far-flung space colonies? When we think about what is to come, we rarely envision the imminent future unfolding right in front of us. These speculative works of fiction prophesize the realistic possibilities of our future. Nihilistic dystopias, dating in the 21st century, political satire, and emergent technology are just a few of the themes found in these visions of the near-future. 

Children of the new world : stories

Alexander Weinstein

SCIENCE FICTION Weinstein Alexander
Science Fiction

A collection of speculative short fiction, Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago.

We cast a shadow : a novel

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

ON ORDER BOOK
Fiction

In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedure that boasts unprecedented success rates. In a society plagued by racism, segregation, and private prisons, this operation saves lives with a controversial method--by turning people white. Like any father, our unnamed narrator just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly absurd hoops--from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups--in a tragicomic quest to protect his son.

An excess male : a novel

Maggie Shen King

FICTION King Maggie
Fiction

2030. China's one-child policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by forty million unmarriageable men. Wei-guo has finally saved up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband-- the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. As the State seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, Wei-guo must find a way to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

Void star

Zachary Mason

SCIENCE FICTION Mason Zachary
Science Fiction

Not far in the future, San Francisco survives rising sea levels with incrementally better technology and a nearly unbridgeable chasm between the rich and the poor. Whereas the very wealthy live in protected enclaves and enjoy medical treatments that permit lifespans of well over a century, the poor live in concrete favelas with no law and little hope. There is another divide in this future, however: a divide between humanity and its increasingly indispensable artificial intelligences. None are safe as they're pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.

Made for love

Alissa Nutting

FICTION Nutting Alissa
Fiction

Hazel has just moved into a trailer park of senior citizens, with her father and Diane—his extremely lifelike sex doll—as her roommates. She’s just run out on her marriage to Byron Gogol, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, a monolithic corporation hell-bent on making its products and technologies indispensable in daily life. For over a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. Hazel tries to carve out a new life while her ex uses sophisticated technology to stalk her.

Infomocracy

Malka Older

SCIENCE FICTION Older Malka
Science Fiction

It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate party has won the last two elections. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Crosstalk

Connie Willis

SCIENCE FICTION Willis Connie
Science Fiction

In a not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure that has been promised to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal - to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely - in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

Touch

Courtney Maum

FICTION Maum Courtney
Fiction

Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend forecaster in the world, and global companies pay to hear her opinions about the future. Her recent forecasts on the family are unwavering: the world is over-populated and having children is an extravagance. So it's no surprise when the tech giant Mammoth hires Sloane to lead their annual conference, celebrating the voluntarily childless. But not far into her contract, Sloane begins to sense the undeniable signs of a movement against electronics that will see people embracing compassion, empathy, and "in-personism" again. Sloane, struggling with the fact that her predictions are hopelessly out of sync with her employer's mission, is nevertheless convinced that her instincts are the right ones, and goes on a quest to defend real life human interaction.

Tell the machine goodnight

Katie Williams

FICTION Williams Katie
Fiction

Pearl's job is to make people happy. Every day, as a happiness technician she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment through a piece of technology called an Apricity. But how does one measure an emotion? Meanwhile, there's Pearl's teenage son, Rhett. A sensitive kid, Rhett seems to find greater satisfaction in being unhappy. The very rejection of joy is his own kind of "pursuit of happiness." As his mother, Pearl wants nothing more than to help Rhett--but is it for his sake or for hers? Certainly it would make Pearl happier. Regardless, her son is one person whose emotional life does not fall under the parameters of her job--not as happiness technician, and not as mother, either.

The transition

Luke Kennard

FICTION Kennard Luke
Fiction

What do you do when you've had everything, but still can't grow up? Welcome to the Transition. While taking part in the Transition, you and your partner will live under the supervision of your mentors, two successful adults of a slightly older generation. Freed from your financial responsibilities, you will be coached through the key areas of the scheme--Employment, Nutrition, Responsibility, Relationship, Finances, and Self-respect--until you are ready to be reintegrated into adult society. At the end of your six months, who knows what discoveries you'll have made about yourself? Who knows where you'll be?