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Writing about the Future

Originally published November 2018

The subject of my current project is social fantasy. It’s not a nice fantasy, but it will have, if not a happy, a satisfying ending. I’m thinking of publishing it with Book View Cafe, however, it might be too black. Maybe I should go back to the English Mastiff book.

But what made me dig this novel out of the backup drive was a review of several dystopic books, written by mainstream writers – writers with enough cache to be included in Vanity Fair or the New Yorker – mining current themes of female inequality in science fictional ways.

The magazine haughtily describes these books, written by women, as owing their timeliness to the #MeToo hashtag and the laser focus of the media on it, as if abuse of women were a new-found goldmine.

Likely New York publishing houses saw the same golden glow.

So I started to look again at the unfinished, untitled dystopic book that I started 10 years ago, long before #MeToo, long before present masculine symptomology was given the diagnosis of male privilege. I dropped the book when, as I was scrounging for markets, I got the impression that politically dystopic books—ala 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tail—were no longer appreciated or wanted. Perhaps because editors were sick of seeing these manuscripts stacked on their desks.

There is a romantic element to the book, and a glimmer of hope, and opportunity for redemption. I think readers will like that. Flawed heroine and hero in a plausibly uncomfortable future. And science fictional elements as well—a brainwashing biologic.

I won’t reveal too much more of what the book is about, except yes, it is timely considering the current political skew on things. Look for it sometime in March, 2019. I couldn’t finish it in time for a Christmas release.

Dystopia is such an attractive setting. A wild west sort of place where anything goes—young girls fight in gladiator games-to-the-death, cyber-heroines roam the streets of Japan, robots fall in love with humans and humans fall in love with robots. It’s a treasure of plots.

And dreams. Almost anything can be dreamt up and made real. Not only flying cars, but sentient plants and genetically-modified cats. But even when decked out with all the trappings of the fantastic, the stories are really about second chances, the consequence of choice and love.


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