From The Gizmodo Archives, 8 Pieces Of Dystopian Fiction You Can Read Right Now

From The Gizmodo Archives, 8 Pieces Of Dystopian Fiction You Can Read Right Now
Cover image from <em>The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 4</em>, edited by Mahvesh Murad, a spec fiction collection that includes Nene Ormes


Given the current state of the world, speculation. Over the years, Gizmodo has shared a diverse variety of book excerpts and short stories exploring dystopian futures and altered realities. Here are eight worth revisiting now.


In this excerpt from Blake Crouch‘s Recursion, a police detective has his first encounter with a person suffering from “False Memory Syndrome””a mysterious and devastating affliction that sees its victims haunted by incredibly real memories of lives that never existed.

Chuck Wendig‘s Wanderers imagines another unusual epidemic, a phenomenon almost like sleepwalking except it has affected masses of people, all of whom begin walking toward an unknown destination. In this piece from early in the book, a scientist learns that an “outbreak” has been predicted by a sophisticated AI designed to make such forecasts”and that he’s been specifically requested by said AI to join the response team.

In This Excerpt From Chuck Wendig's New Sci-Fi Thriller, Wanderers, A Scientist Begins To Realise The World's In Deep Trouble

Chuck Wendig is a name you'll recognise if you're a fan of Star Wars novels (or follow the ins and outs of Star Wars comics). But he also does plenty of work beyond the galaxy far, far, away - including his epic new sci-fi thriller, Wanderers, which is coming to shelves this week. io9 has a very intriguing excerpt to share with you today.

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This excerpt from Jayinee Basu’s novella The City of Folding Faces introduces us to the Roulette, gaming technology that requires the user to upload his or her consciousness in order to expand it beyond normal human capabilities. It’s an exhilarating but ultimately confusing experience, as we see in this vignette featuring Mara, the young woman at the centre of the story.

Users Permanently Alter Their Minds Inside A Network In An Excerpt From Jayinee Basu's The City Of Folding Faces

Mara is very different now, after digitising and uploading herself as a “space-time tubeform” into the network of the Roulette. There's even a word for people like her in the universe of Jayinee Basu's 2019 sci-fi novella The City of Folding Faces.</p> <p>They're called "Ruga", a hyperperson who has absorbed so much information in the Roulette that only another Ruga can truly understand them.

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Terry Brooks is probably best-known for his Shannara novels, but in 2018 he released Street Freaks, a sci-fi thriller about a kid who must go on the run in futuristic Los Angeles, a place filled with killer robots and quite a few not-very-nice humans, too. You can read the first chapter below.

Read The Pulse-Pounding First Chapter Of Terry Brooks' Upcoming Sci-Fi Novel, Street Freaks

Terry Brooks is best-known for writing the epic fantasy series that kicked off with The Sword of Shannara back in 1977. But the author ventures far beyond that realm for a new sci-fi thriller, Street Freaks, coming this spring - and we have an exclusive reveal of its incredibly fast-paced first chapter.

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The multitalented Warren Ellis released techno-thriller Normal in 2016; it follows a “foresight strategist” who suffers a not-uncommon side effect of his job: a mental breakdown after spending too much time pondering humanity’s doomed future. This excerpt offers us a glimpse at his intake interview.

In Warren Ellis' New Thriller Normal, Preparing For Humanity's Downfall Has A Price: Your Sanity

Think long enough about the future, where humanity is almost certainly doomed, and you might start going insane with despair. But what happens when your entire job is preparing for that future? In the latest techno-thriller novel by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Red, Nextwave) you go to the one place that can help: Normal.

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Laurie Penny‘s 2016 novella takes place in a world where only the elite have access to a drug that allows humans to live for hundreds of years. In this piece, a quartet of have-nots infiltrate a ritzy party looking for “the fix””and they have a surprising encounter with its perpetually adolescent inventor.

Dig Into The Pharmaceutically-Enhanced World Of Laurie Penny's Everything Belongs To The Future

In Laurie Penny's new novella, Everything Belongs to the Future, a miracle drug can extend the human lifespan by centuries -- but only the rich can afford the treatments. It's a science fiction thriller that feels like an only slightly tilted version of our own reality, and we have an exclusive excerpt to share.

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This post actually contains two short stories: “Rounding Corrections” by Sandra Haynes, and “The Floor” by Melissa Fall, both standout entries in a sci-fi short story contest that asked writers to “envision a world with financial security through unconditional cash.”

Read The Into The Black Contest's Winning Story, Set In A Future Where Economics Are Also Humane

What might life be like in a future where every citizen was guaranteed a universal basic income? Two very good short stories imagine the sociological and cultural changes that might happen, in poignant and chilling ways. One of them was good enough to earn a sizable cash prize and you can read it now.

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Finally, Gizmodo’s own Hudson Hongo penned “Terminal Blues,” a short story about a lonely worker posted in an isolated, frozen corner of the world. Things are bad, and then things…get worse.

Terminal Blues

I hear the little ski plane sliding down outside and I put on all my shirts and three pairs of pants to shield myself from the cold. I have one arm in my coat when already the pilot is banging on the door, eager to drop off the stuff and get flying. Sometimes I pull the door latch and it's bright outside. Other times it's dark. This time it's raw light in every direction, like the pilot stepped out of a flash bulb. No matter how hard I squint, I can't see his face, just the goggles, the fuzzy hat, and the smile that makes me think of cracked ice.

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