First up, Tuesday Teasins’, this time from Michael Warren Davis’ The Reactionary Mind.
We are always free to choose, but never free from choice. We lack the greatest freedom of all: freedom from desire, otherwise known as gratitude.
There’s no better word for the condition of modern man: restless. He is oppressed by his own false freedom, tortured by his inflamed appetites, and humiliated by his own ignorance. The things that might make him truly happy—gratitude and simplicity, peace and quiet—are kept forever out of his reach.
This week’s top ten list is a ‘genre freebie’, so I’m going to go with Ten Near-Future SF Tales.
(1) & (2): Daemon and Freedom, Daniel Suarez. The first of these is a chilling conspiracy, as an AI with a distributed intelligence begins expanding itself and effecting a takeover of pretty much anything computerized, recruiting human agents to do its bidding through a videogame. The reader is drawn into this drama from the eyes of a cop investigating a mysterious murder, realizing right along with him how much more terrible the truth is. The story continues in Freedom, as the Daemon begins attempting to re-form human society around its technical apparatus.
(3) and (4). The Circle and The Every, Dave Eggers. Chilling looks into the world that Big Tech is creating, frightening not just for the power they have over politics and economics, but the way they are deforming the thoughts and desires of we poor creatures caught in their web.
(5) Optimal, J.M. Berger. Of life run by algorithms. My first SF read of 2021, and still memorable despite discovering Blake Crouch that same year.
(6) Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut. Of people living in deep anomie in a world where machines do everything.
(7) Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow. One of the more ‘fun’ ones on this list, here Doctorow gives a story based on ‘remixing’ culture, of people creating new movies/songs/etc by taking pieces of other ones. As with many of Doctorow’s works, it debates the virtues of IP.
(8) The Warehouse, Rob Hart. A mystery/thriller set in an America dominated by an Amazon-on-steroids. Something like The Every, but not nearly as penetrating: Eggers’ critical strength lays in exposing how big tech warps human behavior.
(9) Upgrade, Blake Crouch. A look at the dawn of the transhuman revolution.
(10) That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis A sharp rebuke to those who lust after domination of the human soul, technical and otherwise.
Pirate Cinema does sound interesting.
My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-xenofiction/
Definitely my ‘thing’, but the only one I’ve read off that list is ‘The Warehouse’ which I was less than impressed with… Hopefully I’ll be reading a bit more SF this year, but I actually surprised myself that I read 11 SF LAST year. No idea I’d read that much – it certainly didn’t feel like it.
If you ever get around to Daemon, I’d read the review with great interest. It’s the only one on this list that I’ve read multiple times, though Pirate Cinema and Eggers’ books would be re-readable were it not for the amount of competition.
Interesting list, it brings to mind 1984. The Circle caught my eye. Happy reading!
That Hideous Strength (and the two previous) has stayed with me for 20 years!
I’ve not read any of these but I’m glad you enjoyed them!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2023/02/28/top-ten-tuesday-409/
Haven’t read any of these, as SF isn’t my cup of tea. But I love how you located C.S. Lewis’ at the bottom of the list – the rebuke of all the others. Not sure whether it’s intended.. 😉
Considering the theme of most of the others, definitely purposeful!
I’ve only read The Circle from your list but they all sound highly interesting. Thanks for this.
And thanks for visiting my TTT this week.