84K: A grim meathook future novel of exterminism, with a theory of change and a glimmer of hope in its centre

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/22/criminal-audit-office-2.html

UK writer Claire North’s 84K is a grim tale of a near-future Britain in which Toryism has come to its logical extreme, with all functions of the state assumed by a single massive corporation, and with all human life weighed and priced by how “socially useful” it is.


Well, I don’t have anything else to read atm so Claire North is in luck!

From the description, I would guess that it will annoy me in the same sort of way as The Handmaid’s Tale and other 'stopias where everyone just tortures one another 24/7. Not that that necessarily stops me enjoying a made-up story, of course.

Writers tend to be self-absorbed misanthropes (it takes one to know one) who imagine that everyone else in the world has limitless time and energy to pick on them personally for no reason, so that’s how they imagine the world going to shit. But I think that’s a bit silly, and I’d like it if novelists could sometimes explore more insightful and believable takes. Like that Gwyneth Jones (although she has more of a shotgun approach, ideas-wise, which makes me picture her owning a lot of cats at times).

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I’ve only started reading this today on my phone, my hardcover copy is currently waiting in town for me to pick up. I’ve been waiting somewhat impatiently for Claire to publish this, I have her previous books, plus the Urban Magic Matthew Swift books she wrote as Kate Griffin, and also her YA books written under her real name of Catherine Webb. She’s a remarkable writer, and has the ability to take old ideas and concepts in SF and fantasy and give them a completely new spin.
Writing isn’t her day job, she’s a theatre lighting designer and technician, writing during those moments when actors and directors are having interminable discussions about the more subtle nuances of a script.
I’ve met her a couple of times at signings, she’s lovely, turns up wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and steel toecapped work boots.
And I’m not her publicist, I just love her books, and always grab any opportunity to support her writing.

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@doctorow Nice to see Ridley Walker get a shout out; I’ve been a fan of Russel Hoban for a long time, but his writing doesn’t get an awful lot of notice.

Maybe add Jack Womack’s Dryco books (Ambient, Terraplane, Elvissey , and something else I can’t remember right now) to your list of grim meathook future novels?

Boingboing a directory of wonderful things. Sometimes I feel maybe the editors are Cenobites.

I now understand Steins;Gate, How do I get back the world full of wonderful things?

Not to say that this 84k isn’t a good work of fiction, but I’m trying worn out of visiting grim futures.

We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled the 60’s. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed around America selling “consciousness expansion” without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously… All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody… or at least some force - is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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