10 Futures by Michael Pryor
Who knows what our future holds? Is it s post-apocalyptic world where people have reverted back to a life of farming on golf courses and trading the broken technology of our past? Or is it a society in which artificial intelligence has become so advanced that it can be deemed a living being by our courts? Michael Pryor’s 10 Futures explores both of these possibilities, as well as eight other imagined futures in this collection of short stories. The worlds may change dramatically, but one thing that stays constant is the friendship between central characters, Tara and Sam, which links the stories together.
Originally it was my love of dystopian and post apocalyptic fiction that piqued my interest in 10 Futures, but while the worlds are fascinatingly original, it is the relationships between the characters that shine. This is not your usual doom and gloom apocalypse thriller; instead it is a thoughtful collection of everyday stories that just happen to take place in fantastic worlds. Often science fiction and fantasy is criticised for its lack of characterisation, but any detractors need only take a look at Pryor’s latest book to see how untrue that is.
This is one of those very rare titles that will be equally at home in schools and in the hands of the general public. The themes explored by Sam and Tara range from genetic matching to community cohesion, and are sure to spark discussion, while the deft way in which they are handled never makes you feel like you’re being preached to.
If you’re searching for a highly original read that will make you question what the future has in store for us, you need to pick up a copy of 10 Futures.
Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton where she organises the kids and Young Adult enews'. She also writes books for younger readers under the name H.J. Harper. Find out more about her Star League and Bureau of Mysteries series here.