Review: Chasing Utopia and Dystopia at Worldcon 75

“Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps,
it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it
swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.”
~Eduardo Galeano

What is the boundary between dystopia and utopia? Well, it might not be so easy to make a distinction between them. At a discussion on Beyond the Dystopia at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, the panelists – Juliet Kemp, Joe Abercrombie, Tom D. Wright, Vincent Docherty and Taiyo Fujii – covered various topics related to dystopia and utopia.

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Review: Nightwings by Robert Silverberg

“Having lost our present and our future, we had of necessity to bend all our endeavors to the past, which no one could take from us if only we were vigilant enough.”
~Robert Silverberg, Nightwings

Plot summary

“Robert Silverberg’s enduring classic about one man’s journey to find salvation for a planet on the brink of destruction.

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Review: Neuromancer by William Gibson

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
~William Gibson, Neuromancer

Plot summary

“The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace.

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Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?”
~Blake Crouch, Dark Matter

Plot summary

“Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

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Review: Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw

“Originally it had had two settings: Stun and Kill. These had proved inadequate against the ridiculously well-armored skin of monsters from particularly rough planets, so I’d found a way to tinker with the built-in limitations. The dial now had a third setting, labeled with the handwritten words ‘Solve All Immediate Problems.”
~Yahtzee Croshaw, Will Save the Galaxy for Food

Plot summary

“A not-quite epic science fiction adventure about a down-on-his luck galactic pilot caught in a cross-galaxy struggle for survival!

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Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

“The past is so much safer, because whatever’s in it has already happened. It can’t be changed; so, in a way, there’s nothing to dread.”
~Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last

Plot summary

“Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately.

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Review: The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters

“Because as any writer will tell you, an IDEA for a book is like falling in love, it’s all wild emotion and headlong rush, but the ACTUAL ACT of writing a book is like building a relationship: it is joyous, slow, fragile, frustrating, exhilarating, painstaking, exhausting, worth it.”
~Ben H. Winters, The Last Policeman

Plot summary

“What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

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