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Ten Great Books set in the Future

9th June 2023

Ten Great Books set in the future. Books set in the future exercise our imagination. Some are thought provoking and others are frankly a little frightening. Existing locations are taken by an author and fashioned into places that may, or may not, seem familiar. The speed with which the future is heading towards us seems to get ever faster – perhaps now is the time to get prepared with a little pre-reading?

Here are ten of our favourite titles:

Ten Great Books set in the FutureMy Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson – CHARLOTTESVILLE

At a time of rolling blackouts and terrible storms battering America, the neighbourhood of First Street, Charlottesville comes under attack by violent white supremacists. A group of friends, families and strangers flee together in an abandoned bus and head for the hills above town.

Led by Da’Naisha Love, they arrive at Monticello, the historic plantation-home of Thomas Jefferson, deserted but for its ghosts. As a young Black descendant of Jefferson and Sally Hemings, Da’Naisha has a complex relationship with the house. Tentative at first, the group explores rooms, forages on the grounds, and finds a kind of shelter. But the terror from their town is coming closer, and soon they have an impossible decision to make.

My Monticello is the story of nineteen heart-stopping days of refuge and reclamation, told by Da’Naisha with courage and with grace. This deeply moving novel is a searing indictment of racism past and present, and a powerful vision of resistance, community and hope.

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus – JAPAN

This world is anything but ordinary, and it’s about to change forever…

It’s our world, but decades into the future…

An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…

Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…

But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano.

A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…

Ten Great Books set in the FutureHeaven on Earth by Fadi Zaghmout – JORDAN

The year: sometime in the 2090s. The location: Jordan. Aging is reversible thanks to major advances in bioscience and nanotechnology. But in a world where eternal youth has become a reality, complications arise. Journalist Janna Abdallah is at the forefront of these changes: her brother Jamal contributed to many of the medical advances that have brought such profound changes to humanity over the past few decades, yet he has chosen to forego age suppression in order to experience a natural death. Because reproduction is strictly regulated, the opportunity to create new life throws the Abdallah family into turmoil. Fadi Zaghmout’s best-selling debut novel The Bride of Amman was groundbreaking for its intimate, sympathetic treatment of women’s issues, homosexuality, and marriage in the Middle East. Heaven on Earth is no less revolutionary, at once a searingly personal account of one family’s struggle to embrace the future that is now, and also a look at the way Jordanian society has had to reimagine itself at the end of the twenty-first century.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson – NEW YORK

‘A towering novel’ – Guardian

‘Relevant and essential’ – Bloomberg Businessweek

As the sea level rose, every street became a canal, every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city.

New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson delivers a bold and brilliant vision of New York in the next century.

‘New York may be underwater but it’s better than ever’ – New Yorker

‘Massively enjoyable’ – Washington Post

‘Gripping . . . so hard to put down’ – Business Insider

‘A document of hope as much as dread’ – Los Angeles Review of Books

Ten Great Books set in the FutureOn The Beach by Nevil Shute – SOUTH AUSTRALIA

After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.

The Forcing by Paul E Hardisty – THE AMERICAS & AUSTRALIA

Civilisation is collapsing. Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, a ‘government of youth’ has taken power in North America, and deemed all those older than a prescribed age responsible for the current state of the world, and decreed they should be ‘relocated’, their property and assets confiscated.

David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to ‘new accommodation’ in the abandoned southern deserts – thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker. Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable.

As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape. But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…

One by Eve Smith – LONDON

A powerful, prescient speculative thriller: a woman’s job of enforcing climate-emergency Britain’s one-child policy is compromised when she discovers a personal link to an illegal sibling on the ministry hit-list, leading to a shocking discovery that changes everything…

One law. One child. Seven million crimes…

A cataclysmic climate emergency has spawned a one-child policy in the UK, ruthlessly enforced by a totalitarian regime. Compulsory abortion of ‘excess’ pregnancies and mandatory contraceptive implants are now the norm, and families must adhere to strict consumption quotas as the world descends into chaos.

Kai is a 25-year-old ‘baby reaper’, working for the Ministry of Population and Family Planning. If any of her assigned families attempt to exceed their child quota, she ensures they pay the price.

Until, one morning, she discovers that an illegal sibling on her Ministry hit-list is hers. And to protect her parents from severe penalties, she must secretly investigate before anyone else finds out.

Kai’s hunt for her forbidden sister unearths much more than a dark family secret. As she stumbles across a series of heinous crimes perpetrated by the people she trusted most, she makes a catastrophic discovery that could bring down the government … and tear her family apart.

Trinity Sight by Jennifer Givhan – NEW MEXICO

Anthropologist Calliope Santiago awakens to find herself in a strange and sinister wasteland, a shadow of the New Mexico she knew. Empty vehicles litter the road. Everyone has disappeared–or almost everyone. Calliope, heavy-bellied with the twins she carries inside her, must make her way across this dangerous landscape with a group of fellow survivors, confronting violent inhabitants, in search of answers. Long-dead volcanoes erupt, the ground rattles and splits, and monsters come to ominous life. The impossible suddenly real, Calliope will be forced to reconcile the geological record with the heritage she once denied if she wants to survive and deliver her unborn babies into this uncertain new world.

Rooted in indigenous oral-history traditions and contemporary apocalypse fiction, Trinity Sight asks readers to consider science versus faith and personal identity versus ancestral connection. Lyrically written and utterly original, Trinity Sight brings readers to the precipice of the end-of-times and the hope for redemption.

American War by Omar El Akkad – LOUISIANA

‘American War creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

2074

AMERICA’S FUTURE IS CIVIL WAR.

SARAT’S REALITY IS SURVIVAL.

THEY TOOK HER FATHER.

THEY TOOK HER HOME.

THEY TOLD HER LIES.

SHE DIDN’T START THIS WAR.

BUT SHE’LL END IT.

Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee – MARGATE, KENT

In the coastal resort of Margate, hotels lie empty and sun-faded ‘For Sale’ signs line the streets. The sea is higher – it’s higher everywhere – and those who can are moving inland. A young girl called Chance, however, is just arriving.

Chance’s family is one of many offered a cash grant to move out of London – and so she, her mother Jas and brother JD relocate to the seaside, just as the country edges towards vertiginous change.

In their new home, they find space and wide skies, a world away from the cramped bedsits they’ve lived in up until now. But challenges swiftly mount. JD’s business partner, Kole, has a violent, charismatic energy that whirlpools around him and threatens to draw in the whole family. And when Chance comes across Franky, a girl her age she has never seen before – well-spoken and wearing sunscreen – something catches in the air between them. Their fates are bound: a connection that is immediate, unshakeable, and, in a time when social divides have never cut sharper, dangerous.

Set in a future unsettlingly close to home, against a backdrop of soaring inequality and creeping political extremism, Rankin-Gee demonstrates, with cinematic pace and deep humanity, the enduring power of love and hope in a world spinning out of control.

Enjoy your look into the future!

Tony for the TripFiction team

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