Friday, October 21, 2016

Short Fiction Friday: Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny

Imagine what would happen if there was a cure for aging. A bit of the worst is exactly what Laurie Penny imagines in Everything Belongs to the Future. 

Aging is no longer inevitable. Not if you have the money for a daily dose of TeamThreeHundred's little blue pills. And of course only the most wealthy can afford them long term. Alex, Nina, Fidget, Margo, and Jasper are one of many groups who believes the current situation isn't fair. To fight a system they know is rigged, they filch and smuggle those blue pills, handing them out to people who would never afford them otherwise, sharing the wealth that is eternal youth. But even that has it's limits. Bringing one of TeamThreeHundred over to their side, though... That would make the whole enterprise much easier. And that's just the first step in upsetting the imbalance of power and youth. 

Unfortunately for them, their enemy knows exactly what they're up to. 

Everything Belongs to the Future is kind of a bleak tale. A future that is much like the present but for the fact that those in power have the added benefit of eternal life and youth on their side. It's not something I like to dwell on - ostrich, head, sand, all that.

Alex is a spy. He's infiltrated the group and weaseled his way into a top position and a relationship. His motives aren't altruistic - he doesn't go by any moral code or belief in the system. Instead, he's motivated by his reward for spying. And it's a skewed motivation all things considered.

Of course that's the point.

Penny's writing and character development are excellent. The story bounces a bit back and forth with letters from an incarcerated character to various others on the team. Those letters begin to make more sense as the story plays out and as the character's identity becomes clearer. Of course, as with Alex, each character has their own different motivation in the story. And each will likely appeal to different readers for different reasons. I, personally, quite liked Daisy. She's no hero, to be sure, but she's got oomph!

If you like your science fiction with a healthy does of too close to home, Everything Belongs to the Future is for you. And while avoiding the discomfort of the real world gets none of us anywhere, if you find you need a bit more escapism, you've been warned.

Rating: 3.5/5

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