Guest: Let’s Try Optimistic Futurism! I Did (Sort Of) by Jordan Smith

Will The Future Be Entirely Bad? Can A Good Book About The Future Say Otherwise?

If you’ve read any stories about the future you may be a very gloomy person. After all, isn’t it hard to think of stories about the future that aren’t overall very depressing? In books about the future we see dazzling technology, interesting characters and plot lines, but mostly pervasive negativity, from the classics of Orwell and Huxley, to newer titles like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. But what if the future is going to be more complicated?

There’s a problem I have with the way in which a lot of these books are looking at the future. In a sense what dystopian authors are saying is that our societies have certain good qualities and they are beginning to slip away. But how do they justify that prediction? Why are they saying we will become the society they claim we will? Or put another way, why is the prediction they’re making about the kind of society we will be salient or likely to be in the near future? The more you can answer that question about the predictions in a dystopian story the more powerful it is.

All of my thoughts in this line of reasoning were of course a great theory about the way dystopia ought to be. But now I’m in the process of writing my own dystopian story, and I’m finding it’s not so easy to take my own advice! When I began writing it I set out to make the predictions I was conveying really have a basis in what was most likely or plausible. This included making some pretty optimistic predictions I believe are fairly likely about society. However, as I was writing I was finding that the story really needed a heavy dose of darkness to come off as something I thought readers would enjoy. Writing optimistic predictions seemed automatically unserious. Writing gloomy predictions seemed automatically cerebral and relevant. Why is that? Isn’t the good news sometimes among the most relevant? Certainly I’d say it is. Continue reading

Author Guest Post: Chris Wimpress

I’d like to introduce author Chris Wimpress to Bookish Ardour. Today he is speaking about the inspiration behind his latest release, Weeks in Naviras. You may recognise his name from earlier when Weeks in Naviras was presented in one of BA’s Features.

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Chris Wimpress Explains his Novel Weeks in Naviras

This is not a religious novel, not in the strictest sense. But a lot of people won’t get beyond the tenth page, because the main character professes to be dead. That was always a question mark for me; could I write a novel in which I kill every single main character at the start? I chose the Psalm at the beginning after going to a funeral for a good friend in August 2013. ‘We bring our years to a close, as it were a tale that is told.’ It was in my late friend’s order of service. I was close to finishing the novel when he died. Funerals are strange ceremonies, where God gets to interfere but the person involved doesn’t get a say. God gets the last word and I’m not entirely comfortable with that. I miss my friend but I am unhappy with the patriarchy of that Psalm, although I find most psalms utterly ridiculous. Continue reading

Author Guest Post: Inspiration by Clint Stoker

All for Owen, Clint Stoker‘s second novel, is out! What better way to celebrate than to have Clint Stoker himself tell us the inspiration behind his newest story? I didn’t think there was a better way either. If you’ve been around with BA for a few years then you may recognise Clint’s name. Clint was one of the first authors I reviewed for, The Cause being his first novel, and he was also one of my first interviewees! So I’m honoured to have him back on BA today and without further ado…

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Inspiration by Clint Stoker

The idea behind writing All for Owen struck me while watching a documentary on the black plague. Continue reading