Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Futureland is bestselling mystery author Walter Mosley's first science fiction book since Blue Light, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Futureland's nine linked stories will provide an accessible and intelligent introduction to written science fiction for mystery or mainstream fiction fans who do not normally read the genre.

Experienced science fiction readers, however, may be less than satisfied with Futureland. Reading it, you might decide Mr. Mosley grew up reading SF, respects the genre, and still watches SF movies, but has read little SF written during or after the New Wave of the 1960s. However, something more may be going on here than a genre newcomer making beginning-SF-writer mistakes. Mr. Mosley may be deliberately, and craftily, creating SF accessible to his large non-SF readership and to others who are strangers to this genre.

Some have labeled Futureland cyberpunk, and it does present a dark, infotech-saturated, corporation-controlled future; but it is in fact an inversion of cyberpunk. Instead of that subgenre's cliche of cool, cutting-edge, street-smart, but not very believable outlaws who out-hack and outwit powerful multinational corporations, this Dante-esque collection presents outlaws and outcasts who may be street-wise, but who have little chance of overcoming the corporations and governments that control, and sometimes take, their lives. Like shockingly few other SF works, Futureland directly examines the lives of the working and the nonworking classes, the poor and the marginalized, the criminal and the criminalized. In other words, Futureland is set in a world quite alien to many veteran SF readers, and is therefore a book they should try. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

Although Allen brings a distinctly human touch to a cold world of computers and corporations, his relaxed style seems ill suited for these nine interconnected stories set in the near future. The frenetic material should be bristling with tension, but here it comes off as leaden. Agreeing with the sci-fi theme, the recording makes use of some effects, like giving Allen's voice a distant, tinny sound for a radio advertisement or a stentorian echoing effect for a ringside announcer. But even more would have been appropriate, such as background noise or music woven into the segues to heighten drama. While distracting in some recordings, such effects seem to be missing here amid the high-tech hullabaloo, especially given Allen's deadpan delivery. The stories themselves are intriguing and notable within science fiction for their focus on marginalized and underprivileged characters. But Allen's approach is simply too languid for the subject matter, and the dialogue in particular comes off as stilted and awkward. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 10, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 924 KB
  • Print Length: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (June 4, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 4, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on December 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the not-too-distant future, major corporations have taken over the functions of the state and most workers have been reduced to a perpetual treadmill between subsistence work and a barely livable unemployment. For criminals and anyone who opposes the omnipresent corporate state, punishment is swift, certain, and enforced with dispassionate unconcern for rights or human dignity.
Author Walter Mosley's nine inter-related stories tell of this near-future and, especially, of the position of blacks in a supposedly racially integrated world. While occasional anarchistic resistance can slow the forces of capitalism run beyond any rules (and FUTURELAND is filled with stories of this resistance), the overall tendency of history cannot be stopped.
Although FUTURELAND was written before the events of 9/11, the encroachments on liberties that Mosley forecast in these stories appear far less paranoid and far more near at hand than they could have to the average reader when Mosley wrote them. Readers do not have to agree with Mosley's dark message, nor share his fears about neo-Nazis ready to cleanse the world of non-white blood, to see the frightening possibilities that Mosley shares.
In the initial story in this series, Whispers in the Dark, Mosley adopts a dialect-heavy style that makes reading difficult. Stick with FUTURELAND. The payoff is worth the effort and Mosley's later stories are far more approachable, from an ease of reading perspective, if even darker from their take on the world.
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Format: Hardcover
Having though 'Blue Light' one of the most fantastic new SF novels of recent years, and having been amazed at its poor reception from Mosley fans, I was delighted and surprised to see him back with another work of SF, and one which deals with many of the same themes as his previous genre work, but in markedly different ways.
The worst thing about Futureland is its title - I suspect an editor wary of making the book too innaccesible to non-SF readers (or perhaps even Mosley himself worrying about such problems), but whoever made the choice, it does not excactly sparkle with originality or invite wonder in anyone approaching the book. It deserved better.
The book itself is composed of nine linked stories set in a world where corporations have divided up the planet, and people are forced to live according to strict socio-economic and geographic constraints, even to the extent that New York, for example, is divided into three horizontal layers, where the poorest never see the sunlight. America remains the dominant power but it is forced to export many of its social problems: the growing prison population is now housed on privately-run islands where the drug-controlled prison population is used as slave labour. And of course, those who bear the brunt of this crusshingly divided world order are black. Race and gender politics are everywhere in this book, from the new opportunities generated by a world champion boxer who is a black woman (clearly drawn as a female Muhammed Ali) who can beat the best male fighters, to the onward march of the International Socialists, a depressingly realistic neo-Nazi movement.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a masterwork that far surpasses much of William Gibson's writing. Unlike much SF that obsesses about Trekkie-cool details of "realism" in a purely hypothetical technological tomorrow, Futureland goes straight to the point: we are racing heedlessly into a future where technology is a tool for the dark side of humanity to control everyone else. And it does so with an artist's brush, mixing subtle shapes and colors into a sometimes nightmarish surrealism that serves not only to wow people with sheer imagination, but more importantly, to bring the essentials of the world into glaring focus. The darkly gleaming picture that emerges from this distorted world is not much different from today - the tools are simply more advanced. With the paranoia in the world today about terrorism and nuclear threats, we are not that far away.
As far as race is concerned - the people who feel threatened by insinuations that black people are not treated fairly in today's world should seriously examine their assumptions. In Futureland, there is no hardcoded institutional racial discrimination - no Jim Crow laws - just like today. In Futureland, overt racism only comes from individuals, not government - just like today. In Futureland, most of the people in power are individuals who are racist yet believe that there is a level playing field - just like today. In Futureland, the cumulative effect of hegemony and class biases is a devastating one for blacks - just like today. Every single issue raised in this book is really one about people who happen to use technology, not technology. That makes some people nervous, but that is the genius of Futureland; its sharp focus on the essentials does not give quarter for intellectual complacency.
And all that while weaving a brilliant tapestry of interwoven stories.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Walter Mosley's detective stories for years and have really enjoyed them, especially the Easy Rawlins. My mother from Florida recommended them to me. Through Rawlins, Mosley reveals an interesting and compelling world in a way that makes you want to know more. When I heard he had a "science fiction" collection of short stories out I was at first skeptical. I am not a true fan of the typical sci-fi stuff. All those other worldly names, places and fantastic devices sound like so much gobbly-gook. Sargon Lord of the Twelfth Moon of Argolancia piloting his nuclear hyper-drive thermo-ion teleporter through the blue ice dust clouds of the Fengali Sector just doesn't play with me. I tune it out. But Futureland is something completely different.
The story comes first. Each story has a beginning, middle and end. Interesting, believable characters. Love stories, good against evil stories and murder mysteries. The futuristic aspects are just intertwined into the stories and do not overwhelm the purpose which is to tell a good story. While we don't know exactly how long in the future these stories come from, enough is the same that you could imagine Futureland as one possible evolution from where we are today. Some stories build on characters from others, so it is best to read the book from front to back. While the stories are enjoyable separately, together they illuminate a captivating, but very disturbing world. Intelligence is considered a national natural resource and the most promising young minds are compelled to serve the state. Body parts can be sold for massive amounts of money on the black market. Corporations control everything including countries.
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