3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Near-future SF nearly works,
This review is from: Moxyland (Paperback)
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Writing successful near-future SF is a tricky business. You risk not getting it right for the hardcore SF fans for whom it's 'not SF enough', and alienating the more casual reader 'because it's too weird'. There's also the danger that the author doesn't quite know what to do with central idea and hedges their bets in terms of how far to push the elements of the plot that separate science fiction from literary fiction.
Getting it right can produce some truly impressive work. I'm thinking particularly of Ian McDonald, whose 'Brasyl', 'Cybereabad Days' and 'River of Gods' are mind-spinning books where near-future tech has shifted society in a direction which is recognisably still of our world, but just out of reach enough for it to feel alien and disconcerting.
Lauren Beukes has had a good go at following this McDonald-like path, and the thriller elements of her novel are well-drawn, but she's rather hamstrung by the other side of the equation: making 'Moxyland' a youth novel which can be read by mobile-tech literate people of 2010. There is also the analogy with apartheid with youth disenfranchisement which feels a little too heavy-handed.
For these reasons 'Moxyland' falls short of being classic SF, but there is the germ of a good SF writer here provided Beaukes is willing to let go the reins a little more.