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Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World by [Mosley, Walter]
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Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 924 KB
  • Print Length: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (4 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,664 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By A Customer on 20 Dec. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Life in America a generation from now which isn't that different except the drugs are better & the daily grind worse. The world's legal knowledge can be stored on a chip in your little finger & the Supreme Court has decreed that constitutional rights don't apply to any individual who challenges the system - meanwhile justice is delivered by automated courts.
The world still turns & the celebs, working stiffs, leaders, victims, technocrats, crooks & revolutionaries still have to get by with the hands they're dealt.
This near-future science fiction thriller held me firmly in its grasp from the fly leaf to the last page. Every chapter is an individual story yet when all is read & done - it is very well done!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x963a6948) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x965844e0) out of 5 stars Intelligent and dark look at the near future 28 Dec. 2001
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
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.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96584534) out of 5 stars An Important, if Flawed, Work 11 Jan. 2002
By flying-monkey - Published on Amazon.com
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. The latter are dismissed by various characters in the book as unimportant, marginal or simply 'conservative' (a justification used by a member), however they gradually assume a central importance as the trajectories woven in the various separate tales are threaded together towards the final stories. As in Blue Light, the tone of the conclusion is downbeat, the final story almost an epigraph, despite the overt hope of renewal.
As an SF setting, and even as a collection of short stories, Futureland might not stand up to close examination were it not for three factors. The first is Mosley's righteously angry politics (mentioned above), the second is his obvious love for the genre, and his knowledge of its past. Another reviewer compared Futureland very unfavourably to the work of William Gibson, as cyberpunk fiction. However I feel this misses the point. Gibson also understands the context in which SF is written, witness his fabulous early story, The Gernsback Continuum, which mixes Twilight Zone style plotting and the 'airships and aryans-in-togas' imagery from the 1930s pulp magazines, yet which makes a very contemporary point about memory and its relationship to our visions of the future. Mosley also mixes all sorts of iconic SF images into his work: there are the info-monks, with their blue cloaks and their brains made visible by plastic domes, there is a superintelligent megalomaniac attempting to rebuild Atlantis and colonise Mars, and an equally gifted child prodigy who finds ways of speaking to God through radio noise. There are also SF images from the New Wave period: a world-weary 'electronic private eye', a man suddently startled to find his dull existence turned downside-up by a fortune he struggles to understand, a prisoner who can liberate himself and others only through his own death and so on. The final factor is Mosley's ironic sensibility. These iconic SF devices are skillfully strung together with (also like Gibson) a delightful and sometimes disturbing use of irony: for example, Vietnam which has struggled to liberate itlsef from the French and then the Americans, and then (some might argue) from its own form of communism, has succeeded, only to find itself divided up and owned by trans-national corporations.
Futureland doesn't succeed entirely, and this is largely dues to the variable quality of the stories. Some, like the opener Whispers in the Dark; the prison drama, Angel's Island; the future private detective tale, The Electric Eye; and the multi-layered both hopeful and disturbing closer, The Nig in Me; are superb - others read more like fillers. Perhaps this is simply personal preference. The only work I can think of that compares to Futureland is John Brunner's massive New Wave dystopia, Stand on Zanzibar, another ambitious brilliant-but-flawed work packed with irony, from an equally angry and socially-aware author.
Two messages, then:
To Walter Mosley - I can only beg you to ignore the occasional detractors and keep writing science fiction alongside the brilliant crime writing.
To everyone else - read this book, it's important.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2100b7c) out of 5 stars the dark mirror of reality 4 Dec. 2002
By Y. Nakai - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x965847bc) out of 5 stars A very intriguing world 20 Jan. 2002
By Martin Tobias - Published on Amazon.com
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. Today's Wall Street mergers and acquisitions are taking to the extreme as whole cities and even countries are bought and sold. New York skyscrapers are 300 stories tall with the classes distributed between the top, middle and bottom. Below is the wasteland of Common Ground where you go when you are unemployed and sleep in a tube like some Japanese businessmen today. If you are not employed you loose most privileges of citizenship. You screw up too many times and you become "White Noise", bereft of all privileges, any possibility to regain them and forgotten by everybody. This world is revealed layer by layer through the daily lives of the characters in each story. It is much like learning about another city by reading a mystery novel set there. The conflict and challenges of the characters are engaging you as a reader and the backdrop of their world is adding spice. That is the way is should be. Very satisfying. I will probably read them all again in 10 years and see if we are still heading in Mosley's predicted direction or have found another path. While entertained by Mosley's vision of the future, I hope we find another way.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x965849fc) out of 5 stars The More Things Change... 24 July 2003
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was quite surprised by this book, because the blurbs on the jacket do not reveal exactly what is in store. This is a very creative and engrossing collection of interrelated sci-fi short stories, and the key is the very strong African-American perspective. That's not really newsworthy with a black storyteller, but the real surprise is Mosley's unforgiving take on race relations in a dysfunctional future, although the commentary on racial matters gets a little heavy-handed at times. Regardless, in this future landscape, the more things change the more they'll stay the same. Technical advances and a supposed utopia will still leave minorities behind, even when the majority is equally brutalized by the technocracy. Some reviewers have claimed that Mosley is behind the times when it comes to modern science fiction, as he usually works in other genres, but that's not the case. His visions of a technological dystopia in the near future, as the result of total corporate control of society and the relentless pursuit of profits at the expense of human rights (for all humans), has been showing up in a lot if recent sci-fi and speculative fiction. Mosley's vision of total corporate dominance and social breakdown is both far-fetched and frighteningly possible, if current trends in real life aren't curtailed soon. But Mosley is also well versed in classic sci-fi, as his sense of creeping social dread and human restlessness in the face of technology shows a strong Bradbury influence. In the end of Mosley's nightmare vision, most of humanity is destroyed and there's still prejudice and hatred. The complete destruction of humanity by technocratic domineering and megalomania won't stop the worst strains of human nature. [~doomsdayer520~]
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