Box set offers a curated look at the present, as written by authors of the past.
By Steven Sandor | January 6, 2021
We’ve come to expect beautifully packaged items from Hingston & Olsen, and Projections lives up to the standard — 13 booklets, an editor’s introduction and a dozen pulp-science-fiction stories are stashed inside a striking pink and purple package.
What’s amazing about it is that, despite how elaborate the box and the contents within are, how the selection process for the 12 tales was so nimble.
The point was to take a dozen science-fiction stories written years ago that predicted what life would be like … about now. And editor Rebecca Romney notes that, as COVID-19 cases rose, she decided to change some of her selections, to reflect exactly what was happening on the planet. There was an ability to reform this collection basically months before its release.
And it was one of those new additions that’s the highlight of this collection. J.G. Ballard’s Intensive Care Unit was written in the 1970s, but imagines a world where every human lives in a sealed apartment, and our only contact with each other is done through video terminals. Marriages, work and even sex are things that are done remotely. It’s like the world has taken Zoom chats to the extreme. But it also serves as a warning for those of us who have kids who spend a lot of time in front of their screens, who have replaced phone calls with texting, who have replaced bike rides and street hockey with Fortnite marathons.
Another highlight: James Blish, a sci-fi writing stalwart who began a campaign against Disney for allegedly not paying rights fees owed to him, contributes a part of We All Die Naked, a story from 1969 that predicts a world overtaken by carbon. It’s uncomfortably familiar. And that’s the point.
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Projections Edited by Rebecca Romney (Hingston & Olsen)