Brighter Future released on Kindle and paperback

Been a bit quiet for a few days putting the finishing touches on the first Brighter Future collection, making it ready for Amazon.

If you’d rather not buy from Amazon, there’s a slightly out of date version of the full text here.

https://leanpub.com/toabf-v1

Welcome to the anti-dystopian collection Brighter Future, volume 1. It’s the first three parts of what was originally a projected six novella venture where I wrote on various themes set in the near future, looking at how people escaped the ecocide and built a fairer world where everybody got fed, educated and housed. I have no idea if I will create the other novellas or move on to other things.

So you hold here the end result of several years’ work. I wanted to create an alternative to the dystopian doom and gloom that seems so prevalent in fiction at the moment. I am a socialist and I think the final death throes of late stage capitalism finally running out of its own tail to eat have created a strong current in our society that makes people think the world is going to end. The world is going to end, if by that you mean the late-stage capitalist world. As Rosa Luxemburg said, it will descend into Socialism or Barbarism. A more modern take is Eco-socialism or Barbarism. The current way of doing things is unsustainable. It’s not up for debate.

I wanted to create a place where we could start having a conversation about living in a better world without just mouthing platitudes like a better world is possible. Yeah, fine, even a better world is necessary. But where do you start and what would things look like after you started the transition?I got into a discussion with someone who said what I was writing must therefore be utopian, rather than anti-dystopian. But the problem is utopian writing is perceived as having an undercurrent of impossibility.

I’m simply advocating for a world where people’s needs come first, and the evil god of endless accumulation is buried, after having its heart torn out and eaten by the hungry millions. A world where our understanding of complex systems is used to help us carefully create something beautiful and worthwhile that doesn’t waste human potential or destroy the things that sustain us. A world that’s beautiful and loved by the people living on it.In the 20th century, and even more so in the 21st, humans have finally gained the tools to understand how to build systems that work properly, starting from needs and making sure nobody is left behind. But we have a society that is unaware of this, and is a living demonstration of a dictum often attributed to Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is a sign of madness. A tiny number of lucky mediocrities lording it over the rest of us is indeed madness.

This work is unabashedly anarcho-socialist in bent, and doesn’t take any prisoners in terms of people who want apologia for capitalism. We know there is a better way, and I know we can find it if we work together. The world does not spring fully-formed from one person’s vision, but if we can share stories that help us understand change is possible, and even relatively easy, then I have achieved my goal.

Tales of a Brighter Future Volume 1 published

I’ve been working on Tales for a long time. The first book was started in Google Docs in June 2017 I had the last novella Zerø Day in what felt like a finished but not quite ready state for a few months and hadn’t pushed it out as a separate project onto Leanpub because I just wasn’t sure. In the end, just do it. If nobody reads it, fine. If some folks read it and get something out of it, fine. If it makes some reactionaries get all worked up, even better.

For the record:

  • The Retreat A story set in the South Atlantic on an autonomous ship that is cleaning up the plastic mess. Set about 50 years into an imagined future.
  • Better Way Set slightly earlier. Story of the collapse and how people escaped it with some mayhem added for versimilitude.
  • Zerø Day Set some time around now. How do we get armies to surrender and help rebuild the countries they’re occupying?

I spent most of new year’s eve putting them together and fighting with Leanpub’s new formatting engine. Managed to get it working but was seriously close to losing it with some of the recent changes on Leanpub about their formatting of markdown. After a lot of swearing I discovered I could go back to the original markdown engine and all was well. I’ve started writing using the vim editor, which breaks lines at line column 67. This is easier to read and look at differences than using very long wrapped line per paragraph.

Leanpub’s new wizzy engine was putting line but not paragraph breaks in and it looked awful. This will apparently become some kind of an option in future.

One of the things that surprised me when I was looking at Zero Day is how angry I am at the dangerous stupidity of our masters. I recently launched an independent project called No Mandate that has some articles and things looking at the problem of Empire Socialism and other things that are gonna kill us if we don’t get a grip on them. This is why I’ve been quiet on here for a while: I couldn’t stop myself writing this 17,000 word piece, it came to me over the course of a few days and I was waking up early with it in my head shouting at me to get it written. Then I’ve probably read it through and refined the arguments it uses a hundred times since it first came out of my editor.

Then I wanted to put it into its own site, and as it is a quite long piece also give it a page per section to make it easier to read online. This involved a fair bit of programming and chin stroking that kinda ate my creative energies for about six weeks at least. In amongst being really depressed because lockdown and the world filling up with even more avoidable suffering paralysing me a bit.

Inside Zerø Day there is a chapter called The No Mandate Manifesto that contains many similar ideas but expressed as angry rhetoric asking my fellow slaves to think about the situation they find themselves in. I don’t remember writing it. It must have been part of my drive to write 1000 words a day and I just wrote it almost on automatic. It’s not really a manifesto, it’s a call to action, a docmentation of the rage I feel when confronted with the vicious capitalist machine.

It’s quite shocking to me that I was unaware of how angry I am. On the day to day surface I don’t seem to feel the fury that’s obviously deep in my heart. Recently I have noticed that I’m far more willing to tell people who are too deluded to reach, and who are doing things like running anti-mask groups, or pandering to whatever ridiculous racist, sexist, homo or trans-phobic shite the alt-right trolls are pushing now just to fuck off. Mainly because it’s better to spend your energies on people your love can reach and let others grow until you can actually converse with them sensibly. I don’t engage to be honest, and leave the fucking off to people who try to have a go at me.

This is the hardest part. My world view is based on an intense love for this world and everything in it. Watching people deliberately hurting themselves so they can stick one on the lefties or whatever is fucking hard, and makes me even angrier that some troll has managed to damage them so much they think this is a good way to live. Humans are not stupid, whatever the cynics say, and watching people act in ways that will hurt themselves as much as anyone because of a weird hatred is deeply saddening.

I will probably use the software I developed to turn the Empire Socialism piece into a coherent website on the three novellas and put them up on a TOABF site linked from here. I want people to read stuff and argue and think about it.

The problematic thing is if I turn on comments on this site I get overloaded with spam and I just don’t have the time. I might start up a Discord server where I can converse with people without the overhead of spam. We’ll see.

If you want to read the book and are skint please get in contact. I can send you a link where you can download it for free. I don’t want any barriers in the way, but it would be nice to start getting support for this work as it takes a lot of my energies.

Oh, and

Happy New Year 🙂