Poor old Stephen King must be getting rather tired of denying he’s writing predictions rather than simply good stories. First he had everyone insisting that Trump is the hideous Greg Stillson (from The Dead Zone) made flesh, then everyone lost their minds eight months ago as to whether or not this was really Captain Trips and there would only be about .5% of us left by midsummer.
While I am a fairly longterm fan of Mr K, there are a few other books and authors on my mind these days. In the spring and summer, I devoured Mira Grant’s stories of the Rising and its aftermath – zombies happened, but 20 years ago and now the world is learning to live with the dead. Only there is a sinister government conspiracy to keep the population scared and compliant… I found some of her potential predictions horrifyingly plausible and, yeah, loved the series so much I went and had Rise Up While You Can tattooed on myself.
Over the last week, the book I found myself digging out and looking at again was Six Days, by one Brandon DuBois. It’s pretty obscure, but the premise is worryingly believable: a moral-majority evangelical fascist, having lost the election, decides to stage a coup. He’s got followers dotted all through the military, the government and law enforcement, they are all woman-hating white supremacists and happy to kill millions of Americans as long as they get their own way.
Erotic fiction doesn’t, on the whole, lend itself to predictions. There are a few titles with a scifi or virtual reality theme such as Slave to the Machine (and I have a bundle of futuristic filth available on the Special Offer page just now) – and one of the stories in my own Brexit-themed collection. But there were a couple of novels published in the 1990s by Nexus, Pleasurehouse 13 and The Last Days of the Pleasurehouse, which did offer an interesting view of a potential future. UK-based, they depicted a type of modern feudalism, with the population divided into a ruling class, a ‘middle’ class consisting of entertainers and sex workers, and the remainder of the population walled up in cities, supplied with plenty of food, entertainment and other necessities but wholly captive and powerless. Of course, the protagonists are rebels against this situation and of course they win. The two books are hardly literary masterpieces and, for mass-market erotica, they contain some seriously dark and unpleasant non-consensual violence, but the worldbuilding is fairly good and there is something uneasily all too possible about a society arranged along such lines.
It’s just as well that the Pleasurehouse stories, like all dystopias, at least conclude with the forces of evil being overthrown.
(and speaking of forces of evil, yes there are Zon links on this page. But if you want to buy the books, do ask your friendly local indie bookseller if you get the chance…)