Black Mirror - Charlie Brooker’s chilling reflection on our media-obsessed society is almost at an end. With echoes of Cronenburg’s Videodrome, thrown in with a Lynchian sense of irony, the last two episodes have been especially haunting.
Although the premise of the first episode Be Right Back seems far-fetched, technology giant Google recently hired famed inventor Ray Kurzweil as their director of engineering. Kurzweil has a locker full of memorabilia -- family photographs, letters and um...utility bills belonging to his deceased father Fredric. One day he’s going to feed all this data into a machine to create a virtual rendering of his dear old dad. Sound familiar?
On top of that a new service called_LivesOn has developed an algorithm that analyzes your tweets and tweets on your behalf after you die. A sort of social media life assurance if you like. The reality of Black Mirror Episode One, Season Two, exists now whether we like it or not.
Genre Fiction at its best makes us think. It makes us question how we want the world to be. It allows inventors and scientists to dream, to strive to make things better (or make things worse). Pan Macmillan and Tor have published some thought-provoking fiction in the last few decades. We were the original publisher of Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory way back in 1984 and have been publishing China Miéville for more then ten years.
In honour of all thought-provoking works of fiction, Tor and Pan Macmillan are giving away a collection of books that will make you think.
First up we have China Miéville’s Embassytown: a meditation on diplomacy and language set at the edge of the universe.
Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First is a chilling tale about the lies we tell on the Network, and will make you think about how you behave online.
Next we’re giving away an ebook of Grand Canyon - Vita Sackville West’s little known alternate history. Written in 1942, long before Phillip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, West writes of a horrifying reality where Germany has conquered Britain in the Second World war and only America stands, protected by the fragile Pacific Charter – a precarious promise of peace from the Reich.
Peter F Hamilton’s Misspent Youth looks not so far into the future in 2040. Jeff Baker is a legend. He’s an internationally-renowned inventor and philanthropist extraordinaire, and at seventy-eight he’s given the world much of his genius. When Europe can finally rejuvenate a human being after decades of research, Baker becomes first choice for the gift of youth. And after eighteen months in a German medical facility, Jeff returns home looking no more than twenty. Of course the gift of youth comes at a price...
Finally we’ll be giving a proof copy away of the eagerly awaited Reviver from Seth Patrick: Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation. However all is not what it seems. It’s Stephen King for the HBO generation.
To get your hands on these books simply head over to the Tor Facebook page, hit Like, and then let us know what books/films make you think.
Competition is open to UK & Ireland entrants only.