About the Book
Welcome to the anti-dystopian collection Tales of a 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.
So you hold here the end result of several years' work. I wanted to create an alternative to the dystopoan 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.
Each work stands alone, and there are often chapters that are prose poems thinking about the nature of the mind and other topics that have always interested me. Until about 10 years ago I was a practising Buddhist. One day I couldn't recite the mantras any more. I was done. I know I'm not an enlightened being, but I also know you can't force it. My scientific bent of mind couldn't (or didn't want to) deal with the contradictions. I also could no longer turn away from the suffering all around me and felt I needed to turn back to the world, even if it's only writing these simple tales. So here we are, dear reader.
This work is unabashedly anarcho-socialist in bent, and doesn't take any prisoners in terms of people who want apologia for capitalism. I 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.
About the Author
Born 1959 in Edinburgh. Father was a doctor and university lecturer in psychiatry and Mother had been psychiatric ward sister. Both were of relatively humble origins. Father had been a prisoner of war. When Francis was about 5 they went to live in Liverpool because Father had been asked to take up the newly created professorship there. They lived in the grounds of the now long-gone lunatic asylum while they looked for somewhere to live. Eventually they ended up living in a big house in the suburbs on the South of the city.
Eventually he gained a degree in Applied Statistics and Computing in 1987 and has earned his living writing software ever since. He is a British Canoe Union qualified level 3 kayak instructor. He is married to a six foot red head; they have two children and live in a big house in Birkenhead. He is committed Buddhist.
Find out more from his blog