Monthly Archive: February 2022

Terrifying SF stories

A Deepness in the Sky (1999) by Vernor Vinge. The Emergent mindrot virus, a tech of neurotoxins and a device that induces obsession with a single idea or specialty, called Focus, turning people into brilliant appliances.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” (1967) is a post-apocalyptic science fiction short story by American writer Harlan Ellison. The AI “AM” tortures the last surviving humans.

The Jesus Incident (1979) by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom. Sequel to is Destination: Void. Ship develops super intelligence, the ability to manipulate space and time, and demands WorShip.

Stand on Zanzibar (1968) and The Sheep Look Up (1972) by John Brunner. Overpopulation and resource depletion have degraded life. Explores all the little ways the breakdown affects the characters and compounds.

Venus of Dreams (1986) and sequels by Pamela Sargent. The world government, a bureaucracy that sees social order as its prime goal, is a bleak but depressingly plausible future. The government suppresses individuality, initiative, and change. Strong resonance with the historic Chinese empire and current Chinese efforts to use technology to control and channel society.

The Space Merchants (1952) by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth. Also The Merchants’ War (1984). Hyper-consumerism and advertising have destroyed society. Businesses run everything, run the political system as a product line. Through advertising, the public is deluded into thinking that the quality of life is improved by all the products placed on the market. Some products are highly addictive. The most basic elements of life are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

Broken Earth series: The Fifth Season (2015), The Obelisk Gate (2016), The Stone Sky (2017) by N.K. Jemisin. The system used to control the orogenes is brutal.

Xenogenesis / Lilith’s Brood series: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988), Imago (1989) by Octavia E. Butler. Dystopic series starts with Lilith is held captive by strange aliens and interbreed with an alien of the ‘third sex’.

Classic stories

Make Room! Make Room! (1966) by Harry Harrison.