Three dystopian novels for a fresh perspective

Margot Harrison, a fiction writer and editor at the Vermont newspaper Seven Days, offered us three recommendations for works dealing with malevolent technology. Her latest novel, “The Glare,” was released this month. Also check out her recent essay in The New York Times.
“Infinite Detail: A Novel” by Tim Maughan
In this 2019 dystopian novel, the only thing scarier than the all-pervasive presence of the internet is its abrupt disappearance. The story is told in alternating sections labeled “Before” and “After.” In the former, anarchist hackers unravel the web that holds us all; in the latter, they deal with the consequences of succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.
While depicting many all-too-plausible extensions of control and surveillance technology, Maughan suggests that it’s impossible to take a simple stand for or against the machines with which our ways of life are already fused.
“Feed” by M.T. Anderson
This was the book that convinced me that young adult fiction might be especially open to exploring technological anxieties because teens have never known a world offline.
Anderson envisions a future in which everyone has an implant feeding them entertainment, social interactions and micro-targeted advertising. The concept isn’t new, but Anderson’s narrator has an unforgettable voice: Holden Caulfield with a near-lethal injection of swaggering early-aughts MTV.
The “Nosedive” episode of “Black Mirror”
No piece of fiction has channeled my personal anxieties about social media quite as effectively as this.
In a near future in which people’s status and livelihood depend directly on the ratings others give them, a young woman makes a fatal series of small mistakes that zero out her social credit. It’s a nightmare that might convince you to put down the phone.

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