Is near-future fiction for you?

Who wants to read science fiction?

No doubt, the answer to that is, “It depends on the type of science fiction.”

So, I was fascinated to read what the reviewers on the recent book tour for Extracting Humanity had to say, not least because they were not science fiction fans, as such.

Now… this collection is pretty much all near-future, although there are some stories which are more speculative and far-fetched. So, that probably had a fairly significant influence. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the reviews. Of course, it’s great when people like your writing, but also it was great to hear this kind of fiction being received as thought-provoking. After all, that’s what a lot of science fiction hopes to be.

My conclusion – the audience for near-future science fiction is probably larger and wider than we imagine. Readers want to be challenged and inspired to think about the future and welcome the opportunity that the genre offers, especially if stories bring out the human side of where our technology might take us.

Here are some extracts from the reviews to highlight what I mean:

“It certainly makes the reader think about the directions we might be heading towards and to consider the morality of future decades and centuries. […] Short, sharp, direct, they achieve the impact they’re supposed to. And perhaps if we read them, respond to them and –  act we might prevent some desolate futures.”

“Extracting Humanity is slightly outside my usual reading preference being quite futuristic, and I did wonder if I’d engage with it, but I found this collection absolutely fascinating. […] Reading Stephen Oram’s words encourages – or perhaps even forces – the reader to contemplate not just humanity in general, but to extract a greater depth of understanding of their own humanity.”
Linda’s Book Bag:

“Don’t get me wrong I’ve read the odd dystopian novel in my time but this is on another level. It’s futuristic and it’s oddly scary that this could be the way our lives change. […] this has shown me that I really must delve out of my comfort zone much more this year […] There’s so much variety within these stories and they will definitely leave you thinking about them long after the last page.”
Hayley Reviews:

“…they were thought provoking and it took me a while to get through this book solely for the fact that they really did make me think about the future and if certain things could happen. […] Throughout reading this book I experienced shock, fear, awe and sadness.”

“These don’t come across as preachy at all. They naturally make you think and wonder. I enjoyed every page of this and felt as you should at the end of a book such as this one. Unsettled.”
Angi Plant:

“This collection was amazing! It reminded me a bit of the series Black Mirror but less horror focused (albeit there are some horrific scenarios) and more realistic! I found that all the stories came back to the timeless question of “What is humanity?” and some of them are so thought provoking and actual that I still think about them.[…] They explore different aspects of humanity and I was left with so many questions and thoughts! I could continue talking about this collection because I so loved it, but I’ll let you be the judge. Definitely one of my best reads this year!”

And then from a couple of Youtube reviews

“All [the stories are] humanity and social based […] I really think that the summary [on the back cover] is what this collection is about. I really liked the diversity and the inclusion within all these stories.” Eleanor NicBhatair

“One of the things the author does very well with this collection is brings it down to how this global [AI] phenomenon affects an individual, the family or a singular human, to a singular character. And then through that character manages to explain what is gong on globally.” Charles Heathcote

For me, the consistent references to the ‘humanity’ in the stories, and that they have made the reviewers think, is extremely heartening and a little humbling. And, of course I’m massively chuffed.

Also Isabelle Kenyon interviewed me on the tour; if you want a bit more background to the collection and my writing you can read the interview here:

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