Technological interference of the human physical and metaphysical being has been at the centre of modern science fiction from H . G Wells work. However with the ascent of tech and its near hourly interaction (I am writing on a laptop, with my mobile close beside me and a television playing the strings of a film score in the same space, we are in overload. Selfmadehero release a collection of shorts about the link between humans and machine. That growing inter relationship between device, interface, Operating system and mechanical construct. Box Brown (writer of the exceptional TETRIS), Shaun Tan (Writer of THE ARRIVAL), Tillie Walden ( writer of stunning SPINNING) Krent Able , Erik Svetoft and Julia Hanshaw all give us points to ponder.
I often come to these works like you would a portmenteu piece of film. You need a sharp, assured start and you get it here. Box Browns ‘Uploading’ starts the book and leaves you in little doubt of Browns castic wit or narrative skill. Its all about our reshaping the earth limitations of mind, with technological development of augmented reality. Underscored throughout is ‘but at what cost’. From familial relationships to the natural expiration of human emotion. Its powerful stuff, if a little sardonic. Svetoft STHLM Transfer explores how governing the pulses of technology and data will require powerful controls. It will also require even more company interference. A thought to perturb and perplex. Told sparingly and with art that disconnects, I found this the easiest piece to crack. However Tan’s ‘Here I am’ is a hallucinatory dream, akin to Alice through a microprocessor screen. Its a metaphorical delight and sends you searching for the rabbit hole to which we are all drawn. I feel this is the fairy tale which will capture many readers. It might also frustrate them enough to return and dig deeper. Well worth it. Walden ‘Contours’ simplistic tone and reach is a modern day parable that is so simple, it off balances those unprepared. Spinning did the same. Simply, honestly told and ranged with a colour scheme and texture so slight without borders or over packaged detail. Very much the cleansing piece that lasts with you. Hanshaw ‘Be Little with me’ has to be taken time with. I didn’t enjoy it so much. By some way the hardest to decipher. It might not want you to know all its riches. The visual textures and simple commodity are not to my taste but could be for you. My favourite piece comes at the conclusion. Able catapults all manner of inspirations into a mix of technological sensationalism and copy cat enslavement. Merging slasher films, drugs and technological dependency into a horrifically clever finale.
AVAILABLE FROM SELFMADEHERO and all good bookshops