I packed two books for my vacation last week and they were both quick, engaging reads that I finished before my flight back home. I found myself at the airport bookstore not wanting to splurge on a new hardcover title, but wanting a story I wouldn’t regret purchasing. And there it was, The Circle by Dave Eggers. I hadn’t visited Eggers words in years, but knew instantly this was the book to get me through my afternoon of traveling. I almost read this book in 2013 – fresh out of college and probably just as naïve as the main character, Mae. I’m glad I waited until now. Now I can fully comprehend how eerily real this story is – personal data freely available to larger organizations in the name of progress, a false sense of community, and information overload. I appreciate science fiction for its prophetic ability. Many current technological concepts can be found in books written in the 1960s and 1970s.
The following stories are contemporary science fiction books with a focus on the effects of technology on society similar to The Circle.
Super Sad But True Love Story by Gary Schteyngart: Lenny Abramov is neutoric, unsexy, and trying with everything he has to be hip enough to attract a young love interest. But what is a book-loving guy to do in a post literate society where social rank and appearance is king?
Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel: After getting fired from his dating website job for creating an algorithm that is too perfect, Sam has a lot of time on his hands. When his girlfriend’s beloved grandma dies, Sam creates a computer program that allows her to keep communicating with her grandma. It doesn’t take long for a new business to form, but how can Sam justify the ethics of this kind of artificial intelligence?
Touch by Courtney Maum: Sloane Jacobson is invited to forecast new tech trends at a conference. She’s the best at her job and she can only see that there will be an anti-electronic movement in the future. What will her quest for human connection reveal?