A series of vignettes that explore a future for humanity that looks very much like certain aspects of our past, 3024AD: Short Stories Series One by DES Richard (@DeanFortyThree) has a fascinating blend of characters: pirates, gunslingers, corporate killers and even a dashing archaeologist.
I found the format of this book to be intriguing (see my interview with the author) and for me it worked very well. Although all are set during the titular year, some stories are linked and others stand alone; a few characters appear more than once while others are one-and-done. Interspersed within the narrative are entries from the 3025 edition of the “Encyclopedia Galactica” which provide some of the backstory.
In a nutshell: humanity has moved out into space, eventually leaving a war-devastated Earth behind. Various nations and mega-corporations have claimed and colonized planets through terraforming, using space stations as commerce hubs and waypoints. As one may expect, thinking back to our own history, piracy is rampant on trade routes between isolated posts and the various nations jostle uneasily against each other where their boundaries touch.
This is no utopian future. Much as it was in post-Industrial Age Earth, there is a yawning gap in quality of life for the haves and have-nots and the corporations are more like empires than businesses. The weapons may be lasers instead of cannons and six-shooters, but there is an Old West Frontier feel to the newly colonized worlds.
As I said, the vignette format works well to give readers a wide-angle view of the “universe” created by the author. The stories were uniformly quick reads, and there was a nice mixture of action and information. At times I flipped back to earlier stories to refresh my memory about a character or event, but that is not meant as criticism; as a reader I appreciate the depth and breadth of the universe the author has created.
I enjoyed spending time in 3024AD quite a bit, and am looking forward to future instalments in this series. If you’re looking for an interesting take on what our future may be, filled with action and interesting characters, I suspect you’ll enjoy it too. For more on the author and his writing, visit his blog.