Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 10:10 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 10:10 | SYDNEY

Imagined futures


Mark Thirlwell

20 July 2010 08:02

I've just finished reading The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. Set in a future Istanbul, in a Turkey that has recently joined the European Union, the story takes in nanotechnology, prediction markets, international gas deals, as well as mysticism and a quest for the fabled Mellified Man. It's wonderful stuff. 

The Dervish House comes in the wake of a couple of other excellent novels in which McDonald has explored a future India (River of Gods) and a series of alternate Brazils (Brasyl).

One of the many reasons these books are interesting is that they are a sign of how Western SF writers are now imagining that many of the interesting bits of our international future will be found in non-Western societies (another good example is Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl). In this way, these stories are a nice indicator of shifts in attitudes in our contemporary world. They are also an enjoyably different way to think about some of the potential futures that might be underpin all of those economic forecasts about the BRICs and the N-11.

If you haven't read any McDonald, it's worth giving him a try.