After the Fall Edited by Alex Davis. Book review

AFTER THE FALL Edited by Alex Davis, Boo Books, s/b, £4 (plus free P&P through January),

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

After The Fall is a superb collection of short stories that all have a central theme – the loss of technology, and how the world and its populations adapt to cope.

The collected authors all approach this from different angles – the opening ‘Instrumentum’ by Adam Roberts tells of a world where technology of any type is outlawed, and humanity has evolved to enable the completion of tasks that previously required technology.  Humans have different attributes to enable this – long, sharp fingers for drilling seed holes, club hands for fighting, blade feet for ploughing fields.

Mike Chinn’s ‘Hell Freezes Over’ sees a new ice age covering Earth, with few humans surviving; Stephen Palmer’s curious ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ has people named after songs (Greensleeves, Scarborough Fair) living in Hyde Park and trading songs, and  David Hartley’s ‘Waiting for Google’ is an amusing take on Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’.

All of these superlative short stories depict often dystopian futures that seem unthinkable, and cause the reader to question – “what if?”  How would we cope if we no longer had the Internet?  No more TVs?  Let’s hope we never find out…