Waiting For The Machines To Fall Asleep Edited by Peter Öberg. Book review

WAITING FOR THE MACHINES TO FALL ASLEEP Edited by Peter Öberg, Affront Publishing, s/b, £9.45

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

 These days, Swedish fiction has a certain image – in a large part, dour characters investigating crimes, whilst sporting heavy knitwear. Swedish science fiction though is something that I’d personally not heard of as a specific genre. This book claims to hold the “best new science fiction from Sweden”, and from this reviewer’s point of view, it’s pretty darned good stuff. Containing a plethora of stories from a multitude of authentically Swedish-named authors, these are some cracking sci-fi tales.

Hans Olssen’s opening “Melody of the Yellow Bard” sees a young genius recruited by a shadowy research company that wants his expertise to help them fix a machine that creates wormholes to other planets.

Ingrid Remvall’s “Vegatropolis – City of the Beautiful” depicts a dystopian future where super advanced Artificial Intelligence lifeforms are gradually subjugating the human race through the most devious of methods.

One of my favourites though has to be the almost titular “Keep Fighting Until the Machines Fall Asleep”, by Eva Holmquist. Kate and her friends exist in a future where the planet is run by machines, and they dream of freeing the human race from the bonds of slavery to the machines. She gets hold of a virus that she releases into the mainframe, which gradually shuts down all of the machines and androids. Kate’s utopian future though, isn’t quite what she imagined…

Not a single one of the stories lurking within the pages of this book is a duff one – if this is the best new sci-fi from Sweden, then I can’t wait to see more!