High tech makes life great. Life would great if not for high tech. These are five dystopian novels that extrapolate communication technology and explore our relationship with it. Most of the authors have won awards for previous work and there is a definite satirical bent to a few of the stories. Curl up with a book (or a Kindle, if you're daring) and be glad you live now.
Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett marries the ideas of a pervasive gun culture and reality TV. As John McDean readies his crew for the filming of an active shooter event, Delyna tends a bar full of armed regulars anticipating the television show. The program goes smoothly at first, then wildly sideways in this broad satire by a Shirley Jackson and Edgar Award-winning author.
Panoply Studios pays people if they fight and survive their killing machines in another future reality show in Michael Shea's The Extra. Three book lovers are out to beat the system, aided by a righteous few on the inside of the studio in this exciting page-turner.
The Enclave is where the troubled children of the rich are sent for their own protection as the world around them dissipates into plague, war, and ecological disaster. Deprived of their vices, most students become compliant, but a few break into the mainframe and disaster ensues. Unusual characters are well explored and make this book stand out.
The smart home meets Amazon meets 1984 in Joanna Kavenna's Zed. In a supposedly benevolent surveillance state run by the Beetle company, certain computer logic errors start occurring with fatal results. Told in alternate voices, this is a satirical novel of an evil corporation.
In Tim Maugham's Infinite Detail, the Internet is turned off and society collapses. The only ones prepared are residents of the Croft, who voluntarily went offline prior to the catastrophe. No great heroes here, just folks trying to survive and the guy who may have put them in this predicament in this indictment of online culture.
Have more stories of high tech gone haywire? Tell us in the comments.