Laura Noggle's Reviews > Uncanny Magazine Issue 2: January/February 2015

Uncanny Magazine Issue 2 by Lynne M. Thomas
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bookshelves: 2019, under-200-pages

🇨🇳Contemporary Dystopian Chinese Sci-Fi🇨🇳

This short story was referenced several times in Kai-fu Lee’s AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order which spurred my interest.

Although I’m not usually a big short story fan this novelette is unique and provides an interesting look inside a futuristic Beijing divided into a distinct class system.

Written by a highly educated Chinese woman, Folding Beijing explores the consequences of technology on society, specifically the lives of the rich vs poor.

Beijing is divided into First, Second, and Third Space, rotating according to allocated time in a 48 hour cycle. Third space is the most crowded with 50 million people (First Space has only 5 million), and is only allocated 8 hours of awake/living time. After their time is up, everyone goes into a gassed sleep and is folded underground.

Biopolitics, oppression, and easily controlled masses are addressed alongside fundamental inequity. Social divisions as a result of techno innovation is a very real threat, especially for the Chinese and the recent social credit system—reminding us that the future remains an unsolved challenge.

Favorite Quotes:

The noisy, quotidian chaos around him assured him with its familiarity.

The ground then began to turn. Square by square, pieces of the earth flipped 180 degrees around an axis, revealing the buildings on the other side. The buildings unfolded and stood up, awakening like a herd of beasts under the gray–blue sky. The island that was the city settled in the orange sunlight, spread open, and stood still as misty gray clouds roiled around it.

Strong–willed, Lao Dao’s father had held fast onto the thin reed of opportunity as the tide of humanity surged and then receded around him, until he found himself a survivor on the dry beach.

But after so many years, you grow a bit numb. There are many things in life we can’t change, and all we can do is to accept and endure.
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Reading Progress

March 20, 2019 – Shelved
March 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
March 21, 2019 – Started Reading
April 3, 2019 – Shelved as: under-200-pages
April 3, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
April 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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