Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction in Extreme Futures
Bicycles are big in the future utopian or dystopian worlds imagined by the contributors to Elly Blue’s collection. Whether working in an asteroid mine and having to make do with a stationary bike while pondering the nature of AI fellow workers; learning to communicate with a new, advanced bike that will respond to its rider only when its true name is discovered; musing over the possibility that your bike repair lady, who might be a robot, has just hit on you; being pregnant in a society in which all your vital functions are monitored and broadcast to the community at large (for your own good); or discovering that a gruesome means of feeding the remaining population has been developed in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, bicycles still offer what they’ve always offered here on Earth: freedom, contact with nature, and an inexpensive, nonpolluting form of transportation. For some of the collection’s strong heroines, they are also a means of escape.
Thought-provoking and disturbing, the stories demand that we face questions that, not too far down the pike, may require answers of us: whether or not robots have rights; how far a society can be allowed to go in monitoring its members; whether or not current sexual mores and gender roles are still relevant in a new world; how to relate to machines that are becoming more and more like humans; and how best to develop the skills needed to survive in an environment that appears hostile to human life.
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