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Sunday 4 January 2015

The Museum of the Future

The Museum of the Future is a new collection of 20 short stories, published by Jon Downes at CFZ Press under the “Fortean Fiction” imprint. I included the blurb in my Books, plural post last month, but here it is again:
Twenty tales of High Strangeness featuring conspiracy theorists, mad scientists, hippies, geeks and miscellaneous weirdos: A group of Cambridge academics investigate a crashed UFO... An outcast scientist discovers the secret of anti-gravity... A paranormal author finds himself prime suspect in the Case of the Purloined Poe... A student has a bewildering vision of the future... Four New Agers are regressed back to their past lives... An engineer invents a new way to spy on the competition... A viewer gets too deeply involved in a TV cop show... A young woman battles the spies, aliens and perverts that only she can see... and a dozen more stories!
Most of the stories were written because I was looking for an entertaining way of getting a particular idea across. As a result there’s quite a mix of styles and genres. There’s some science fiction, some adventure, some mystery and some horror. At least half the stories have a humorous element to them, and several are parodies of a specific style. I guess if I had to stick a label on the collection it would be “Fortean satire”.

There’s an account of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery in the style of an M. R. James ghost story, and of the Rendlesham UFO incident in the style of a pulp adventure. There’s Roswell-style paranoia, transplanted backward in time from the Cold War to the period just before the First World War. There’s H. P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu” retold in the style of Philip K. Dick. And there’s a murder mystery featuring homeopathy, Tesla coils and other internet-age wackiness.

The title story, “Museum of the Future”, is very short – but it’s retold five times. It’s a vision of the British Museum in the year 2012, as envisaged in 1912, 1932, 1952, 1972 and 1992. The basic plot is pretty much the same, but the background details are different every time. Not surprisingly, these reflect the political preoccupations of the time the story was written!

The Museum of the Future is published as a paperback (ISBN 978-1-909488-23-6), which I believe can be ordered from “all good bookshops” or via any of the Amazon sites. It’s also available as an ebook, but only in Kindle format (so my apologies to regular reader Colin and anyone else who may buy their ebooks elsewhere). Here are a few links:

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