In 2011 I was visiting South Africa for the first time and while I was there I stopped in a bookstore and wanted to find a South African sci-fi author. I picked up Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes and loved it. Zoo City isn’t exactly cyberpunk but it’s definitely dystopian and if I wanted to I could probably try and find a way to justify reviewing it here and maybe some day I while, but suffice it say, I was smitten and you should absolutely read it.
After reading Zoo City, I wanted to see what else Lauren Beukes had written and was shocked to find out that she had a pretty big underground cyberpunk hit,Moxyland. There were lots of sites and posts and articles about Moxyland. It had come out in 2008 why hadn’t I heard about it? Oh, I see. It came out in 2008 in the UK (where I was living at the time) but didn’t get released in the US until 2010.
Most of my UK cyberpunk friends are well familiar with Moxyland but most of my US friends still haven’t heard of it.
Moxyland is the only cyberpunk novel I’m aware of that’s set in South Africa, but there’s so many things that make South Africa a perfect setting. South Africa is a country with so much socio-political and economic change happening, it’s not hard to imagine one or two things upsetting the situation and turning it into a spiraling dystopia. But South Africa is also an incredibly optimistic country filled with so much potential.
A ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia.
Lauren Beukes writing style is unique and engaging but her vision of the future is thrilling and terrifying. By extrapolating current trends she creates a future that seems not just realistic but, at times, inevitable.
If you haven’t read Moxyland, you really should. If you have already read it let us know what you thought. If you have any recommendations for similar books let us know what they are.
(This is a repost. I am closing down a book review blog and moving the few posts I made over here.)