Author: John Shirley – Mixing outlaw humor, sci-fi adventure, and cutting social criticism, this collection draws upon John Shirley’s entire arsenal. The title essay, "New Taboos" is his prescription for a radical revisioning of America. A new short story, "State of Imprisonment," is a horrifying and hilarious look at the privatization of the prison industry. The one percent gets their comeuppance in "Where the Market's Hottest." His TEDx address (delivered in Brussels in 2011) presents his proudly contrarian views of the next 40 years. Also featured is an Outspoken Interview showcasing the author's progressive sensibility, deep humanity, and mordant wit.
Part of the Outspoken Authors series (previous books featured Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson, Michael Moorcock, and Ursula Le Guin), this little book is a gift for fans of Shirley, an early architect of cyberpunk. The title piece, “New Taboos,” is an essay proposing, in a sort of ironic Swiftian sense, some new taboos—toxifying the environment, lying in order to make money, making unreasonably large profits, among others—and some new punishments (including “economic and social ostracism”). “State of Imprisonment” is a first-time-in-print novella about the privatization of the prison industry; it’s funny with some serious undertones. “Why We Need Forty Years of Hell” is another essay, this one about the rapidly approaching point at which technology becomes so advanced that a new kind of intelligence is created, a hybrid of the human and robotic mind. Finally, the book includes an interview with Shirley, which should be considered required reading for fans looking for insight into this cult favorite’s writings. --David Pitt