TOTALITOPIA by John Crowley. PM Press (www.pmpress.org), 2017, 114 pp., $14.00. ISBN 978-1-62963-392-3.
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This is a collection of a lot of things, including original tales, essays and interviews.
In “This Is Our Town,” original to this volume, a “maybe” town of central-northeast Pennsylvania called Timber Town is about a boy who attends St. John Bosco School. He respects the work of Sister Rose of Lima, Fr. Paine and Fr. Michaels, and attends mass regularly. The boy prays to and researches the history of saints, looking for a saint to ensure there is snow for Christmas.
The title, “Totalitopia,” is a screed about the many futurist/dystopic/utopic visions of mankind’s future. The REAL future will often be the reverse of what is predicted. Crowley makes you wonder: Was the year 1984 averted BECAUSE of the publication of George Orwell’s 1984? Does the revelation of a possible future help avert or prevent it?
In “Everything That Rises,” the author attends a New York conference on cosmism, a term for humanity’s future role in the cosmos. Is immortality for humans in store? Definitely. Civil and technological progress at an unheard-of rate? Most likely.
In “Paul Park’s Hidden Worlds,” Crowley provides his own insights into the worlds from an author who inserts his own mini-autobiographies and story portals into it (from an article in the Boston Review in 2016).
“I Did Crash a Few Parties” is an interview of Crowley by Terry Bisson, one good biography and a lot more about how Crowley, the author, figured his own career.