I feel sort of up-side down nostalgia, caused by a book set in here and now. This book is in Finnish (Rakkaus niinku, Johannes Ekholm) and not been translated to other languages yet. It is about a thirtysomething designer/writer guy, who records his everyday discussions with his friends and family on his cellphone. This guy Joona has been fired from his job and had to move back with his parents, he suffers from feelings of anxiety and meaninglessness, and his most meaningful relationship is chatting with a girl he has never met. This book is in no way speculative fiction, due to being composed of real-seeming discussions, phonealls and chats. Maybe it's even anti-speculative, if such a category exists. It is very much the 21st century urban Finland reality: meatspace and social media existence similar in importance. Social wrongs so huge they inspire self-centered apathy instead of action. Everyone agrees that glaciers are melting and the Earth is nudging closer to destruction every day, and yet they are unable to escape from this economical system which compels people to do work they know is harmful. All very real, nothing made up. I know these people very well (although my social circles are about 5 years older, have more kids and use less drugs or hide their habits from me).
The speculative part is in my head. I'd love to send this book back in time some three or four decades. I'm imagining how Joona chatting on Google hangouts with Sadgirl91 would come across in 1987 or so. I'm imagining myself sitting in my room as a kid, maybe 1989 or 1990, window facing dark fir forest, www still an unherad-of invention, new third channel on television still mostly seen as unnecessary luxury, cell phones something maybe seen on James Bond, and then! How it would have felt reading about a world where people live their lives as much on portable computer screens as in the real world, dropping half-digested sociological theory buzzwords with the ease only available to people who can and do Google them instantly and speed-read through half a dozen blog posts about any subject while tapping their messages with their thumbs. It's a strange hybrid of utopia and dystopia. Information utopia bubble in a sea of suffering. I've experienced this lost in time sensation with other books too. Gibson's Spook Country, which is not speculative fiction, made me want to read it back in the eighties as near-future cyberpunkish SF. And it feels somehow like a waste and a pity to read it here and now, where it is lifted right off the life so familiar to me. A couple of decades back I would have read with eyes wide in wonder and shock and amazement!
I've experienced this lost in time sensation with other books too. Gibson's Spook Country, which is not speculative fiction, made me want to read it back in the eighties as near-future cyberpunkish SF.