Prose, paperback, 189 pages, from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.
For We Are Young and Free is a collection of meta-fictional cyberpunk and supporting documents set in a pseudo-libertarian dystopian Australia. It extends the familiar tropes of cyberpunk to unfamiliar settings, including towns and small Australian cities, using the 'high-tech, low-life' aesthetic of the genre as a tool for comment on the economic and political realities of life in contemporary Australia. Neither strictly sci-fi nor experimental literature, unambiguously satirical or entirely dystopian, For We Are Young and Free creates a hybrid space between the genres, designed to make us speculate on the similarities between the world we live in and the worlds of science fiction, and what that might imply about the future of Australia.
Tackling everything from metadata retention to philosophy of language, and income inequality to computer games, For We Are Young and Free is a bristling attack on the ideology of neoliberal capitalism, inspired by the Federal Australian government's continual attempts to re-define reality in the service of our privileged upper classes. Inspired by a combination of contemporary sci-fi, late-stage capitalism, and modernist dystopias like Brave New World and 1984, it simulates its fictional society at every level, showing the subcultures, social issues, and popular culture of a very dark portrayal of Australia in 2069. It also shows us how we got there, and hopefully what we can do to stop it happening.
Maddison Stoff is a non-binary, autistic author, independent musician, and occasional critic from Melbourne, Australia. She writes and performs as solo electronic-punk band The Descenters, has written fiction for Andromeda Spaceways, and published political commentary for New Matilda and Overland. She also wrote and illustrated a graphic novel on growing up with autism in regional Australia called Machine Translations: A Robot's Path to Self-Expression and Learning To Live With Organics. She holds an honours degree in creative writing from the University of Melbourne, and a degree in Popular Music and Writing from the University of Queensland. Maddison is on Twitter at @TheDescenters.