Want some antidotes to Lovecraftian pessimism and cosmic doom, for the gloomy start to the New Year? Neal Stephenson’s Project Hieroglyph aims to counteract the descent of science-fiction writing into butt-clenching angst, dreary visions of the gloom-pocalypse, and general middle-aged grumpiness. Hieroglyph’s main dose of practical optimism is their acclaimed new SF story anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (paperback and audio-book). Probably best read in combination with Matt Ridley’s excellent non-fiction The Rational Optimist (there’s a good potted version of the book as a free audio lecture and a more recent follow-on lecture). Also the more USA-oriented mass-market primer Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.

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