Fictions: Health and Care Re-Imagined

Four SF authors, one artist, twelve stories – exploring near-future issues in health and social care.

Fictions

Launching today, Fictions is a monthly series of short SF stories produced in collaboration between four authors, one artist, and a UK charity working with practitioners and policy-makers in the health and social care sector.

The brief was simple, and so obvious it really should have been done lots of times before: a charity looking for innovative ways to encourage its audience to move away from conventional patterns of thinking in order to consider how the near future might really be, brainstorming and developing ideas with a group of creatives whose job it is to do exactly that.

As writers, we spend our time looking for the surprises and twists, the gotcha moments; we identify moments in a sequence of events that pull you up in your tracks and make you rethink. That’s one of the key elements in a good story: the building of a scenario and then what I call the rug-pull moment, when the rug is yanked from beneath the reader’s feet and they’re forced to reassess all that has gone before.

And this is what Future Care Capital asked us to do. Surprise them, and the people they work with. Make them stop in their tracks and see things from other perspectives.

It’s been a fascinating project to work on, from the early discussions with FCC about the topics and challenges they see in the next decade or two of health and social care, to working with the writers – Anne Charnock, Stephen Palmer and Liz Williams – and artist, Vincent Chong, to discuss these topics, and look for stories that would meet the brief of being challenging and surprising… writing fictions that provoke.

And above all, turning what might start out as dry, academic discussions into believable realities. Because once you have compelling and surprising stories with characters you care about and challenges that are real you can go anywhere… which is exactly what we were asked to do.

Fictions opens today with Stephen Palmer’s ‘Goodbye’, a story about technological innovations in supporting those at the end of life. In August, Anne Charnock takes us back to the beginning of life, with a look at uses of technology in conception and birth. And from there, who knows? Four authors, one artist, and twelve stories, exploring beginnings and ends, and all that lies in between.

Find out more about the project, and read the first story, on the Future Care Capital website.

About Keith Brooke and infinity plus

Keith Brooke is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and other strange stuff, and editor and reviewer of same. He is also the publisher at infinity plus, an independent imprint publishing books by leading genre fiction authors. View all posts by Keith Brooke and infinity plus

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