Published today, over at the Future Care Capital website: All I Asked For by Anne Charnock – a powerful and moving story about the impact of technological intervention in pregnancy.
This is the second story in our year-long Fictions project: short stories exploring near-future issues in health and social care. The first, published last month, was Stephen Palmer’s Goodbye; next month it’s my turn, and in October we have a story by Liz Williams. All the stories are illustrated by Vincent Chong.
Fictions: Disease tourism, uses of virtual reality in care, widening adoption of self-diagnosis apps… Four authors and one artist, working with the Future Care Capital charity, explore the near-future. Running July 2020 to June 2021, one story a month takes a key issue in health and social care and examines its implications for people on the ground: patients, carers, practitioners and all those close to them. Thought-provoking and challenging, Fictions presents world-class fiction intended to inspire debate and new thinking among practitioners and policy-makers.
Fictions: Four writers, one artist, twelve futures.
Four SF authors, one artist, twelve stories – exploring near-future issues in health and social care.
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.