The third season of Black Mirror just hit Netflix last week, but it’s already giving me the creeps with its too close to home fictional futures. If you haven’t watched seasons one or two I have some great news: each episode is a stand alone story with a completely different cast and plot, so you can start anywhere. If you’re flying through the new episodes and need a bit more terrifying technology, here are a few books to help quench your thirst.
The stories in Stone Mattress don’t quite feel like they’re in the same universe as Black Mirror, but they don’t fit perfectly into ours either. In a blurred, slightly fantastical version of reality, Atwood’s story collection touches on aging, death, and mortality in a totally unique way.
If you really want to jump back into the feeling of Black Mirror episodes, Children of the New World is the way to go. Each and every story feels like it could be pulled from the page and put on screen; they’re dark, haunting, and eerily possible. Brace yourself for the collection’s title story because it’s a total heartbreaker.
So much of what I love about Black Mirror is echoed in Tenth of December, but George Saunders is able to take the dark, depressing mood of the TV show’s stories and infuse them with humor. The collection is just steeped in satire and absolutely brilliant in every way, which makes it the perfect chaser for for a Black Mirror binge.
For a true Black Mirror chaser, you’ll probably need Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think. Despite the fact that the show’s creator says he isn’t necessarily trying to make us fear technology (“…it would have been a tragedy if there was a cure for the printing press. I think it’s just that it’s an amazing tool that we as a – as an animal are just getting to grips with because it’s like we’ve grown a new ultra powerful limb and we’re learning how to use it.”), it doesn’t always feel that way. Smarter Than You Think is a great way to come back down to Earth and remind yourself that new technology won’t necessarily bring the downfall of society.