Free e-book 'Kisah Futures Anthology' envisions a world beyond the pandemic

  • Books
  • Friday, 28 May 2021

The 'Kisah Futures Anthology' features stories that discuss plausible future, post-pandemic scenarios. Photo: Think City

Can truth be stranger than fiction? Perhaps in a world gone mad, the lines between truth and fiction are sometimes blurred.

Certainly, with the stories in the Kisah Futures Anthology, anything is possible.

Utopian and dystopian stories both make an appearance in this compilation of stories.

There is time travel, robots and holographic transmissions, but also tales of delivery people, frontliners and vaccines. A fan of science fiction, romance or adventure? You will find something here.

“Most anthologies are carefully curated, sitting within specific bookseller genres, whereas this one is as ‘majmuk’ and multifarious as our population. What also makes this anthology special is that the stories are written by our people - Malaysians and Malaysian residents - from all walks of life," says Maya Tan, Think City brand and communications lead.

"I believe that many of these stories come from the internal experiences, thoughts and worries, hopes and fears of the participants who are collectively in a unique situation, one that has democratically affected the world, no matter where you sit in society.”

This project is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam in partnership with the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and Universiti Malaya, with Think City as project delivery partner and Matahari Books as editor and publisher.

It aims to obtain an inside view of the collective experiences and thoughts of Malaysians during the pandemic.

“Designed as a ‘listening tool’, we wanted Malaysians to use storytelling as a device for expressing their hopes and fears. Safe in the realm of fiction, we hoped that certain truths would surface, and that this would provide invaluable information that could be applied to benefit the community at large, ” says Tan.

The Kisah Futures Anthology features 25 winning stories in the English category, and another 25 in Bahasa Malaysia, selected from close to 700 stories received in response to the open call for submissions in October last year.

The stories had to be set in Malaysia and be plausible. Participants were invited to explore urban design, the future of work, social cohesion and community well-being, among others. Broadly, the themes were to be relevant to future, post-Covid-19 scenarios.

Tan notes that apart from ‘listening’ for the truth, they wanted to inspire the general public to develop futures-thinking skills.

“These skills are crucial as we continue to face all the challenges of the planet, from climate change to the depletion of resources. From these stories, we gain access into the rich imaginations of Malaysians, many who have crafted very plausible future scenarios, which not only widen our perspectives on life today, but also inspire us, as readers, to imagine the possibilities of life in the future.

"Not just the challenges the writers perceive will exist in the future, but also the solutions they have devised for these challenges. This is invaluable and may spark readers to think of scenarios and solutions of their own. While we continue to analyse the themes arising from the competition, we hope that readers will be inspired to take action – whether it is towards building back better, healing the earth, or even just writing some stories of their own, ” she says.

The Kisah Futures Anthology can be downloaded as a free e-book here.

Think City is a community-focused urban regeneration organisation that aims to create better, more sustainable cities in Malaysia.

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