The Future is Always For the Ones Who Own the Past: Prime Meridian by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

One of the hardest things to think about is how economies shape the dreams of our children. We cannot do anything if we cannot imagine the possibility of it. Some writers dream up bright, shining towers of hope in the future. It is far easier to imagine a future where everything is worse for our children then it was for us. The reason that is easier to do is because it is consistent with forces of power and corruption that have been pressing down on the working class or the have-nots or the proletariat or whatever you want to call them for centuries. In the future, there will be no job security. People will bounce from gig to gig based on apps. They will sell plasma for money. In this future, of course so much like our current moment it’s unimaginable.

And, in Moreno-Garcia’s vision of the future of Mexico, wealthy older folks literally buy blood from the young because they think it will help them feel young again. People make a living working as friends for hire through an app that makes friendship like a rideshare service, where you can just push a button on your phone and order a friendly ear to talk to. One of the creepier plot points involves an ex-boyfriend hunting down and securing a visit from an ex-girlfriend through the app, which forces her to respond positively or otherwise she risks losing her ratings, thereby reducing her potential income from the service.

Mars is the unifying thread. People who dream dream of Mars. They study Mandarin or German or any other language that might be dominant in the dome where they end up. Mars was the scene of old films, the dream of the young dreamers, who seek to find a brighter future for themselves on a colony just like the ancient explorers. In a lot of ways, the novella echoes Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: The text details the many horrible ways the future economy will push its thumb upon the skull of Mexico City, and other places. The injustices pile one on top of the other, until something seemingly miraculous occurs: the opportunity to emigrate to the colonies!

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