The future

A post-racial world: The Last White Man, by Mohsin Hamid, reviewed

Mohsin Hamid’s fifth novel opens with a Kafkaesque twist: Anders, a white man, wakes to find that he has turned ‘a deep and undeniable brown’. Unrecognisable to his entourage, he first confesses his predicament to Oona, an old friend and new lover. Similar metamorphoses begin to be reported throughout the country and violence ensues as pale-skinned militants stalk the streets. In its use of a speculative device, The Last White Man recalls Hamid’s 2017 Booker-shortlisted Exit West, in which migrants teleport through Narnia-like doors. Whereas his first three books played with narrative conventions – a trial framing Moth Smoke (2000), dramatic monologue in The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) and the self-help

The AI future looks positively rosy

In the future, men enjoying illicit private pleasures with their intelligent sexbots might be surprised to find that even women made from latex and circuitry can learn to talk back and say no. Or, alternatively, that their ‘love dolls’ — in the current marketing-speak — have been hacked by anarchist feminist programmers. Please enjoy the next, cyborg-mediated stage of the war of the sexes. Some men, of course, still believe that women are inherently no good with computers, a dumb prejudice that Jeanette Winterson ably rebuts in this collection of interlinked essays, with stories from early computing history and several outbursts of amusing ire. Today’s tech-bro coders might be surprised