17776, 20020, and on

This weekend I finished the stunning 20020 by Jon Bois, which had been released over the past month. It’s the sequel to the equally stunning 17776, which in my view is the finest piece of sports-themed speculative fiction ever written. Should have had a Hugo nomination (at least) but was longlisted in both Novella and Graphic Story, of which it is neither, because it is sui generis.

Both 17776 and 20020 are exquisite existential reflections on meaning and how we create it, loneliness, the nature of utopia, America’s beauty and tragedy, and imperfection in a seemingly perfect world. Oh, and football. But please, please, even if you think you hate American football or don’t know anything about it, don’t ignore it on that basis. I’m sure that some awareness of the game has some side benefits but is not really essential to the core of the story. I’d read 17776 first – but I’d read them both. I will read them both again soon.

Oh, and apparently, because this year hasn’t been cruel enough to me yet, we have to wait for the story to finish next year with 20021.

What football will look like in the future

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