I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it – Jim Munroe’s “Ghosts With Shit Jobs”

The year is 2040 and it has been two decades since the American economy tanked. North America is a sprawling mega-slum and the population of the West is viewed as a massive, cheap labour force for China and India. This is the setup for Ghosts With Shit Jobs, Canadian author Jim Munroe's self-described "lo-fi sci-fi" meditation on labour and everyday life in a dreary future Toronto. Filmed as a pseudo-documentary, a Chinese news show sends reporters to the West to gain insight in to the daily grind and perspective of 'ghosts' (Cantonese slang for indigenous North Americans) and portrays a selection of these low-level workers as they struggle to make ends meet. These protagonists have taken on jobs nobody else wants—robotic toy construction, spider silk foraging, online copyright protection, conversational product-placement—and employment is the lens through which the economy and everyday life are inspected. Doesn't exactly sound like traditional science fiction fare does it? Well, Ghosts With Shit Jobs is immensely successful as speculative fiction because rather than overwhelm the viewer with CGI setpieces and genre clichés it provides a nuanced, character-driven plot that is chock-full of insight on technology and culture. The super-smart script shines and is delivered as kind of a future vérité that is so blasé about the world it constructs that the viewer has no choice but to be drawn into the headspace of each of the main characters.

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