Mind Your Meter! by Andrew Hughes

In a dystopian future, a woman fights to escape a life of enforced happiness.

It’s the far future. Humanity has retreated to densely populated underground cities where resources are scarce. In the interest of maximising happiness, everyone has a meter to track exactly how happy they are. If it dips too low, the authorities intervene. That’s Daphne’s job: investigating unhappy people and fixing them, whether with a dose of drugs or an enforced holiday in virtual reality.

Virtual reality is the final solution to keeping the growing population happy. The plan is for everyone to retreat from real life to a simulation offering everything they could want. But Daphne isn’t happy with a life of escapism and will do anything to escape it.

This is highly original and well-written science fiction, packed with ideas and satire. With great characters and an engaging plot, it’s a really enjoyable and thought-provoking read. My only complaint is this is a “Part 1” – the end leaves many questions unanswered – but there’s enough meat to make it well worth reading as is.

Expect sexual references.

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