Terraform, August 17, 2015
“The Plan Is There Is No Plan” by Sean Monahan
Reviewed by Nicky Magas
In the not so distant future of Sean Monahan’s “The Plan Is There Is No Plan” the world is very much as it is now. One jaded artist/consultant leaves his stagnant life in New York to try and pick up the frequencies of the new trends in Venice. The problem is that creative endeavors have gotten so mired in recycling the past that there’s nothing new anymore. No original thoughts or insightful commentary. It’s just the same old culture re-packaged in different paper. What’s worse, the more he searches through the Venice Biennale to find something to end his ennui the more inauthentic the world around him seems to become.
The introduction to “The Plan Is There Is No Plan” claims that the story is mundane science fiction—a fiction story in which the setting is futuristic, but not different from our own time in any significant way. Subsequently this leaves the reader with a contemporary or general fiction aftertaste once the story has concluded. The cynical first person protagonist begins to grate on the reader after a while, in the way that a person complaining of too much money and not enough places to spend it naturally twists a nerve. As he moves from New York to Venice, from expensive party to expensive party narrating his dissatisfaction in artistically vague commentary, the reader waits for the lynchpin that ties the story together. We find it encrypted at the beginning of the story in an obsolete video format.