One night last spring, my apartment’s buzzer went off. Meg Elison, an award-winning science fiction writer, was waiting downstairs. She’d agreed to come by for a strange experiment.
I was nearly finished with my book, Always Day One, when I asked Elison to visit for dinner. Wael Ghonim, a leader of the social media–fueled Arab Spring, would join as well. Over falafel and kebab, the three of us would discuss the technology I planned to cover in the book and imagine it taken to its most dystopian ends. We’d go full Black Mirror.
Always Day One covers the tech giants’…
The fourth installment of the most influential Young Adult dystopia of the 21st century showed up right on time. The original Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, has sold tens of millions of copies and spawned a blockbuster quadrology that grossed over $29.7 billion worldwide. The prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, arrived at the end of May — released into a world where economic collapse, global pandemic, and unprecedented uprising against state oppression loomed large.
The release of the prequel moved me to revisit The Hunger Games for the first time in several years. The books hold…
“What I find [ominous] is how seldom, today, we see the phrase ‘the 22nd century.’ Almost never. Compare this with the frequency with which the 21st century was evoked in popular culture during, say, the 1920s.”
—William Gibson, famed science-fiction author, in an interview on dystopian fiction.
The 2010s are almost over. And it doesn’t quite feel right.
When the end of 2009 came into view, the end of the 2000s felt like a relatively innocuous milestone. The current moment feels so much more, what’s the word?
Ah, yes: dystopian.
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