From The New Yorker:
Here are the plots of some new dystopian novels, set in the near future.
The world got too hot, so a wealthy celebrity persuaded a small number of very rich people to move to a makeshift satellite that, from orbit, leaches the last nourishment the earth has to give, leaving everyone else to starve. The people on the satellite have lost their genitals, through some kind of instant mutation or super-quick evolution, but there is a lot of sex anyway, since it’s become fashionable to have surgical procedures to give yourself a variety of appendages and openings, along with decorative skin grafts and tattoos, there being so little else to do. There are no children, but the celebrity who rules the satellite has been trying to create them by torturing women from the earth’s surface. (“We are what happens when the seemingly unthinkable celebrity rises to power,” the novel’s narrator says.)
Or: North Korea deployed a brain-damaging chemical weapon that made everyone in the United States, or at least everyone in L.A., an idiot, except for a few people who were on a boat the day the scourge came, but the idiots, who are otherwise remarkably sweet, round up and kill those people, out of fear. Led by a man known only as the Chief, the idiots build a wall around downtown to keep out the Drifters and the stupidest people, the Shamblers, who don’t know how to tie shoes or button buttons; they wander around, naked and barefoot. Thanks, in part, to the difficulty of clothing, there is a lot of sex, random and unsatisfying, but there are very few children, because no one knows how to take care of them. (The jacket copy bills this novel as “the first book of the Trump era.”)
Or: Machines replaced humans, doing all the work and providing all the food, and, even though if you leave the city it is hotter everywhere else, some huffy young people do, because they are so bored, not to mention that they are mad at their parents, who do annoying things like run giant corporations. The runaways are called walkaways. (I gather they’re not in a terribly big hurry.) They talk about revolution, take a lot of baths, upload their brains onto computers, and have a lot of sex, but, to be honest, they are very boring.
Or: Even after the coasts were lost to the floods when the ice caps melted, the American South, defying a new federal law, refused to give up fossil fuels, and seceded, which led to a civil war, which had been going on for decades, and was about to be over, on Reunification Day, except that a woman from Louisiana who lost her whole family in the war went to the celebration and released a poison that killed a hundred million people, which doesn’t seem like the tragedy it might have been, because in this future world, as in all the others, there’s not much to live for, what with the petty tyrants, the rotten weather, and the crappy sex. It will not give too much away if I say that none of these novels have a happy ending (though one has a twist). Then again, none of them have a happy beginning, either.
Link to the rest @ A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction – The New Yorker
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