Author: Alyssa Greene
November 27, 2017
Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, dystopian fiction has been on our minds. Of course, utopias and dystopias have long been a part of literature and cinema, responding to contemporary politics by imagining their repercussions for the future. But dystopian fiction played an important role in mediating the transformation of American political culture in 2017, with classics like George Orwell’s 1984 skyrocketing up the New York Times bestseller list, Hulu’s timely adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the rediscovery of It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis’ cautionary tale of fascism coming to America. All of this has inspired a robust conversation within literary communities about how to make sense of this turn to the dystopian, and where to find the potential for resistance and protest in a form that, on the surface, seems radically pessimistic.