Paradise lost: The mysterious case of the missing utopian novels

IN THE PAST 100 YEARS, TECHNOLOGY HAS MADE OUR lives easier, safer, healthier and longer. So why does most of our science fiction spell doom and gloom instead of hope and cheer?

Pessimistic fiction has thrived in recent years. Emily St. John Mandel was a National Book Award finalist for 2014’s Station Eleven, about a theater troupe in a postapocalyptic America. And dystopian novels like Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan and Omar El Akkad’s American War—not to mention classics like George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale—have recently graced

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