The Paris Review

How to Live in a Dystopian Fiction

Albert Robida, Le vingtième siècle, ca. 1880.

A curious feature of most dystopian fiction is that it begins in medias res. It’s a stylistic convention of the genre, and it applies to most dystopian lit that comes to mind, from Nineteen Eighty-Four to Brave New World to Never Let Me Go. As pure narrative strategy, it makes sense. After all, novels in general must hook a reader quickly, and there are few things hookier than unfolding disaster. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, for example, begins with twenty utterly gripping pages of the first hours of a superplague wiping out Toronto (and the world). There is something compelling about this type of introduction—it carves narrative down to a brutal logic in which the only two options are survival and death.

The TV adaptation of ’s , which will wrap up its second season in July, is the most recent popular example of this phenomenon. The viewer is dropped, from the

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Interessi correlati

Altro da The Paris Review

The Paris Review4 min letti
Contributors
KENDRA ALLEN is the author of the essay collection When You Learn the Alphabet. A book of poems, The Collection Plate, will be published by Ecco this summer. SHERI BENNING’s fourth collection of poetry, Field Requiem, is forthcoming from Carcanet. RO
The Paris Review27 min lettiWellness
John Jeremiah Sullivan
When I was small my parents would host a lot of parties. I don’t know if they had more friends then or were just, as people say, “at a more social place in their lives,” but at least once a month there would be a bunch of adults in our apartment, dri
The Paris Review22 min letti
Anthony Veasna So
Always they find us inappropriate, but today especially so. Here we are with nowhere to go and nothing to do, sitting in a rusty pickup truck, the one leaking oil, the one with the busted transmission that sounds like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Her