Oh, cheer up. At least the FBI didn’t recommend criminal charges against Hillary. But if worse comes to worst, I’ve got good news for you. Donald Trump, along with Brexit, could give dystopian fiction a big boost—well, at least as long as dysfic fans still can scrape up enough money to buy books.
Publishing Perspectives asked writers and editors to explain the flood of dystopian works that have followed The Hunger Games. Boiled down from the quotes there, the best explanation might be this in simplified form. Dystopian fiction resonates because in so many ways we’re already living in a dystopia. How else to account for a con artist like Trump becoming the presumptive GOP candidate for President? Or No-Longer-to-Be-So-Great Britain most likely leaving the EU despite all the economic and cultural benefits? Or—on an even grander scale—the fact that “Everyone is disadvantaged by the one percent,” in the words of SF editor John Joseph Adams? And now Trump and Brexit could make the cosmos still worse.
A sign outside a U.K. bookstore nicely encapsulates the Zeitgeist: “Fiction…because real life is terrible.”
That, in fact, is why so many people have voted for Trump in the first place. I agree at least partly with comments by TeleRead community members such as Steve Prior and Michael Perry. The EU has flaws, and the same global mindset among the American elite led to trade treaties that opened up our markets without adequate protections for U.S. workers. But the Trumpian and Brexit dystopias would be even scarier than the callousness that Washington and Brussels have so often shown toward working people.
In a related vein, check out Welcome to Trump’s America: an illustrated dystopia, from Fusion. Trump makes good on his pledges…
Except for the wall he promised he would build and get Mexico to pay for. President Trump did freeze the remittances immigrants were sending back once Mexico refused to pony up billions for the construction, even after $25 billion in money transfers were blocked by the U.S. government. Predictably, the Mexican economy has taken a giant hit. Two years later, there’s still no wall, because such a wall, which would constitute the largest public infrastructure program since the creation of the American highway system, is a financial and logistical nightmare, and neither Mexico nor the United States can afford it now that both of our economies are even worse off than before. Trump’s policies have not only devastated the Mexican economy—they’ve driven down wages even further in the United States increasing the demand for low-wage immigrant labor.
So no wall, but a lot of irony: The United States has more Mexican immigrants than ever.
Oh, the horrors! A dystopian villain who can’t even function well as a demagogic dictator.