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Petra Mayer (NPR) recently joined authors Paolo Bacigalupi (Tool of War), Amy S. Foster (The Rift Frequency), Lauren Oliver (Ringer), Scott Reintgen (Nyxia), and D. Nolan Clark (Forsaken Skies) at New York City Comic Con to discuss what inspires them to write dystopian fiction.

From George Orwell’s 1984 to Veronica Roth’s Divergent, readers can’t get enough of dystopian fiction. Dystopia, loosely translated, is utopia gone wrong. At NYCC the assembled panelists took turns answering questions about what dystopia reveals about ourselves and what it might say about our future.

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Authors (L-R) Paolo Bacigalupi, Lauren Oliver, D. Nolan Clark, Amy Foster, Scott Reintgen (Not Pictured: Petra Mayer)

Books like The Handmaid’s Tale or Fahrenheit 451, can help people access emotions about our current reality by situating them in a future which seems (at least for the moment) far off. In a 2010 interview with The Paris Review, Ray Bradbury talked about the purpose of science fiction, a purpose dystopia shares. “Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us.” …

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Photo by Annie Spratt: https://unsplash.com/photos/exlQ3eLiKm8

These are great soundbites.

These soundbites have benefitted Republicans over the last seven years, but the reality is much different. Our health care cannot be explained, described, or fixed in soundbites. A choice between safeguarding health or not, hardly seems like a choice at all. There are those in Washington D.C. who want you to believe that it is not only a choice but central to your freedom as an American citizen.

The choice to forgo or obtain minimal health care coverage is no luxury. It’s no realization of the great American dream. The response to this is often that the government should not be involved in health care or force you to buy it. I guess we are supposed to believe that it is personally empowering to deal directly with insurance companies. That haggling over every bill, arguing for every ounce of coverage is the realization of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …

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A scene from Jessica Jones. A word of caution, if you haven’t finished Season 1 yet you may not want to read this as there may be some minor plot spoilers may lie ahead.

Jessica Jones spends a lot of time trying to convince others, especially herself, that she’s strong enough. The audience understands early on that Jones, played by Krysten Ritter, feels confident in her physical strength. Jones relies on this strength to take over when her mental strength falters. When Jessica becomes aware that her nemesis Kilgrave (played by David Tennant) has returned, her powerful legs carry her fast and far as she weaves through the streets of New York — running from a truth she doesn’t want to be real.

I desire physical strength. I always have. On occasion I’ll try a kickboxing tutorial on YouTube and follow along as the instructor punches or kicks the air. Their moves are purposeful, they are filled with intention and energy. …


Andrea Ayres

Comics. Video games. Culture.

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