Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nebula Awards Interview - Paolo Bacigalupi

"I don’t think of myself as writing dystopias. To me, a dystopia is a deliberately designed society which is superficially perfected, but which is hell for the depicted individuals. That’s not what I do. I describe places where society has broken down or collapsed. I write about poor people. I write about places where technology went wrong, or we failed to adapt. And while it’s certainly hell for my characters, it’s not the same as what I think a dystopia is supposed to do.

I actually think of myself as writing our accidental futures. The kind you get when there’s a lack of forethought, a surfeit of poor planning, or just plain cynicism. And frankly, most of the worst details of the worlds I describe are based heavily on our present. Chittagong, Bangladesh isn’t a dystopia, its just a really poor place where we dump our scrapped ships because they have fewer worker safety and environmental controls. If I’m writing dystopia, then there’s an awful lot of our present world that fits under that umbrella. But hey, it’s a snazzy marketing term that doesn’t contain the dreaded words “science fiction” so maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. People keep telling me dystopias are hot."

3.5 out of 5