Caitlín R. Kiernan is the author of nine novels, including The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, along with several volumes collecting her short fiction. She’s a five-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award, two-time nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award, and has been honored by the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She also writes Alabaster for Dark Horse Comics. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her partner.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Caitlin! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

CAITLIN R. KIERNAN: Wow. I’ve never before heard the term “Dyslit,” and I don’t think I’m comfortable with it. But I’m not comfortable with most genre categories. Or even the idea of genre. But, that said, writing about dystopian or post-apocalyptic worlds doesn’t appeal to me. I write a lot of it, but it’s not because there’s an appeal. There are many reasons, but that’s not one of them. I’ll pick one at random and say there does seem to be a responsibility to write about what could happen, maybe, if humanity doesn’t take a little more care with its technological advances and population. Generally, I dislike science fiction as a predictive medium, but certain outcomes seem almost inevitable, given the present course of our civilization. Here, obviously, I’m referring to stories that focus on more realistic threats – ecological collapse, global warming and climate change, bioweapons, nuclear war, and so forth. So, yeah, I can say I feel a responsibility to write this sort of fiction, as a warning, and especially as a warning to YA readers. They’re inheriting a pretty messed up world, and they need to know where it might be headed, and how they may be able to avoid the very worst of the consequences of their predecessors’ actions. Maybe they’ll be smarter than us.
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Sarah Rees Brennan is the author of the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, the first book of which was an ALA Top Ten Best Book of 2009, and the co-author of Team Human with Justine Larbalestier. Her new book is Unspoken, a romantic Gothic mystery about a girl who discovers her imaginary friend is a real boy. Unspoken was just nominated for Best Fiction For Young Adults 2013 by ALA/YALSA. Sarah writes from her homeland of Ireland but likes to travel the world collecting inspiration…

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Sarah! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

SARAH REES BRENNAN: Thank you for having me!

Dystopian literature: it’s the end of the world as we know it, and everyone’s feeling absolutely terrible.

Society has collapsed and either humanity lives in the depressing ruins being murdered on the regular, or a different and much more oppressive society has been built up (and secretly, people are murdered on the regular). Anyone who thinks they feel fine is wrong and will quickly discover their mistake! And while everyone is suffering incredible amounts of torment, there arises a thematic point which highlights something troubling in our current society. The whole thing seems generally very hard luck on the characters.

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Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of over 70 books for children and young adults. Her “moon” series has been published in many countries. The first in the series, Life As We Knew It, was a New York Times best selling novel, and has won awards in the United States and Germany.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Susan! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

SUSAN PFEFFER: I couldn’t begin to define Dyslit and I have no idea what its essential characteristics are. I admit to being functionally illiterate when it comes to such things.

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N. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author whose short fiction and novels have been nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula, shortlisted for the Crawford and the Tiptree, and have won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her latest novel, The Shadowed Sun, was published in June 2012 from Orbit Books. Her website is nkjemisin.com.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Nora! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

NK JEMISIN: I think of it as post-postapocalyptic fiction. And I’m using that description both to suggest an artistic sensibility a la postmodern, and a necessary factor of dystopias that work, which is that they’re *us gone wrong.*  Usually that means Something Happened To Us — maybe not the apocalypse, but there had to be some trigger event that caused our world to hare off into the weeds.  So dystopian lit is not simply about messed-up societies, it’s necessarily about messed-up societies that exist in the shadow of, or in reaction to, our own.

It’s possible to write a dystopia that isn’t related to the present day or the current world, of course — half of science fiction and fantasy showcases such worlds (e.g. Mordor).  But what makes these terrible places dystopian is when readers can see institutions they respect, twisted; societal roles they understand, subverted; ideologies they empathize with taken to an extreme.  Seeing all that makes you twitch with a weird, intimate kind of horror — like the first time you see yourself in a funhouse mirror.  You know what you’re seeing, and you know it’s *you*, but everything you know about yourself is all *wrong.*

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Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth and The Year of the Beasts. Her picture book, Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN, Tor.com, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2. She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus and a two time Macdowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Cecil! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

CECIL CASTELLUCCI: Hello, Charles!  Well, I would say that the essential characteristics of Dyslit would be a catastrophe, an apocalypse, or a definite sense of a before and an after.  Another thing that I find is that often there is a small tribe of people.  You know, like a reduction in population.  Or a sense of unlike people being thrown together.  A ragged rabble group.  Obviously this depends on the story and where / how far the surviving civilization is after the incident.

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Steven Gould is the author of the frequently banned book Jumper, as well as, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, 7th Sigma, and the upcoming Impulse as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov’s, and Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (M. J. Locke) and their two daughters, where he keeps chickens and falls down a great deal.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Steven! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

STEVEN GOULD: I personally think we owe Dystopian lit to Utopian lit, cause, really, Utopian Societies have to be a nightmare. What possible “perfect” society is going to be good for everybody?  Most Dystopian lit is really about a society that those in power think is a utopian or they are striving for a utopian and this is the problem. There are an awful lot of us square pegs out there who don’t fit in round holes but you hit us hard enough with a hammer or a boot, and we’ll jam in that hole. This is 1984. This is Brave New World. This is Uglies.

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Nalo Hopkinson is the author of six novels, a chapbook and a short story collection (Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, The Salt Roads, The New Moon’s Arms, The Chaos, Sister Mine, Report From Planet Midnight, Skin Folk). She is the editor of fiction anthologies Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, and Mojo: Conjure Stories. She is the co-editor of fiction anthologies So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction (with Uppinder Mehan) and Tesseracts Nine (with Geoff Ryman).

Photo by David Findlay, 2011.

Hopkinson’s work has received Honourable Mention in Cuba’s “Casa de las Americas” literary prize. She is a recipient of the Warner Aspect First Novel Award, the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for emerging writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the Aurora Award, and the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Nalo was born in Jamaica, has lived in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana and for the past 30+ years in Canada. She currently teaches at UC Riverside and spends part of the year in Toronto, Canada.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Nalo! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

NALO HOPKINSON: You’re most welcome. Thanks for asking me. Honestly, this interview is the first time I’ve twigged to the term “dyslit”. I had to take a moment to figure out what you meant by it. So any answer I would give you would be a stab in the dark, not based on actual familiarity. When Terri and Ellen asked me to consider submitting a story to them for After, I simply read the description of the anthology, realized I had a story in progress that might fit, and submitted that to them once I eventually finished it. So although I was writing in a particular mode, i.e. a story that turned out to be dystopian and that was suitable for young adults, I wasn’t aware that dyslit was a thing, if you understand what I mean.
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Carol Emshwiller grew up in Michigan and in France and now resides in New York. Her stories have appeared in literary and science fiction magazines for over forty years, and published in a number of critically acclaimed collections – most recently, The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller and In The Time Of War & Master Of the Road To Nowhere. Carol’s work has been honored with two Nebula Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention. She’s also been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and two literary grants New York state.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Carol! What’s the appeal of Dyslit for you? Why is it important, especially for YA readers?

CAROL EMSHWILLER: There is no particular appeal –I think stories need conflict and what better conflict than dealing with the end of the world? I write a lot of stories (mostly for adults) that take place in dystopian societies, but actually I’m just looking to put adventures in my stories. Also I thought about it more.  I never thing about what might be good for the reader to know or hear about. I only think about what is good for the story. I always think my duty is to the story. My morality involves only the needs of the story.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Garth Nix on After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he previously worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth’s books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen; and the cult favourite YA SF novel Shade’s Children. His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series; and Troubletwisters (co-written with Sean Williams). Garth’s most recent book is the science fiction adventure A Confusion of Princes. More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, his books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 39 languages. He lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Garth!! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

GARTH NIX: I’m not sure I’d even try to define dystopian fiction, I have something of an aversion to trying to define categories too closely, because it leads to evaluating stories or books on how they fit into categories rather than on their own merits. That said, I suppose an essential characteristic would be a setting that is dystopian, i.e. the opposite of a utopia, a world where pretty much everything is terrible or has gone wrong. Of course, to be interesting this has to be a matter of degree. The teaming up with “post-apocalypse” also can create problems, since there are quite a few dystopias that exist right now that haven’t required an apocalypse to create them.

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Genevieve Valentine‘s first novel, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, was nominated for a Nebula. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Subterranean, and more, and the anthologies The Living Dead II, Running with the Pack, Teeth, and others. She has written articles and reviews for NPR.org, Strange Horizons, and Weird Tales. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks at genevievevalentine.com.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Genevieve! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

GENEVIEVE VALENTINE: I would say that the vast majority of dystopias hinge on some fault (or faults, there are always plenty) in a particular society, extrapolated and emphasized to reveal the monsters in the machine. This can be as obvious and gradual as a government that has come to spy on your every move, or as bizarre-yet-pervasive as the youth culture in Logan’s Run, because both of them are showing us what’s inherently wrong with us, now – which is the true point of a dystopia.

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Matthew Kressel‘s fiction has or will appear in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, Electric Velocipede, and the anthologies, Naked City, The People of the Book, and After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, as well as other markets. In 2011 he was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for his work publishing the speculative fiction ‘zine Sybil’s Garage. When he’s not designing websites or setting up computer networks for a living, he’s learning to play the trumpet or teaching himself Yiddish. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York alongside Ellen Datlow. And he has been a long-time member of the Altered Fluid writers group. His website is www.matthewkressel.net.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Matt. Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

MATTHEW KRESSEL: Thanks for the interview, Charles.  Genre definitions are risky, but in general, I think dyslit (or dystopian literature) are stories where human beings (or anthropomorphic animals, a la Animal Farm) are prevented from being all that they are capable of being, often by threats of death or depersonalization, usually by a tyrannical government or organization, but occasionally by other means.  In daily life, some form of natural human expression is limited, be it sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual.  But those in power see the society as the exact opposite, a perfect or near perfect society. (Usually because their needs are met at the expense of the citizens’) In the end, most citizens of the dyslit world find deep dissatisfaction in their surroundings but are often powerless (or have very little power) to do anything about it.  (Sometimes they don’t even know they are being oppressed.) The stories often focus on how the characters face such adversity while trying to maintain their humanity.

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Katherine Langrish is a British author of children’s and YA fantasy novels. She grew up in Yorkshire, graduated from London University, and worked in various jobs including six years as Information Officer for Lloyd’s Register of Ships in London where she dealt with a delightful assortment of the ship-crazed public, including a man who claimed he could see shipwrecks with his ‘magic eye.’ She has lived in France and the USA, but currently close to Oxford, England.

Titles include her highly acclaimed Viking trilogy, Troll Fell, Troll Mill and Troll Blood (republished in one volume as West of the Moon, HarperCollins 2011), and a medieval fantasy, Dark Angels (US title The Shadow Hunt), HarperCollins: one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Children 2010, a Junior Library Guild Choice 2010, nominated for the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011, and one of USBBY’s Outstanding International Books 2011. Her writing is strongly influenced by British, Celtic and Scandinavian folklore and legends.

Katherine’s website is at www.katherinelangrish.co.uk and she blogs about all things to do with folklore, fairytales and fantasy at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles www.steelthistles.blogspot.com

She is currently working on a YA dystopian novel.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: How would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

KATHERINE LANGRISH: Well, a utopia envisions a perfect, well-functioning society which we’re expected to contrast with the failures of our own.  A dystopia does the opposite: it presents the reader with a society which is dysfunctional, which has gone badly wrong – but in which we see aspects of our own contemporary society taken to an extreme.  This is what George Orwell does with Big Brother and New-Speak in 1984 or Scott Westerfield with the beauty cult, in Uglies.  Utopias and dystopias have always been forms of social criticism, not simply ‘imaginary worlds’.  Tolkien’s Mordor would be a nasty place to live, but it isn’t a dystopia, because we don’t recognise ourselves in it. It’s Pure Evil (mwah-ha-ha) and there’s nothing more to say about that.  But a dystopia makes you think. A dystopia is about us: in a glass, darkly.

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Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, and The Shadow Year, and his short fiction has been published in four collections: The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, Crackpot Palace. He has won the World Fantasy Award, the Nebula Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Gran Prix de l’Imaginare. Formerly a college teacher in New Jersey, Jeff now lives in Ohio with his wife and two sons, and writes full-time. You can learn more about his work at www.well-builtcity.com.

Photo credit: Eric Rosenfield

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: How would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

JEFFREY FORD: Dystopias germinate from some deep dissatisfaction with the status quo.  In some ways they’re like desert island stories, because often the protagonist is castaway in a society she has essential, fundamental differences with.  Conflict ensues.  There’s survival in a harsh environment and a certain loneliness, even though there are occasionally compatriots.  Like Robinson Crusoe, it’s oneself against the world, whether the character is out to restore the past or change the future.  It also strikes me that as much as they might seem prophetic in hindsight, effective dystopias are always about the time they are written in.  I always see people writing that Orwell’s 1984 was a warning to the future.  The hell with the future, he was writing about the moment, using another place and time ( a fantasy — like most utopias) to discuss the here and now.  It just so happens he picked a theme that continues to resonate — the manipulation of information as a tool of power for creating or maintaining a hierarchy.  The politics of class, race, gender figure prominently in dystopias.  Absurdity is the humor of this form.  Dystopias offer the prospect of new beginnings.
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Richard Bowes has won two World Fantasy, an International Horror Guild and Million Writer Awards. His new novel Dust Devil on a Quiet Street will appear on Mayday 2013 from Lethe Press which will also republish his Lambda Award winning novel Minions of the Moon. Recent and forthcoming appearances include: F&SF, Icarus, Apex, Lightspeed and the anthologies Million Writers Award, After, Wilde Stories 2012, Bloody Fabulous, Ghost’s: Recent Hauntings, Handsome Devil, Hauntings and Where Thy Dark Eye Glances.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Rick! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

RICHARD BOWES: For me, the most compelling, often frightening, elements in this sub-genre are the breakdown of the social order, the sudden importance of the individual in the chaos that follows and the possible emergence of a new order which can be to the good or very bad.
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Gregory Maguire is the author of Wicked, a novel for adults, which inspired the Broadway musical of the same name. He has written seven other novels for adults and several dozen works for young adults and children. He lives in New England and in France with his husband and their three children.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Gregory! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

What’s the appeal of Dyslit for you? Why is it important, especially for YA readers?

GREGORY MAGUIRE: First, and not to be funny, I never really came across the term “dyslit” before. I lived in London, which is rife with DYI stores, which it took me a while to realize meant “Do It Yourself.” So DYSlit looks like literature about how to sever some of your own arteries without professional assistance.

That said…
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Jane Yolen is the author of over 300 books, and has been named a Grand Master of the Science Fiction Poetry Association as well as Grand Master of the World Fantasy Association. She has won two Nebulas–for short fiction, and several sf poetry awards. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Photo by Jason Stemple.

SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.


CHARLES TAN: For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?

JANE YOLEN: Am assuming you mean dystopian lit? I’d not heard it called that.

My definition would be a story (or poem or script or graphic novel) set in a place and in a time where communities or cultures or nations–or even an entire world–has become a ruin. It may simply be a cultural ruin, or a natural catastrophe that has destroyed what came before, or a place that time has forgot or has bypassed. Or has zombies.

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