pieces of fiction we’re pretty sure are actually real (like happening now)

the other night i was watching the Walking Dead season 7, which has the most devious, charming, terrifying bad guy. it felt disturbingly current, including the zombies. i asked the ever generous facebook what fiction feels like it’s happening right now and generated this amazing list, an abundance of work to read or watch.

or, you know, just look around.

Books

the Kate Daniels books, Ilona Andrews

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Maddadam Trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Maddadam) Margaret Atwood
(Elena says: “extreme genetic modification, separation of corporate-compound and pleebland communities (extreme economic imbalance). Also new beings, new ways of living and of communicating (even between different species).”

Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, Malcolm Azania (pen name Minister Faust)

Wind Up Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi

Blues for Mister Charlie, James Baldwin

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler
(Enei says: “make America great again”, Karissa says: “keep trying to convince people to go in on some property further North cause Octavia told us to go North.” Anne’s partner thinks we’re in the prequel.)
also everything else she wrote.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
(Judy pulls out this opening quote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”)

Makers, Cory Doctorow
Walkaway, Cory Doctorow
(Dan says: “It’s maybe the only anarchist-ish future that I’ve read that didn’t sound like it would suck. Still not the future I’m trying to build, but if things do go that way, at least there’s been some good thinking on how to build good lives in it.”)

The Circle, Dave Eggers

American War, Omar El Akkad

Solitaire, Kelley Eskridge
(Vanissar says: “Because citizens vs people living on the margins, because technology + incarceration. Because our imaginations will save us.”)

Slow River, Nicola Griffith
(Vanissar says: “because water, technology. because desperation.”)

Journey to the East, Herman Hesse

Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neal Hurston
(Supriya says: “As Irma was about to hit and Houston was reeling and Katrina was in my heart: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston.”)

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Redwall and Mossflower series, Brian Jacques
(Jessica says: “animals have rich and amazing lives.”)

In the Heart of the Valley of Love, Cynthia Kadohata

It, Stephen King

The Telling, and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, Ursula le Guin

the Wizard of Earthsea series, particularly The Other Wind, Ursula le Guin
(Morrigan says: “We’re finding lost languages, understanding our misguided limitations on magic, undoing the suppression of the wind. restoring the pattern.”)

California, Eden Lepucki

That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
(Teika says: “I haven’t read it for years and don’t really remember a lot of the plot details, but the one element that really sucks with me is something about being governed by an embalmed head connect to a machine, and that 1984-style autocracy and the effed up psychology of state domination / oppression / greed.”)

It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

The Girl Who Owned A City, OT Nelson

Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brian

Who Fears Death?, Nnedi Okorafor
(Leah says: “bc Black femmes using spirit to destroy white medical industrial capital fuckery and climate chaos, Black survivors using witchcraft to defeat rapists, and spirits are present and walking with us.”)

Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older

1984, George Orwell

The Turner Diaries, William Luther Pierce (pseudonym Andrew Macdonald)
(Minaj says: “White supremacist utopian novel written in the 70s that has been downloaded millions of times and is their blueprint for the revolution. It starts with the police. They’re trying to make it happen. Also I should add major trigger warnings for racism, sexism, every kind of ism, n word usage, etc. Read it to know their game plan, not for literary insight.”)

Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
(Mistinguette says: “Parallel utopia and oblivion, and making conscious choices about them.”)

Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield
(Amber says: “I feel like just as much as destruction occurs around us, humans are waking up to spiritual guidance en masse. More and more people are focusing on listening, balance, centering ourselves, opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to signs, etc. it’s easy to not see it when so much negative is happening, but we vibrating higher. I can feel it.”)

The Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson
Three Californias Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
(Supriya says: “When I think of my beloved India and wretched nationalism, xenophobia, anti Muslim terror… the crack on the fissure of his face in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, or Mahdhweti Devi’s “Draupadi.”)

Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo)
(Sophia says: “Silko says she wrote it almost channeling the anger of the Earth herself. There’s also a lot in the book about amplified spiritual activation of Native & African ancestors as we fulfill prophecy (in this case, Mayan prophecy) by resisting corruption, chaos and white supremacist colonial greed- with some specific focus on the desecration of sacred Native sites. Her writing also gives a big fuck off to respectability politics, cuz many of the most significant characters have substance dependencies, are houseless, non-neurotypical, former sex workers or current drug smugglers…all that feels familiar in this moment too. Damn… *goes to reread it*”)

The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk

The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknovitch
(Marika says: Crazy dystopian novel. Can’t say I either enjoyed it or hated it, but it was poignant and sadly prescient:
“We are what happens when the seemingly unthinkable celebrity rises to power.
Our existence makes my eyes hurt.
People are forever thinking that the unthinkable can’t happen. If it doesn’t exist in thought, then it can’t exist in life. And then, in the blink of an eye, in a moment of danger, a figure who takes power from our weak desires and failures emerges like a rib from sand. Jean de Men. Some strange combination of a military dictator and a spiritual charlatan. A war-hungry mountebank. How stupidly we believe in our petty evolutions. Yet another case of something shiny that entertained us and then devoured us. We consume and become exactly what we create.”)

TV/Movies

Alien
American Gods
Black Mirror
God’s and Monsters
House of Cards
Idiocracy
Insecure
Mad Max
Mary Poppins
Matrix
Rats of NIMH
The Simpsons
Sleepdealer
Underground
X-Files (Gabriel says: “The alien / government coverup storyline is actually somewhat based on a book that says it’s nonfiction – ‘behold a pale horse’.”)

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