Q: What’s easier for you – imagining a happier world, or a darker one?
A: I mean, it’s not hard at all to imagine a better world than this—a world free of racism/sexism/homo- and transphobia/genocide/war/gun violence/etc. A lot of fiction draws our attention to issues by exaggerating the bad, making it worse (I mean how popular are YA Dystopias right now? How popular is 1984?). There’s a kind of escapism in that though, a tendency to say “Oh well at least real life isn’t that bad.” But I think some of the best speculative fiction, like Octavia E. Butler’s “Dawn,” shows us how horrifying our own human tendencies can be by putting them in contrast to a happier world, by showing how humans do not fit in a utopia.
Jeremy Packert Burke’s story “So, You’re In an Alternate Universe” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 26 August 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.