Mark Hurrell

mhurrell.co.uk/prospects

Naturalism

Abraham Riesman Do you see any of your work as dystopian? It's so hard to conclusively define that word.

William Gibson I think I aspire to naturalism, which today is easily mistaken for the dystopian. When Neuromancer was published in 1984, it was seen by many as a very dark view of the future indeed; yet I knew that the world was full of millions of people who'd migrate to the Sprawl in a flash, if only they had the chance, and be socioeconomically much better off for it.

AR There are those who say dystopian and apocalyptic fiction are masturbatory; that they placate us with catharsis when we need to be agitated into action to prevent the real-life collapse of civilization. To what extent do you agree with that outlook?

WG Naturalistic fiction written today is necessarily fairly pessimistic – otherwise, it wouldn't be a realistic depiction of the present. If you were, say, a tiger, and you knew what's about to happen to your species (extinction, almost certainly), wouldn't it be realistic to have a pessimistic view of things? I think it's realistic, as a human, to have a pessimistic view of a world minus tigers.

William Gibson Has a Theory About Our Cultural Obsession With Dystopias, Vulture.com

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