Tuesday, February 19, 2008

George Saunders is Not A Futurist

He explains himself on Amazon:

Many people, in writing about my work, have called me "a dystopian futurist" or "a dark dystopian futurist" or "a discouraging futuristic satirist who depresses the hell out of me" or "a dystopian futurist who is darkly sentimental and yet deeply, futuristically discouraging" or, in one rather inaccurate case, "that guy who is like some sort of human fly and once climbed the Sears Tower." Well, may I say, for the record, as if someone had asked me, I don't really consider myself at all a futurist. What I see myself doing in my writing is riffing on (present) human tendencies. I don't put the stories in the future as much as in a sort of parallel America, where everything is, say, 20 percent more than it is now. (Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.) I'm doing what satirists have always done, which is to make a cartoonish, exaggerated world, where verisimilitude and realism (that is, the attempt to mimic the "real" world) are left behind and you're left with a distilled version of reality.