Design’s Daddy Issues

Satire or business plan?

Dystopia-Industrial Complex

Dear Editors,

Trevor Shikaze’s “Parasite Air” (Issue 35) made me very nervous! How long until some Silicon Valley start-up dude gets his hands on this magnificent satire and decides, as with “Soylent” (it’s not made out of people... yet), that speculative fiction is MFA-speak for business plan? When Gary Shteyngart’sSuper Sad True Love Story came out in 2010, before Tinder took over the world, I scoffed at the notion that people’s credit rating could be linked to their hotness score, or vice versa, but here we are. How long until we become indentured servants living low-emission lives for the world-traveling ruling class? Although the realities of climate change threaten to be grimmer than what can be pictured even by a furious imagination like Shikaze’s, his personal carbon offset scheme reminds us that the difference between satire and program is measured only by the slightest breadth of our conscience.
— Alex Gould

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The division between empiricists and fantasists is clearest in politics. But it’s beginning to enter literature.

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