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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > October 2016 > Breaking the chains of the status quo

Breaking the chains of the status quo

In the sense that it offers a glimpse of some imagined alternative to “the way we live now,” much of my fiction can be called utopian, but I continue to resist the word. Many of my invented societies strike me as an improvement in one way or another on our own, but I find utopia far too grand and rigid a name for them. Utopia, and dystopia, are intellectual places. I write from passion and playfulness. My stories are neither dire warnings nor blueprints for what we ought to do. Most of them, I think, are comedies of human manners, reminders of the infinite variety of ways in which we always come back to pretty much the same place, and celebrations of that infinite variety by the invention of still more alternatives and possibilities. Even in the novels The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home, in which I worked out more methodically than usual certain variations on the uses of power, which I preferred to those that obtain in our world—even these are as much efforts to subvert as to display the ideal of an attainable social plan which would end injustice and equality once and for all.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz tells our new Editor Tom Clark why globalisation has made him more radical. Rachel Holmes asks whether more women leaders really help women. Five hundred years on, what does Thomas More’s “Utopia” tells us about political idealism. And Tristram Hunt on why Labour needs another Clement Attlee. Also in this issue: David Runciman on why more members isn’t always a good thing for a political party. Will Self on why we’re all turning into robots. Your handy graphic guide to Brexit. Plus: David Willetts on what Theresa May’s industrial strategy should look like. And Kenneth S Rogoff argues we should abolish cash.
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