Ever since the November election, dystopian fiction — “gloomy classics depicting societies gone terribly wrong,” as the AP puts it — has been “selling like there’s no tomorrow.”
Books including George Orwell’s “1984” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” have surged to the top of bestseller lists, prompting publishers to ramp up production, the AP reports. Other titles that have had renewed interest include Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here” and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
“Some nonfiction works in the same vein have seen similar resurgences, including Hannah Arendt’s 1951 ‘Origins of Totalitarianism,'” the report notes.
Publishers and scholars say it’s not merely a coincidence that the surge followed the election of Donald Trump.
“Definitely the election had an effect,” said LuAnn Walther, editorial director of the paperback division at Knopf, quoted in the story. “There’s fear out there about what is going to happen, and I think these predictive books are helpful to people who are looking for the dangers the future might hold.”
Adds the AP: “One edition of ‘1984’ has seen sales jump by 10,000 percent since January, when Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway defended incorrect claims as ‘alternative facts’ in a TV interview. It instantly drew comparisons to the type of government manipulation Orwell wrote about nearly 70 years ago.”