Age and Anachronism in Contemporary Dystopian Fiction

Sarah Falcus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Dystopian novels of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are inherently concerned with the exploration of lateness in the form of what Kermode calls ‘the sense of an ending’. In these worlds apocalyptic environmental and social collapse frequently result in societies where the life course, progress and the promise of the future are all disrupted by threats to generational continuity. The anachronism that then results is both reflective of science and speculative fiction’s central concern with time and the future, and specifically a temporal anxiety that brings together lateness as social and generational. This essay will consider generational disruption, ageing and anachronism in dystopian fiction of recent decades, focusing specifically on two novels: P.D. James’ The Children of Men (1992) and Yoko Tawada’s The Last Children of Tokyo (2014). Both depicting future worlds in which generational disorder is a key fear, these texts demonstrate how important ageing is to the dystopic imagination.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Ageing
EditorsMargery Vibe Skagen, Elizabeth Barry
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
ISBN (Electronic)9781787449398
ISBN (Print)9781843845713
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameEssays and Studies
PublisherThe English Association at the University of Leicester (Imprint of Boydell & Brewer).


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