Richard Powers Resets Earth’s Trajectory

September 29, 2021

At Time, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers discusses his newest novel, Bewilderment, which is set during a period that resembles our own—but not quite. ” I was thinking a little bit along the lines of the form that science fiction writers like to call the ‘near-term future,'” Powers says, “where the story treats a world that’s a lot like ours, but set in some undesignated time in the future, in a way that allows the writer to speculate about the potential of the present to unfold in different ways. I guess it’s what Brecht would call the estrangement effect, where the realistic is made unusual again by just slightly changing the perspective from which you view it. And by putting the Earth on a slightly different trajectory, I was hoping to intensify and to make real again a lot of the things that we readers would probably simply gloss over because we’ve already discounted them as familiar.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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