Tag Archives: speculative fiction

“After Dark” Follow Up: What is the genre of this novel?

After our intense class discussion of After Dark, I decided to come back and do an in-depth analysis of the novel. This novel by far is the most unique one we have read all semester. The fact that everything occurs within one night amazed me. As it was brought to my attention in class by Thomas, The Tempest also took place in a day’s span. But what intrigued me more with this novel is it took place within a couple of hours of night. The novel’s genre is one I found most difficult to decipher. Is it science fiction, a dystopia, speculative fiction? What genre would actually fit for this novel? To me, it appears as if the novel transcends into different genres. Science fiction, an obvious one, is seen throughout the course of nightfall and all the “magic” that takes place. For example, Eri getting sucked into the television and trapped in the room. I also found this to be connected to speculative fiction, as the two genres do not differ much. The dystopia can be seen in general with the “After Dark” part of the novel. When nighttime falls, a whole new world begins. We see things that we do not see occur during the daytime and everything appears as a blur. So what genre is truly suitable for this novel? I see so many different possible genres as the novel unfolds and transcends genre throughout the occurrence of nighttime. This is why I feel the novel is the most unique one we have read. To label it what one genre seems nearly impossible and I like how it challenges me to think of one that is suitable for it.

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History within Science Fiction

     At the end of The Handmaid Tale, the author “shifts gears” so to say and evaluates the story within the previous 300 pages as history. After reading the tale, I did not expect for the historical context of it to be explained at the end. Professor Piexoto places us in a different setting where he goes into explanation of the tapes found in the army locker that were said to be of recordings during Republic of Gilead.  By doing this, Piexoto somewhat “brings to life” Atwood’s story and causes the reader to believe it  was indeed non-fiction, instead of the specualtive fiction we believe it to be. Piexoto’s notion to explain why the Republic of Gilead worked the way it did  gives the tale somewhat of a reasoning. For example, when discussing polygamy, Piexoto correlates it with the Bible and how it occured during the Old Testament and even on our own territory (United States). This notion goes to give the Commander having a handmaid while being married some “just”. The historical  notes of this book contradict what we just read as spec fiction by insteaf giving it some authencity and a new genre– nonfiction. By providing this as the ending, Atwood leaves a hugw open-ended question, what happens to Offred? Did she die? Is she still free? Did she reconnect with Luke? Although providing historical context at the end of the book is a different ending to use, in this case, it was not a good idea. The historical context did help explain the tale, but at the same time, leaves us with an open imagination to wonder what happened to the main character in the book, Offred.

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