The genre of dystopian fiction may at times seem like fantasy, stories set in futuristic worlds where life is unrecognisable from what it is today, but are these worlds closer than we think?

There is growing concern that the biggest threat facing humanity today is climate change, a theme that is repeated across emerging works of the dystopian genre. Stories of environmental collapse, humanity forced to contend with extreme weather conditions or to find another planet on which to live.

This event brings together the worlds of science and fiction as authors, E. J. Swift and Sarah Govett, who have both written novels set in troubling futures, join science writer and environment editor, Oliver Morton, to discuss the most important question of all: could these dystopian futures ever become a reality?

About The Speakers

Sarah Govett

Sarah Govett studied law at Oxford University. After qualifying as a solicitor, she set up her own tutoring agency, Govett Tutors, which specialises in helping children from all backgrounds prepare for exams. Sarah has also written for children’s television. The first instalment of her acclaimed debut trilogy, The Territory, was published in May 2015 and was followed by the second book, Escape, in October 2016.  She is currently writing book three.

Oliver Morton

Oliver Morton writes about scientific, environmental and technological change, its causes and its impacts. He is currently a senior editor at The Economist. His books include Eating the Sun, The Planet Remade and The Moon: A History for the Future.

E. J. Swift

E. J. Swift is the author of the Osiris Project trilogy, a speculative fiction series set in a world radically altered by climate change. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the BSFA award for short fiction. Swift also contributed to Strata – an interactive digital project by Penguin Random House.

About The Moderator

Jon Turney

Jon Turney is a science writer and editor based in Bristol. He has taught science studies at UCL and non-fiction writing at Imperial College, & commissioned pop science at Allen Lane/Penguin Press. His books include Frankenstein’s Footsteps, Lovelock and Gaia, The Rough Guide to the Future and most recently I, Superorganism (2015). He is currently writing a beginner’s guide to neuroscience.