This is a repost of an article from 2015. I selected this one because it mentions Never Let Me Go, a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, who is now a Nobel Laureate. He is a great writer, and I recommend the book–but not the movie.
Instead of committing any words to my own novel, I spent the last month or so reading Pride and Prejudice. It was research, I say. Research!
Pride and Prejudice of course takes place in the dystopia that is Georgian England. True to the dystopian genre, there are multiple fantastical constructs which are slowly introduced to a horrified audience. For instance, there’s the idea of an “entail”. I don’t really get the purpose of it, but apparently it’s a restriction on whether an estate can be passed on in your will. And then there’s “elopement” which just means that a woman runs away with her lover. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything wrong with that, but within the dystopia it’s a horrible thing to do, and a complete disgrace to the entire family.
There are also many neat world-building details. I like how the servants are always there, but no one ever thinks about them much, because that’s just how wealthy people in this universe think. At the same time, rudeness towards servants signals an unsympathetic character, and kindness towards servants signals a noble character. That’s the only way the lower classes are ever important: in relation to wealthy people.