Jeff VanderMeer’s most recent fiction is the novel Borne and the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), which won the Shirley Jackson Award. VanderMeer’s nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, Vulture, Esquire.com, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

NYR DAILY

David Bunch’s Prophetic Dystopia

Pavel Tchelitchew: Phenomena, 1938

It’s been hard to get your hands on David R. Bunch’s best-known work for almost half a century now. Most of the Moderan stories—linked, fable-like tales written in an experimental mode, set on an Earth ravaged by nuclear holocaust—were originally published during the 1960s and 1970s in magazines and later gathered in the original Moderan volume, long out of print. Yet, in the years since his most prolific period, the nightmarish dystopia he imagined has begun to look increasingly prescient, even prophetic. Replace nuclear annihilation with climate change and over-industrialization, and Bunch’s future feels psychologically and metaphorically akin to our modern situation. What are we doing right now but paving over our future with plastic?