Three Questions with Edan Lepucki

The California author discusses her recent work, favorite sci-fi books, and where the pandemic will take fiction.


Does your 2014 novel, California, seem prescient to you now?
There’s no way I could have predicted this pandemic. However, I think the isolation in the opening section is a more extreme version of what we’re going through: grieving for our life before the virus, the fantasizing about a latte, about a normal day.

What are your favorite science-fiction stories?
I’ve never been a huge reader of science fiction, which is why I was afraid even to write California. However, Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite writers, and I love The Handmaid’s Tale and the MaddAddam trilogy. I also love Octavia Butler’s Kindred.

How do you think this pandemic is going to affect fiction?
This crisis offers us new ways to think about connection and isolation, community and vulnerability, and I hope that artists nimbly grapple with these ideas…albeit indirectly.

Explore the complete Science Fiction Special Section in Alta’s Summer 2020 issue. 

Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic.
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