Literary Event of the Week: Economic Utopias and Dystopias

Say what you will about our Trumpy times — and we started a book club just to talk about how terrible everything is — it is at least refreshing that people are discussing economic systems. I'm old enough to recall a time (four years ago) when discussing socialism would be enough to end a political career. Now, Democrats are openly calling themselves socialists.

Clearly, the current model of economics — call it neoliberalism, call it libertarian capitalism, call it whatever you'd like — isn't working. It's time to evaluate our economy, throw out what doesn't work, and start over. The best way to investigate our options, of course, is through fiction.

On Saturday the 18th, four local sci-fi writers (Beverly Aarons, Shweta Adhyam, Elizabeth Guizzetti, and Seattle Review of Books columnist Nisi Shawl) will discuss "economic systems in literature and how they relate to America’s current economic system." They will be moderated by a local real estate strategist as they discuss utopia and dystopia in sci-fi, and how those ideas can (and shouldn't) be applied to the real world.

That's the first half of the event. The second half is delightfully participatory, as attendees are invited to "work in groups to create their vision of an economic system they would want to leave to future generations." That's right — you get to start from nothing and figure out how you'd allocate resources in a perfect world.

This is one of the most exciting ideas for a literary event I've heard in months: a chance to learn from fiction and apply those beliefs toward the creation of something new. And even if none of the ideas created at this event lead to the foundation of a new economic model, the hosts are serving free drinks and snacks, so you'll be sure to get something out of the event.

Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts, 115 Prefontaine Place S,, 1 pm, free.