by Kay Dick
Introduced by Carmen Maria Machado, the radical dystopian classic, lost for forty years: in a nightmarish through-a-glass-darkly Britain, they are coming closer…
'I remembered how they began, a parody for the newspapers. No one wrote about them now.'
The Sussex coast. Sunsets paint the windswept ocean; seagulls haunt the marshland; hunting rifles crack across hillsides. But this is England through-a-glass-darkly. They are coming closer.
They begin with a dead dog, shadowy footsteps, confiscated books. Then, the National Gallery is purged; motorway checkpoints demarcate Areas, violent mobs stalk the countryside, destroying cultural artefacts - and those who resist.
The surviving writers, artists and thinkers gather together, welcoming 'dissidents' like the unmarried and the childless. These polyamorous communities preserve their crafts, create, love, and remember. But as 'subversives' are captured in military sweeps, cured of identity, desensitised in retreats, they make it easier to forget ...
Lost for over forty years, Kay Dick's They (1977) is a rediscovered dystopian masterpiece: a cry from the soul against censorship, a radical celebration of non-conformity - and a warning.
Published: April 2022