We can think of lots of reasons to write about work. Like Jason Allen says, in his new piece for LitHub, writing about people at work opens the senses to characters and helps express things about them and their world you wouldn’t get otherwise.
But, there are other things writing about work can do for us. It can give us insight into how characters and worlds are shaped by who does what, for whom, and at what cost. It can show how alienation and exploitation filter into our most intimate expressions and affect our ability to take action in the world. And in sci fi, speculative fiction, or fantasy, answering the question of how work happens and how society gets reproduced is crucial for setting the terms of the world and exploring the possibilities to be otherwise than what we have now.
We are always excited by finding work in the texts we read. Check out our most recent episode, Scarborough Takes on Can Lit, for a discussion of how two books about a neighbourhood in Canada’s biggest city weave stories of work together with stories of trauma and mutual support to showcase conspicuously Canadian forms of racism, power, and bureaucracy.