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CIRCA:

Sometimes it feels as if the world is living through a sci-fi novel: viruses, technological progress, climate catastrophes etc. and your work often plays with this genre. What do you like about this genre, and can you tell us your favourite sci-fi novel?

EMMA TALBOT:

I like the speculative aspect of Sci-fi projects, the thought experiments that give space to alternatives that can inform us about today. I also like the ways the ancient past can get interwoven with futuristic visions. It’s not a novel, but I always loved the way Fellini described Satyricon, (his film based on the surviving fragments of Petronius’s Roman text) as like making a sci-fi, futuristic film, because the deep past is such an unfamiliar place. The novel I’d choose is Orwell’s 1984.

Fellini Satyricon, directed by Federico Fellini, 1969

Fellini Satyricon, or simply Satyricon, is a 1969 Italian fantasy drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini and loosely based on Petronius's work Satyricon, written during the reign of Emperor Nero and set in imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes, following Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of a young boy named Gitón within a surreal and dream-like Roman landscape.