This article reads Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (1990) and Chang-rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea (2014) as works of speculative fiction that engage with the scientific concept of “the system” that emerged during the latter half of the twentieth century. It tracks this history, showing how ecologists and engineers generated their own speculative fictions of possible dystopian futures—environmental collapse, depletion of resources, and overpopulation—through models of dynamic systems. In turn, works of speculative fiction also began to borrow these models for understanding their own relationship to the world around them. This article argues that Jurassic Park and On Such a Full Sea reject the possibility of representing reality as a way to understand what a novel is. While speculative fiction primarily has been read as a popular vehicle for political critique, this article suggests how genre fiction can also generate new forms of literary critique and systems of reading.

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