Arts Literature

Book Feature: The Chasm

Jacqui Castle, Author

Asheville author Jacqui Castle has followed up her dystopian novel The Seclusion, winner of The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for science fiction in 2020, with The Chasm. The books are set in 2090 in a walled-off, environmentally devastated America under authoritarian rule. Castle, who enjoys classic dystopian fiction such as The Handmaid’s Tale and newer titles like The City We Became, believes that readers lean into the genre in times of turmoil. “Dystopian novels are not meant to be dark and depressing,” she says, “but rather a mirror for us to look at ourselves and our society.”

The Chasm concludes the story begun in The Seclusion, but Castle says she doesn’t rule out writing a prequel someday. Popular among high-schoolers, the books received starred reviews from School Library Journal.

“I think there is often a misconception about dystopian fiction readers—that they are dark and foreboding and have a twisted desire to read about a future that is nothing but bleak and oppressed,” Castle says. “I think that most of the time what draws readers to dystopian fiction is the opposite. Despite the seemingly hopeless circumstances, dystopian literature often ends with a protagonist overcoming significant obstacles and, against all the odds, finding a path for social change.”

The Chasm, March, 2022, science fiction, young adult, paperback, $15.99, by Jacqui Castle, and published by Inkshares, Inc., Oakland, CA. Find or order the books at indie bookstores. Visit for upcoming events and opportunities to connect over her books.

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