Friday, September 12, 2014

TOMORROWLAND: The Future According to Dystopian Novels

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You wake up one morning and discover that the world you once knew no longer exists. Whatever they’ve been warning you about for centuries has finally happened: nuclear fall-out, World War III, some environmental disaster, etc. Civilization has collapsed, but despite this, humanity has continued on, creating a new society bigger and better than ever before. Or so it seems.

Our generation is said to have an ever-rising fascination with dystopia – seen in its boom in the young adult section at your local bookstore. However, if you step away from that block and peek at the classics, you will find that dystopian novels aren’t something new to the literary world. Novels like Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury have been around for much longer than the Hunger Games or Matched. And trust me when I say the whole government-controls-everything concept is something that has already been done before. (If you find that surprising, well, this list is for you.)

Unlike other genres, dystopian novels offer a glimpse into a futuristic society — seemingly perfect yet riddled with flaws of its own. From Huxley to Orwell, everyone has a different interpretation of post-apocalyptic earth.

So imagine stepping outside to that – a completely different society. What would that world be like? Here are a few possible scenarios according to dystopian novels:

Class System
The alarm rings and you wake up in your room. You open your closet and decide to wear green today. Well, not really. Everything in your closet is green, not because you like it all that much. It’s just what everyone in your class wears. You step out to go to your job; the streets become a rainbow of color. Separation is evident. Who would bother after all to talk someone beneath them? Are you happy with your class? You don’t really know how to answer that question. Outside your class you are useless. Everything you know is solely for the purpose of fulfilling your class role. You could say that you were made for this class. The funny thing is that you wouldn’t be lying if you said so.

Sound interesting? 

Try reading:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Fight for Entertainment
You wake up to another boring day until you realize that today is very different from all the others. Turning on the TV, it begins to broadcast the annual blood-fest. People are selected to fight for their lives in an arena, and for the next few days, people will talk about nothing else. All the news outlets have 24/7 coverage on the event, so there’s not much else to watch. You hope you never get selected for this – but it’s not like you really have a choice in the matter. The government runs the show and changes things up every now and then.

Blood and gore your thing?
Try reading:
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Running Man by Stephen King
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Big Brother
You wake up and change from your assigned rest clothes to your assigned work uniform. Breakfast is a standard meal with all the nutrients you will need. There is a monitor in your house that constantly watches your every move, so you try not to show too much emotion these days. Leaving your designated unit, you take public transportation to your government-mandated job. Everything from the books you read to the shows you watch are all carefully screened and selected by the government. Everyone lives “happily” in peace and sameness. The government controls how you’re made to how you die.

Unless of course you don’t fit in to the model. Then you just disappear.

Can’t stand the lack of privacy?
Try reading:
1984 by George Orwell
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Drugged-up Society
You awaken to a rather bleak morning you decide to take a simple little drug that makes the world feel a whole lot more wonderful: Nothing could possibly bring you down on this fine day, and everything is just perfect. Of course, this doesn’t exactly last forever and the effects begin to fade.

So you take another. And another.

You keep taking them until the day is done. The world is perfect; there are no lies, no secrets, no wrongs — all because of a little pill.

Want a taste of this?
Try reading:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Kallocain by Karin Boye

Some of these societies may seem foreign and strange to you, but upon closer inspection you may find details eerily similar to present day society. For all you know, you may be living in a dystopian society of your own. And like all characters, just haven’t realized it yet. Or perhaps you have noticed something? The subtle changes in society, getting closer and closer to those you’ve only read in books. Whatever the world does end up being in the future, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be alive to see it: Read about them while you can.

Article by Kitty
Art by Pio

Kitty has the name of a superhero but a mind of a villain. She spends her days reading and watching gore and is addicted to the color yellow. If she feels like it she might try to take over the world, but until that day comes she’s content with sleeping in till the afternoon.

Pio is an aspiring animator and artist. A gentle giant, it's hard for him to go unnoticed anywhere, but gives him attention when he draws in public.


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