advanced technology, apocalypse, climate change, Cormac McCarthy, future, George Orwell, global warming, lost faith in leaders, Margaret Atwood, mockingjay.net, politics, popular literature, sacrificial lambs, utopia
Hello folks, sorry for being late with this post. I spent most of yesterday nursing a hangover. I’ll try making it up to you. So! To my next “food for thought” monologue:
Why is it that whenever someone writes about the future, the world is doomed? Either it’s physically falling apart and people are fighting each other for scraps of food, or the population is controlled by a totalitarian government, or aliens/zombies/[insert monster race here] are in the process of wiping out mankind. You guys must have noticed this, too, it’s all over the damn place. Hunger Games, Divergent, “The 100,” “World War Z,” and so forth. I’ve got colleagues who write in this area; it’s spreading. This mainstream theme is like the vampire rage (which I wish had never happened); now people are morbidly fascinated with a dark future. Certainly it’s not a new thing, because we see it in George Orwell’s 1984, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and several of Margaret Atwood’s novels, such as Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid’s Tale. This “doomed future” aspect has just gotten more popular, so now you see it in the movie theaters and on television.
And it’s just not a happy future.
Of course, if there is no conflict, there is no story. Happy stories are rarely good ones. But can anyone write a positive future and still find a story to tell? Perhaps carry the reader through an adventure with contemporary problems (issues that we ourselves deal with today) that is set in a futuristic setting? However then there’s the question, why set it in the future? What difference does that make? When you choose the scene for your story, you need a solid reason. The scene isn’t just background, it’s a tool that helps the writer move the plot forward.
Can we have a story take place in a future where we’ve advanced as a group of people, but we still deal with issues that stick with us? In fact, I hereby challenge my fellow writers to create a futuristic world where the world itself is not the enemy. I can’t come up with any great ideas myself at the moment.
By the way, when I say “issues that stick with us,” I think of politics. Please stick with me, I know this topic makes a lot of people groan. The thing about politics is that it never changes. The keyplayers change, the current issues change, but the game itself doesn’t. There are always people who are in it to win. There are always men and women who are prepared to sacrifice lambs (a.k.a. us) to gain money, status, et cetera. And as citizens, we always have to struggle for democracy, to maintain that order of fairness, to vote, to demand justice from our leaders. There’s no final solution to how we’re suppose live together in a civilization.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why many of us can’t picture a happy future. We’ve lost faith in our leaders. Actually, that happened a long time ago. I can’t speak for the whole world, of course, but here in the United States, there’s been a definitely decline in trust towards the government since the Vietnam War. After so many lies and so much deceit, how do they expect us to think of them in even an optimistic way?
Then there’s global warming for sure that makes us lose hope for our future, our children and grand-children’s future. We’re killing our planet. I hate that climate change has become a political issue, because it’s a matter of fucking survival. We have only one planet. Good luck finding a replacement. (Very well, that’s a discussion topic for another time.)
I’d love to hear what you guys think about this. What kind of problems do you think will carry on to the next generation? Do you have taste for this Utopian frenzy? If so, why? Let me know in the comments below.