My obsession for sci/fi – utopia/dystopia genre started with the good old “Twilight Zone” (if you don’t know what this is, it means that you are very young, see it here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052520/) and, of course, “Brave new world” (by Aldous Huxley) – that is persistent my my mind lately and since rereading a few years back it struck a deeper cord within me. Or maybe because it is mainly about a 26th – century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, pharmaceuticals and the hidden influence of elites? The world at this point has become one state, no wars or conflicts, or poverty. Life is efficiently controlled and doesn’t allow personal emotions or individual responses; art and beauty are considered disruptive, and mother and father are forbidden terms (everyone belongs to everyone). There is no religion, love, or philosophy, most books are banned; and thinking is discouraged.
Strangely enough, i have only discovered “1984” (by George Orwell – much later than Brave New World ) and i somehow prefer Aldous Huxley to this because in ‘1984’ people are controlled by inflicting pain while in ‘Brave New World’ people are controlled by inflicting pleasure. “Bref” – Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us, whilst Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. It is more romantic to go for the second, but that’s just me, don’t take my word for it.
From the classics (the old school Communists, Eugenicists, New Dealers, and Fascists) until the new obsessions like “Black Mirror” or the better known “The Hunger Games” (the trilogy) or “Divergent” by Veronica Roth or “Children of Men” by P. D. James there is an exhaustive list of literary (and not only) works tackling our obsession with social and political hierarchy, using fiction to depict worlds that reflect our biggest fears or the opposite – the greatest dreams. Pick your present-day dilemma; there’s a new dystopian novel to match it.
“A utopia is a planned society; planned societies are often disastrous; that’s why utopias contain their own dystopias. A decreasing percentage of the imaginary worlds are utopias,” the literary scholar Chad Walsh observed in 1962. “An increasing percentage are nightmares.”