Monday, May 27, 2013

Dystopian vs Utopian

While meeting over coffee with some friends the other day, the subject of a dystopian vs utopian future came up.  It was suggested that maybe one of the reasons people write the dystopian future is because it’s easier.

Then and now, I think I might agree with that.  Because even if on the surface you write a utopian world, by the time you drill down, there would have to be something happening to make it so.  I mean what qualifies as “perfect”? And how can it be perfect for everyone? 

It can’t can it?

With the success of TV shows and movies showing the struggle to survive, it would appear that there are a lot of people that prefer the dystopian tale.  But, I have to admit, I seem to be getting tired of it.  I also am tired of the young adult angle.  Why is it that the adults always seem so clueless?

I don’t write science fiction, so I haven’t attempted to write a futuristic tale, but as I sit and wonder what my story would look like, I can’t say I know.  Would it be based around children saving the world? Or, would there be one “all knowing” character leading the rest? Or, would we simply pick ourselves up brush ourselves off?

Maybe that’s what the dystopian world shows?

What do you think?

(This post was originally posted on my blog.)


Ana Morgan said...

I think the one "savior" character is employed as a tool for the storyteller. Novels are about a hero (one).
Real life is more complex, although there are plenty of examples of one figure head with lots of power -behind-the-throne secondary players.

morgan said...

My husband recently bought a series of sci-fi books with genetically perfect characters. They can not make mistakes. They always win in the end. He hates the books. I can figure what makes them interesting if there is no struggle.

Readers need to identify with characters, even the story.

How many people are perfect or live in the perfect world? My kids rented a Swedish video about happy kids. I swear that was it. Beautiful, smiling children playing in the sunshine laughing. This was the whole video...all 90 long minutes. It could have represented the perfect Utopian society.

morgan said...

I cannot (in the 5th sentence)figure how what makes the perfect books interesting. There is nver a threat that they might lose or possibly die.

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Rolynn Anderson said...

Dystopian novels like Brave New World and 1984 come to mind. Older? Dante's Inferno. These are great stories that teach us how the world will 'end' if we don't get our acts together. I think of the existential authors of these great stories as hopeful...they believe we (readers) will pay attention to their warnings and change the course of human events. That's my positive spin on it, Angela :-)

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