Monday, March 26, 2012

Dystopia now

"Car bomb," Scott Dalton, All rights reserved

Are you obsessed with dystopia? (definition: "An imagined universe --usually the future of our own world -- in which a worst-case scenario is explored; the opposite of utopia") Or is it just me?

No, it's not just me. I started thinking about this when I realized how many of the books and movies I've read & seen recently are dystopian. Here's a rough list.

Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart, 2010 -- World is taken over by 3 mega corporate states. Everyone is the sum of his data. Everyone knows your score for Credit & Fuckability. Talking face to face is so unusual it's called "verbaling."
Sleepless, Charlie Huston, 2010 -- Created from experimenting on genetically modified corn, a mutant virus becomes a plague. The billions of victims will be sleepless till they die.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 2009 -- A nuclear holocaust wipes out most of the life on earth. Survivors wander in search of canned food or other humans they can kill & eat.
Never Let Me Go," Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005 -- A first-person story of children raised in a special school. They learn they are clones being raised to supply humans with organs. Eventually they will die on an operating table.
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell, 2004 -- A book of six inter-related stories. To summarize the last two 1) Sonmi~451, a genetically-engineered fabricant server at Papa Song's diner is interviewed before her execution after she rebels against the capitalist totalitarian society that created and exploited her kind. 2) In a post-apocalyptic distant future. Zachry, a tribesman living a primitive life after most of humanity dies during "the Fall," is visited by Meronym, a member of the last remnants of technologically-advanced civilization.

Wall-E, 2008 -- A sweet & funny animated film. Also bitingly satirical. Humankind has buried the Earth under poisonous garbage. Everyone has gotten morbidly fat in the spaceships that escaped. They ride around in machines, listening to jingles & shopping. No one remembers Earth.
Children of Men -- At the time of the film, the last child born to humans has just died at the age of 38. A woman with a young child appears & becomes the target of both the totalitarian state in power & the brutal rebels they are trying to crush.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- A drug to cure Alzheimer's is mistakenly given to a chimpanzee, who shares it with other chimps being used in lab-experiments. Now they are all as intelligent as humans. As it becomes clear that the released final version of the drug is fatal to human beings, The chimps escape.
28 Days Later -- A mysterious, incurable virus has turned everyone in Great Britain into murderous, human-flesh-eating zombies. A band of uninfected try to get out of London & find refuge in the countryside. (watched a few years ago)

TV series
Battlestar Galactica, 2003-2009 -- In this series ( watched a few years ago)humans have created humanoid machines called cylons. When the cylons become conscious they attack the humans. A series of intergalactic wars ensue.
Jericho -- Only saw one episode. Someone has set off nuclear bombs in the U.S. In Kansas, where the series is set, it's town vs town . Men ride horses & shoot each other as the larger political forces are revealed .

Would love it if you'd add to this list. Comments welcome.

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