September 21, 2013

Is Dystopia Possible?

The newest trend in books seem to be dystopian societies that rise up after this one crumbles. Anything could have been the source of the collapse- disease, war, global warming- but in every one society forms anew and sets up a new standard of living and preaches about the dangers of the past societies.

Why are we as readers so interested in dystopia? Is it because everything seems faintly ridiculous and curled up in our favorite reading spot we know it could never happen? Or is it because we get a faint chill when we read these books, we curl up tighter in our reading chairs and wonder if we're on our way to this type of future?

I think my draw to dystopian novels lies in the latter. We want to pretend our way of life could never fail, we want to believe our society is perfect and our own government could never do anything like the ones in the books we read.

But is this the truth? While watching the news can we truly think that our society is built to last?

 I'm speaking of America now- and I love America. I'm so proud I live here and I'd defend my country and her troops till my dying day. America does have some dark spots in her history though.

For instance, after 9/11 they considered adding wire taps to people's phones to search for terrorists. Is this so different from Delirium where everyone's calls are randomly monitored for suspicious activity? People today would rather watch football than listen to the President's Address to the Nation. And the government is ok with that. Is this any different from Hunger Games where the government makes citizens watch the fight? In Partials anyone who chose to stay outside the safety of the city is automatically crazy and subhuman for rejecting the safety the city offers. The Invalids in Delirium are to be feared and reviled because they live off the grid and chose not to accept "the cure" society offers. Is this any different from how people treat Preppers who are concerned that society is going to fall and decide to prepare for this situation? The government doesn't punish these people but society does shake their head and tsk at these "alarmists" and think their preparations and stockpiles are vaguely funny because how could our society crumble?

I'm not trying to convince everyone that THE END is coming and that we all need to go out and buy a gun and wait for the end of society as we know it. But I am hoping for an honest discussion of why we enjoy dystopian novels. And if we think any of these situations could happen in real life.

Leave me a comment and lets talk about this! Do you like reading dystopian novels? Why? What do you think people would blame if our society were to crumble? Would the media be blamed? The internet with its free stream of information? Religion?
Goodreads definiton of Dystopia and lists of dystopian novels
Survivalist Magazine


  1. I haven't read a dystopian novel but the subject is still fascinating! Personally, I think some of us WISH our society would fail. It would give us a clean slate. A fresh start. It would force us back into a primal lifestyle of survival. We like to imagine the harsh but thrilling scenarios of building a new life and a new society. I don't know if our world will ever come to this but like you said, the possibilities are there! (KristinCali from SB)

    1. I know what you mean about wishing it would happen. When you look at some of the corruption in the government and horrible things humans do to fellow humans it makes us wish for a simpler time and a clean slate like you said.

      But I think people do tend to romanticize such societies. It happens in books too. People say "yeah. that dystopian government is bad but..." and then list why they think the society is better than ours, such as its simpler, people spend more time outside together, or the sense of community is stronger.

      I don't think people think that if society falls we will most likely lose huge chunks of the population- and no one's family would be untouched. And if so many people die, if technology fails, we are going to have a rise in sickness and crime. Immediately after the fall something as simple as a cut could kill without proper medical treatment.

      I hope our society never experiences anything like this and my possibilities are just my imagination running wild. But for now I'm going to be reading a few more prepper articles. :)

      Thank you so much for discussing this with me!

    2. Thank YOU for posting such an interesting topic! Yes I agree with you, most, if not all families would be affected and torn apart by loss. That's definitely a factor we might not realize.


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