I finished reading P.D James’ Children of Men this past month. Before that I read Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson. If you combine that with my extensive knowledge of young adult trilogies, my love of sci fi movies, and my readings of 1984, Brave New World, and The Chrysalids, I’d say I’ve earned at the very least a minor in Dystopian Futures. While of varying prophetic value each one has made me think “they got that right” at least once. Unfortunately (spoiler alert) the future doesn’t look too good but we can prepare ourselves with all these helpful predictions. Now not everyone can embark on this extensive research I know. So for convenience I have herein crystallized all the essential points into the Ultimate Dystopia:
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Don’t get hung up on the economics of it because the good news is, communist or capitalist, in the future it all ends up the same way. You’re just a cog in a big industrial machine. You had no say in what your job would be and you hate it.
Technology is also pretty easy to cover. It’s the one area most authors get humorously wrong. Suffice it to say there will be a lot of pneumatic tubes. A whole lot. There will be needles and those lil stickers on your forehead that hook you up to a mind reading machine. Also incredibly low flying air craft, large phones and computers. Cloaking shields. Not much consensus on how quality our robots will be but they’re there. Pretty much the only significant point for you to remember is there are cameras everywhere. Got that? Moving on.
I guess we should establish who is running the show: a dictator of course. He’s super benevolent except har har we just say that he’s actually totes malevolent. He got the job in a time of major crisis. Basically your fringe elements were all freaking out. All the fringes. All the freak out. Your regular Joes, after valiantly attempting to determine what the heck was actually going on, were so overwhelmed, confused, and exhausted that they became hopeless. They decided to lie down til it was all over and hope everyone would stop yelling at them. The Emperor/Warden/President/Chairman/AllRoundGoodGuy was forced (forced I tell you) to take over power indefinitely. Just to sort everything out you know.
And there’s a lot to sort out! For starters the earth is a dump. We’re either trying to get off it or hunker down and make the best of dwindling resources before the inevitable extinction of the human race. This is bad news for the following groups: Everybody. Ok but seriously are you old? Sick? Mentally ill? Mutated by nuclear holocaust? You’re toast. And by toast I mean euthanasia. They’ll be really nice about it and even let you think it’s your idea. Unless it isn’t your idea and then, well, you just don’t know what you want. Get on the boat, take your pill, breathe slow into the mask. We only want strong healthy young people. We grow them in a lab.
That’s right. Sex is not for babies anymore. Those are engineered in a factory. And honestly, I hate to break it to you but sex in the future is kind of a downer. Rape is still a thing. But meaningful sex is right out. Nobody is all that interested; they’ve got porn that you can actually feel, and robots. Plus societal despair is a mood killer. But even if you wanted to have one, committed relationships are verboten in case you accidentally make a shoddy regular baby. But going through the motions with total strangers is pretty much mandatory now and then, starting at an age so young I bet it will surprise you. I’m not sure why, probably just to make everybody feel filthy and sad.
So whats a strong healthy unbelievably good looking young person genetically engineered in a lab by a dying species to do? Well mostly drugs. You got yer uppers and yer downers and yer psychotropics. But other than that you can join a marauding band of savage nihilists in raping people and beating their heads in. Preferably in some kind of garish makeup and costume. You will get a motorcycle or spikey vehicle if you hang with them. It will not be electric; guys this is sci fi not fantasy.
Religion is almost totally wiped out. A few loons kind of stick to it, usually Cathollics, presumably cuz we’re the looniest and our priests wear handy costumes for recognition purposes. But since everyone thinks they’re loonie… well, see euthanasia. Here’s your mask. There will be a few really sweet idealistic types as well. They’re mostly going to get eaten up and spat out by the harsh realities of the New World Order. It generally ends in murder or suicide. I think you’re better off being a marauder if you want to get out the other end of this story.
If you’re not good at making your own fun don’t worry there’s state sponsored entertainment too. Blood sport mostly. All televised. Well everything is televised. You’ll have zero idea what stuff is actually happening and what stuff is made up. Except the porn, you’re be pretty clear what that is I think. But news and entertainment is pretty muddled up. Basically your news is fiction and your reality tv is news.
Actually this is where The Ultimate Dystopia may be less exhausting than currently. All news is 100% propaganda put on by one entity. Instead of like now when it’s 99% propaganda but put on by several competing entities. You won’t have to try and sort out what’s true because by then you’ll know you can’t.
So there you have it, Cait’s Quick Guide To The Ultimate Dystopian Future. Study it well. Good luck in the future. I won’t be there. I was born with six fingers on both hands. I’ve known since sixth grade English class my only hope is to blow this popsicle stand in a basket carried by mutated horse and fly to Australia on a low flying aircraft. Australia, by the way, always survives these things.
(Photo credit: Boston Public Library https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/11237633933)