This Week (Beginning 7/30)

Reading

Began reading Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges. Interesting reading. Begins with non-fiction characters used in creative non-fiction situations.

Writing

Two, (of course). I just moved past the word count for a novelette, so now we’re into novella length.

Movies

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s been awhile, but I still love it.

Cool Moments

My writing schedule. I don’t always stick to it, but I’m getting about 4-5K  words a week written.

Random thoughts

In a recent literature discussion, the subject of Utopian/dystopian views came up. The initial posting asked if readers were attracted to more Utopian views of the future.

 That question was never really answered. The discussion turned into why people hated dystopias, or what was wrong with contemporary dystopian fiction. Somewhere in the discussion someone mentioned they hated that dystopian literature lacked hope for the future. Dystopian lit should have at least a thread of hope, they said.

I think not.

The very act of writing a piece of fiction with no hope, no redemption and no possibility of either is a social wake-up call. I think when Orwell, Huxley and Zamyatin wrote their works, they wanted to impart that feeling. They wanted the reader to come from it feeling uncomfortable and looking around. I think those authors wrote from the heart and took from real life. They just took it to extreme ends.

At the Ministry of Love (in 1984) O’ Brien admits their purpose is the boot on the human face. No hope, no redemption, no freedom. Only control. That is the point. That is the point the author is attempting to drill into the reader in true dystopian fiction. It’s uncomfortable. We hate it. The reason we hate it is because through life experience we understand that things CAN get this bad. Governments will kill their own people. They will stamp them out if they cause too much trouble.

The dystopian future is about freedom or lack of it and the society as a whole, not the individual. The story of the society/culture is told through the individual lens, but that individual is only one aspect of something much larger. It’s a case of the sum being greater than it’s individual parts.

Can humans survive a dystopian future? Yes, they can.

All we have to do is pick up a work by Viktor Frankl or Elie Weisel and see we have done so. We are deeper and more complex than the superficial understanding of hope as we see it today. We find things to hang on to and create hope even when logically we know there is none. We are adaptable and tough. We delude ourselves into believing in something that is not there. The reasons can probably be explained through some evolutionary cause.

What I know is this: true dystopian literature, a good piece of real dystopia is going to cause you discomfort. When you come away from it you look at the world in a different way. You know that it’s something that COULD happen, but mostly, it makes you fear for our species. That’s probably why most people hate it.

That’s what I think.

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