Silly Robots is out until after the first of the year. Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone!
Last week, I discussed the nature of most dystopias in Sci Fi. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those Sci Fi authors and works that take on a flair most opposite of a dystopian totalitarian state of living. They fly by their own rules. Or no rules at all…
Libertarianism is broad itself in scope, covering everything from having a small state government to complete anarchism ( a total lack of central government). It spans from right to left, but is pretty centric in all incarnations. The basis is on personal liberties that govern how an individual lives. These themes are explored in such works as The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
A strong focus within these works is the ever hush-hush anarchism. Because a society without laws is unthinkable. Without the government to hold us all together we would just cease to exist. Or worse…we would actually get along just fine.
I think anarchism is such a strong theme because it’s what everyone really wants. We want to form communities based on a need for community, not because we live inside of an arbitrary boundary drawn by a detached state government.
If i may wax romantically for a moment…
I sort of wish i was born in the days of pioneering the American West. Little to no governing authorities, just people working together for the good of their family, self, friends, whatever. Sure it bred outlaws, but it also bred heroes. For every story of crime we have a story of bravery. The illusion of the need for a government stems from a detachment we all experience. Most people live in an urban center and have no idea where their food comes from, whether it’s vegetables or meat. Most of us have never had to build a shelter to survive a winter or keep away predators. We’ve never had to walk miles to find said food or shelter. All in all we have disconnected from what it is to be. We think living in a city near a store where we spend the money we earned at our job and paid taxes on to support our country’s infrastructure and bureaucracy is how we are supposed to live.
Or we could throw rocks at the Earth from the Moon.
Whatever side of politics you land on, consider a world without a government. Consider having to really provide for yourself. Consider having to survive. Call me a caveman. Call me whatever you want. I fall right in line with all of the writers who have already expressed this sentiment. I find that a world run by the individuals who inhabit it and not massive states is my utopia.
What’s your utopia? Perhaps it looks more like what we already have. Maybe it resembles what most would call a dystopia. Maybe it’s something completely different from anything I have discussed.
Whatever it is, there must be a story waiting to be told about it…
Many science fiction novels deal with a future that is united by one world government. The question for the aspiring writer of these probably dystopian masterpieces remains simple: what kind of government is it? There are a plethora of options, on all ends of the political wheel.
The answer to the question often lies within the author: what do I fear the most?
Disclaimer: I hate all of them. Don’t comment about political systems or your personal preference unless it has something to do with writing. If you want to rant about how much one of them sucks and how America or whatever country you live in is turning into it, I will become whatever totalitarian establishment you hate and delete your comment.
Are you a strong independent woman reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson or Beyonce? Then you should be scared of fascism. Are you a homosexual who enjoys meeting other homosexuals? Then you should be afraid of fascism. Are you a proponent of a strong national pride coupled with far right social and moral laws?
Then you are probably a fascist…
Ok maybe not really. But the principles stand as far right and strong nationalism. The liberal author would find living like this appalling and unbearable. The Nazi author would love it. The liberal mind finds a government that oppresses people on the basis of race or social orientation sickening. This world would definitely be a dystopia for some. Think V for Vendetta.
Are you a successful business man who donates to charity and enjoys the fruit of his labor? Then you should be scared of socialism. Are you a farmer who enjoys the great outdoors and the freedom to grow whatever you choose? Then you should be afraid of socialism. Are you a poor person who thinks the government should do everything for you?
Then you’re probably a socialist…
Or maybe just a poor person. Socialism strives to make all citizens equal in every way. This takes away the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive of the open market. The conservative mind finds this reprehensible because of the economic implications. While less popular in fiction, it is definitely an inviting setting. Think 1984.
Most dystopias revolve around these two governments taken to their totalitarian extremes. The USSR and Nazi Germany are often cited as the basis for these extremes and the fears that come with them. Which makes sense because “Nazi” and “Commie” are pretty much universal terms for “I hate you”.
In essence, a totalitarian government is everyone’s fear no matter which end of the spectrum this government is on. That makes it great fodder for sci fi novels. Especially novels written during a World War or the Cold War.
Speculative future fiction has always been a favorite genre of mine, and I think it’s worth considering as a writer. If you need some inspiration, see such novels as Atlas Shrugged, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The Hunger Games, Brave New World, Watchmen, or for a more comprehensive list, click here.
So what is the answer to all of this totalitarian, far right, far left ridiculousness?
Libertarianism or Anarchism of course…on next week’s blog!