Anarchy in the USA

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

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 yours?

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…

The Beginner’s Guide to Futurism

Source (http://media.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/images/retro-futuristic-designs-tutorials/retro%20futuristic%20city%2010.jpg)

Futurism is a hot topic. Especially if you’re into being an entrepreneur. Predicting and/or setting future trends can be a make or break skill in the business world.

But what about the original futurists:

Science Fiction writers?

How does that work? Where would I start? What exactly is futurism?

Excellent questions.

What is Futurism?

Also known as future studies, futurism is the act of postulating different futures. So when Heinlein postulates space marines, he’s being a futurist. When Clarke postulates communications satellites, he’s being a futurist. When Rodenberry postulates personal communication devices, he’s being a futurist.

The single greatest joy of a science fiction writer should be futurism.

Basically you get to make up whatever you want. Make sure it’s a good idea.

The idea of futurism is not necessarily to predict the future, but rather to speculate on the future. Most writers who end up being prophets are speculating with known information, not dictating what will happen with that information. It’s a tough process sometimes, but one that’s worth going through.

Futurism and Science Fiction

Think about some of the most successful science fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke writes stories about solar system colonies and wandering alien space ships in the near future. Robert Heinlein writes about space marines fighting for territory on foreign planets in the future. Isaac Asimov writes about a world full of helpful robots that permeate every level of society. Philip K. Dick writes about memories being implanted and removed from people’s brains. Suzanne Collins writes about a near future held together by children fighting to the death for honor.

All they did was dare to dream of the future and what could be.

This is the staple of being a futurist as a writer: you have to dream. If you predict, you will almost certainly be wrong. But if you dare to dream, you just might be right. And that is the success of some science fiction writers. They dared to dream of the future and they actually ended up predicting the future.  If you haven’t, you should watch the Science channel’s Prophets of Science Fiction series. It details this process and is very informative. The series consists of biographical documentaries following eight science fiction writers who changed the world with their writing. It’s extremely intriguing, and gives a wonderful picture of these futurists in their element.

What Does the Future Hold?

As you begin to envision your version of the future, there is one central question that has to be your starting point:

Am I an optimist or a pessimist?

This is the difference between Utopia and Dystopia, a nuclear war or treatied world peace. Mad Max and Star Trek if you will. Look at the world around you and ask yourself where you see it going. Is it to greatness, or oblivion? This will greatly shape the world you are writing, and may even lend something to the story (other than setting, of course.)

Determining whether or not the future is shiny can determine whether or not your story is worth writing.

Well there’s a starting point for becoming a futurist in your science fiction writing. Stay tuned for future  parts to the series!