Tuesday, July 13, 2010

what's with all the dystopia?

So I finally picked up my next book for book club, A Clockwork Orange.

When we were deciding on books in the spring, most of the suggestions were ones we never read in high school but felt like we should have. So far, East of Eden has been my favorite and is going on my list of Top Ten Books I Didn't Want to Read Originally, But Ended Up Enjoying. Included on the list are Name of the Wind and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? However, I don't think this new book is going to make that list (but then again, that's the nature of the list, isn't it?)

I'm getting a bit burnt out on dystopia. So many of the books we read in high school take place in a sad, grey future where problems during the date of publication are amplified to the nth degree. Books like Farenheit 451, Anthem, 1984, and Brave New World paint pictures of a dismal future where everyday man has accepted a life without books, or names, or become dependent on drugs like soma to endure the sad state of the world. Even my favorite book in elementary school, The Giver, depicts a future without color and without memory.

I fear for the future. I am sure that within 50 years, the oceans will be polluted or dried up, nuclear war will break out, robots will rebel, and aliens will plumb our green planet for needed resources. And I am "sure" of this because of the countless books I have read that tell me that our future is depressing and dark. That the sun will burn out and men and women will be used as batteries for large sentient machines.Look at the movie Wall-E! Earth is a dump, humans have fled the earth, and the only creature remaining in the rubble (that doesn't require solar charging) is a cockroach. No doubt the people that produce these movies and novels hope to influence people; to induce change and new thinking that could save us. But I don't feel empowered and capable of change. I feel crushed by the weight of outstanding evidence that tells me the future will suck. I feel powerless and scared.

The only solution to NOT feeling scared, I believe, is to stop reading these books. But it may be too late. Especially since I have to read this one for book club.

OR I can just concentrate on the movies and books with good futures. Like...
  • Back to the Future II
  • Star Trek
  • ...that's all I can think of.

1 comment:

  1. I feel ya, girl. As Hamlet said, "The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
    no traveller returns, puzzles the will,
    and makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of". I guess the unknown strikes people as more frightening than all the mess here in the present. But we can take comfort in the fact that we'll be dead, ha.

    One cool thing about a Clockwork Orange is that by the end of it, you basically speak another language.