Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Future's So Dark, I Can't Wear Shades!

Recently, I finished a book set in an unknown future. It was pretty grim, so I'm assuming that it would fall under the category of dystopia (even though it wasn't marketed that way). 

According to several online dictionaries, the definition of dystopia is:  An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. Yep. That sums it up pretty well.

They sheer misery of this future really got to me for some reason. I started thinking about several other dystopian stories I've read the past few years and, according to them, our future looks pretty bleak. 

My response? Blech!

Why does the future have to be so full of despair? I'm certainly no Pollyanna, but one thing I could never understand was why anyone would allow society to deteriorate to this miserable level. Didn't anyone ever stand up and proclaim that it was wrong to allow children to fight to the death? That it wasn't okay for 16 year old girls to be used as sexual toys? That maybe burning all the books was a little foolish? That no, forced polygamy wasn't okay? Aren't people better than that?

Yes, life will be tough after the zombie apocalypse or plague or war or whatever caused society to fall, but still.... 

I don't think I've read any futuristic stories that didn't have a miserably bleak setting. Why? The Jetsons was set in the future and they weren't miserable. They had cool flying cars, a great house, and even a robot maid! Nothing bleak there! And Star Trek! Star Trek was always optimistic about discovering new civilizations and that we would all get along. What happened to those futures?

I seem to be in a funk, but maybe I'm just getting tired of dystopia with their predictions of misery and despair. Our present has more than enough of that to go around, so why not dream of a better future? Books are my escape, and no one has ever wanted to escape to someplace worse than where they already were.

Anyone know of any good books that aren't so miserable? I'm really tired of it being okay for children to fight to the death, being forced to procreate, or be used as chattel. *sigh*  


  1. How bad is it that it took me ages to think of a non-quite-so-miserable book!
    You should try Castles on the Sand by Emily Mah Tippetts, or if you want a bit of a mystery you should try the 'deck of lies' series by jade varden - they're all really good!

  2. Amen! I'm so tired of the dystopian future that seems to have taken over lately. There are only a few that I have enjoyed, mainly because of the author's writing style, not the subject matter.

  3. So true. I've thought real hard and I can't think of any positive future books. Maybe they think it's not exciting enough to write about? Or maybe they're just trying to cash in on what's popular. I don't know, but I agree that it would be nice to see a future that is bleak and depressing.

  4. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld... well, I'm not sure actually. The society in it does have it's flaws... It includes a war, actually. So... I guess I've got nothing. You've got a very good point there. However, what's the point of writing in the future if there isn't significant issues? The story may as well take place in the present. Or that's my reasoning anyway.

  5. Though I don't see anything wrong with a futuristic book that is all happy and merry, I won't agree that dystopian books are full of misery and despair. For me, reading about all those people surviving through those harsh times no matter what it takes, is all the hope I need :) I'll think that dystopian sets the tone for an author to create a "national hero" era with badass characters who win our heart.

    Of course, this is all my personal opinion!

    Book a World

  6. Hmmm, I'm not a massive fan of dystopian. It is always so bleak, I agree. I think people can imagine a dystopian future that's that controlling and crazy, though... maybe that's why there's so many books written in such a world.

  7. I love dystopia! But your assessment of it is spot on. I think society being bleak leads to much more tension. After all, what's a book without adversary? I can't seem to come up with any books set in the future but without a typical dystopian society. I'll def let you know if I do come across one though!

  8. Even though I love dystopian books- you are exactly right, it is all very dark and dismal. Most of the time I think the future would never really end up like they portray it, and you have to just go with it.
    I'm struggling to think of any positive fictitious visions of the future though!

  9. I would tend to agree with you, but I do think that dystopian books are often cautionary tales. Perhaps if enough people feel as you do about these future scenarios, none of them will ever take place in our world. We can only hope, right?

    I too am having a hard time thinking of any optimistic books about the future. Hmmm, maybe I should write one. ;O)

  10. I couldn't agree more and with the present bleak for so many of us who wants to read such books?

  11. Me again. I don't know how or why but my blog has changed to google+, my blog profile has disappeared and I'm unable to sign in as Petty Witter which is causing some confusion. Anyone else having similar problems?

  12. Yes! I have to say I loved The Hunger Games when the series came out, but the number of dystopian books that have come out since have really worn me down. I'm no Pollyanna either but give me Star Trek :) Let's battle aliens only if they come after us first, but otherwise let's try to foster understanding and perfect some Klingon battle moves to blow off some steam :)

  13. ALdous Huxlet wrote about Brave New World and look where that got us. Every one in that society was a druggie to make them conform and keep the peace.
    No thank you.
    Of course, I would suggest that when the future does arrive, you stay away from ordering the green stuff to eat. I've heard it's made of...well, never mind. Just don't eat it.
    Maybe you should read some Dr Who novels. He travels through time and space and the stories generally have a happy ending.
    I think the dustopian genre is something I am going to stay away from, though. I can't really stomach doom and despair.

  14. Hmm...yeah, I haven't hit that particular funk but I am in one at the moment that the last book and current read are just not hitting the spot. Wrong time for the right book or something like that. To pull you out of the's about a Women's Fiction title...if you haven't read Marilyn Brant's work (ACCORDING TO JANE....A SUMMER IN EUROPE), I'd definitely recommend it. ^_^