Too Close to Home

As my fiction turns more toward projecting our current reality into possible futures, I find myself trying to think of scenarios where future generations don’t wind up living in a dystopia. And I can’t. The dystopia that does come about probably won’t look exactly like anything that novelist are creating today. For one thing, there won’t be any zombies. And it will have nothing to do with colonies in outer space. It will look a lot like today, only more so in some ways, and less so in other ways.

People want to avoid having to think about unpleasant things. They want to believe that life will go on as it always has and will do their best to ignore changes that are going on all around them.

Real life is infinitely more complicated than our approaches to it. We want simple solutions to complex problems, and we want them as soon as possible, with as little trouble to ourselves as possible. When solutions are offered, we’ll accept them without looking too deeply into whether they are truly solutions or just bandages slapped over raw flesh.

The important changes come on us slowly, and by the time we recognize them and admit we have to do something about them, it’s usually too late. Many scientists believe it’s already too late to take action against climate change. Even there is still time to wake up and act, whatever impetus there once was has been lost, mired in politics and denial. The rise of a surveillance state and the loss of freedoms that have always been taken for granted are aided and abetted by fearful and unquestioning acquiescence, with the end result a powerless citizenry.

Fiction can imagine many possible futures based on our present reality, and I don’t see any with happy endings.

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8 thoughts on “Too Close to Home

  1. My in-laws are Fox News-addicted all-American Tea Partiers, and vociferously let me know at every get-together. I am at peace with Earth’s fate, as is inevitable. Any other personal reaction would destroy me. I believe we are all flesh-and-blood robots anyway, and the fate of an electron is as set as the fate of the Earth, and as set as the fate of all the universes.

    1. I’m just resigned. When I’m not so depressed that I can’t even read any more news articles. I don’t believe in fate, but the persistence of the same human behaviors over the centuries probably amounts to much the same thing.

    2. Would you believe? Some A–hole spammer just copied your comment and is stupid enough to think I wouldn’t notice. And way too stupid to realize that spam gets caught before it can show up on WordPress blogs. But the morons just keep trying.

  2. It’s great fun to imagine different scenarios, pretending to ride the USS Enterprise and battle aliens, but I suspect the future will be all about the basics: water, food, not freezing in the winter. Ah, but that’s just too blah for a story, isn’t it?

    1. Food, water, and not freezing in the winter? A lot of people are already experiencing that future. You can write about it in an interesting way, but how much of that kind of subject are people willing to read?

        1. I absolutely hated The Road. Not only because it was so depressing and hopeless, though it was certainly one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. It was the style that threw me off. And I do mean threw me off, because I was constantly tripping over it and getting distracted from the story.

          1. Yes, I agree about the book. I think I read about 3 pages and threw it down. Did you know: many of the colleges put The Road on the required reading list for their students? When I took the book to the used bookstore, the man behind the counter called a college kid on the phone and told them to hurry down and pick it up.

            Go figure.

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