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.