Dystopia

Sarah Ennals @ 10-05-2009

Dystopia - Does Not Equal

Does Not Equal is a webcomic by Sarah Ennalscheck out the pre-Futurismic archives, and the strips that have been published here previously.

[ Be sure to check out the Does Not Equal Cafepress store for webcomic merchandise featuring Canadians with geometrically-shaped heads! ]


Global science fiction and optimism, part 1 – the Ukraine

Paul Raven @ 09-02-2009

Chernobyl nuclear reactor, UkraineOver at the Shine Anthology blog, Jetse De Vries has started surveying the science fiction scenes of the world to see how prevalent the optimistic streak is at a local level.

The first instalment is an essay from Ukrainian writer Sergey Gerasimov, who paints a grim picture of a post-Communist aesthetic that has moved from naive Soviet optimism to (unsurprisingly) a rather grim and gory militarism:

Besides resource depletion, climate change, and pollution, there are some special topics in Ukraine: 99 percent corruption everywhere, Chernobyl, and we’ve already lived in a diluted variant of 1984; when reading George Orwell’s book, we don’t find anything surprising in it. That may be why Ukrainian readers don’t look for novels which describe marvelous possibilities or give social commentaries anymore. With cannibalistic optimism they read another meaty spilling guts story. The best social commentaries are given here in R-rated language.

Hard to believe, but there was time when the main type of speculative fiction written in Ukraine was optimistic Sci Fi. The only subgenres of it I remember were: naive-optimistic and hypocritically optimistic. These soap opera flavored volumes populated with happy future communists illustrated some political issues of the day and the famous Michurin’s motto: “We cannot wait for favors from Nature. To take them from it — that is our task.”

If nothing else, it highlights the fact that Western sf isn’t quite so dystopian in tone by comparison. But I guess the big question here is whether a nation’s artistic output passively reflects its political and economic aspirations, or whether instead it can be used to influence and change those attitudes.

Perhaps it is more simple: maybe the bleakness of Ukrainian sf is inevitable, given that their real near-term future seems so devoid of hope. If that is the case, should we expect to see a swing toward optimism in the West riding in on the coat-tails of the Obama administration? [image by skpy]


William Gibson interviewed at io9

Paul Raven @ 11-06-2008

William GibsonJust in case you hadn’t noticed, the good folks at io9 have an interview with the nigh-legendary William Gibson, who I’m sure needs no introduction to Futurismic readers. Here he is explaining why he thinks people describe his work as dystopian:

“None of us ever live in dystopia. That’s an imaginary extreme. They just live in shitty cultures. And these societies [in my books] seem dystopian to middle class white people in North America. They don’t seem dystopian if you live in Rio or anywhere in Africa. Most people in Africa would happily immigrate to the Sprawl.

Click on over; plenty of brain food in exchange for five minutes of your time. [image by fugin]


CHANGING THE TUNE by Jason Stoddard

Jeremy Lyon @ 08-10-2005

Jason Stoddard’s “Changing The Tune” is a wistful story about youth and regrets, and how techno-utopia fails to live up to its hype.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Changing The Tune

by Jason Stoddard

“Dan, no!” Carolin said.

“You aren’t!” Keith said.

I waved them silent and looked down into the Northridge mall bandchise pit. Several hundred almighties had packed themselves in to see the premiere of Anna Baby No. 137. She was grinding through her rendition of “Always Pure.” Grey heads, bald heads, and newly brown and blonde and black heads were bobbing in time to the simple rhythm.

My handscreen showed all green. No sprites latched to my stream. No visigods watching. No Eyes or Ears tuned to our location.

I thumbed the icon and the music changed. Continue reading “CHANGING THE TUNE by Jason Stoddard”


ART’S APPRECIATION by Tom Doyle

Jeremy Lyon @ 01-09-2004

Tom Doyle’s “Art’s Appreciation” is a delightfully paranoid, anti-consumerist dystopia – so step inside, but please ignore the ads. 😉

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Art’s Appreciation

by Tom Doyle

Arthur knew they were after him. He was smarter than they were, but they were everywhere. They were disguised, but he had learned to spot them. And he had his Voices to help him.

A smiling tourist flashed the crowd periodically with a digital camera. Arthur froze. “That looks like one of them.”

The Voice he called Welles replied, “Right again, Boss.”

Arthur put on his ad-blocking polarized glasses to guard his vision, but he could make out the ghost image that had been aimed at his optic nerve. A soft drink ad — Stim Cola. He looked away as he hurried past the tourist.

An attractive young woman dressed in army surplus played a love song on her keyboard. “Mahler, this song is evil.”

“I’ll block it, Boss.” Arthur heard a combination of Bach with white noise countermeasures against the pop ballad’s overtone subliminals for fashion wear. But he couldn’t get the tune of the love song out of his head — he had heard it before. Continue reading “ART’S APPRECIATION by Tom Doyle”


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