Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dystopian Fiction

Two of my books, A New Premise and When Bees Die, would be characterized as fiction with a subset of dystopian fiction.  If you take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about a dystopia, it is characterized as (and I paraphrase) a society in a repressive and controlled state with various forms of active and passive coercion.  Works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping or not being able to cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity's spiritual evolution.

The story usually centers on a protagonist who questions the society, often feeling intuitively that something is terribly wrong.  Something I find fascinating is the way that new technology is adopted to the extent that before long life without it seems almost intolerable to many and those most enamoured find it difficult to imagine how life existed without the new product.  A few examples are cellular telephones, video games and e-mail.  

Technological improvements are often more convenient than what existed previously.  Tasks can be done more quickly.  The benefit can sometimes seem to vanish with the passage of time as more is expected.   Where there once was a typing pool of ten individuals, now one office worker with a  fast computer loaded with programs does all the work in the same amount of  time.  Some people reading this may wonder what a 'typing pool' is.  People used to have to get up to change channels on television and everyone suffered through commercials. No more.

No doubt serious sociological papers have been written on these topics and the inexorable changes in psyche and society that technology brings about.   I suppose my fascination with this topic is what led to the two books mentioned above.


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