Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Grey Dystopia

A still from 'The Book of Eli'

The other evening I watched a bit of the dystopian movie, The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington, based on a script by Gary Whitta.     The main character, Eli,  guided by voices in his head, had been searching for a particular book, the last remaining copy of the Bible.  There had been a nuclear apocalypse thirty years earlier and every other Bible had been burned.   It seemed to me that the movie had been filmed with a hazy grey filter;  there was almost no colour and no vegetation.  I had to wonder how people lived and was surprised that after thirty years civilization hadn't progressed further.  Some scenes were 'Wild West' saloon type scenarios.   Lawlessness was rampant and the main way to survive appeared to be robbery and cannibalism.   No attempt was made to re-create any sort of civil society. But perhaps I stopped watching too soon.  

Because I have written dystopian novels, I'm interested in this subject matter.   I soon realized that the main character was an expert swordsman and the body count accumulated.   Somehow Eli obtained a vehicle with gasoline, even though it is my understanding that gasoline becomes unstable and unusable after a year.   I won't go into the rest of the plot as I only watched maybe twenty minutes although I've read a summary on Wikipedia.

I have seen documentaries on Chernobyl, the site of a major nuclear accident almost thirty years ago, and the vegetation and animal life is thriving although or perhaps because people are not allowed in the area. 

Chernobyl site, National Geographic photo

Writing this post sent me down internet paths looking for other dystopian novels I have read.   Lucifer's Hammer is a similar post-apocalyptic situation after a comet strikes the earth.   The way society survives and evolves, in small communities fighting off looters, seems similar to me to One Second After.    Then there's The Handmaid's Tale, the Tripod trilogy,  The City and the Stars . . .  There are many ways a world can fall apart and many methods of survival.
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I'll be on vacation blog hiatus until August 27th.  See you then!

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