Saturday, 16 April 2016

Why are dystopian books so popular?

I've just returned from grocery shopping. There were two little mishaps - I parked the car, got out, realized I'd left my cash at home. Then after I'd gone home and gotten the cash walked up to the supermarket I found there was not a single shopping trolley. Aside from these two little mishaps, the grocery shopping experience was uneventful. I found many items marked down on sale that I could freeze for another day. Stocked up on loads of goodies for the pantry. All in all, an uneventful, same old, everyday occurrence that millions of us take for granted.

I paid $150 for food that will be eaten in a week, perhaps scorned at, critiqued, not eaten, devoured hungrily, most importantly, taken for granted that all this will happen again next week. No wonder I see food shopping as pointless and boring. And if I find it boring and pointless, I'm sure there are other who do too.

We no longer have to fight or hunt for our food. All the tribal, primal, animalistic components have been cauterized, homogenized, and organized. No wonder dystopian novels are so popular. Characters have to fight for food, there's often the kill or be killed mentality, pushing others aside for the last scraps of food and water. Humanity is stripped away and we have to fight to keep it. In the modern world, there is no need to fight.


Just to treat you to the types of books I'm talking about there is a fantastic site called The Best Sci Fi Books. I recently found this post from September 2014 highlighting 96 Dystopian Science Fiction Books that are all on my must read list. I've read a few, and I must say I love dystopian worlds. And I think I know why. Our blessed lives lack the life or death challenges, they lack the hunt, the hunger, the fight for survival.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I want world war to break out and coupons to become a way of life. I don't want to fear for my life as I make a cup of tea. Nor do I want to eat stale crackers and spoiled food.

But our love of dystopian fiction makes me wonder that perhaps we humans like the idea of chaos in our lives, to remind us that while we have evolved, we are still of flesh and blood.

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