I can’t agree with this article (Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology). We keep coming back to dystopian, sci-fi novels (right now especially) because scary stuff is happening in the world. We’ve recently discovered that we’re being monitored and spied-on to a much larger extent than we realized, there are riots and rebellions home and abroad, and there are ongoing wars and armed conflicts that continue to flare up. And technology has played a major role in the ongoing conflicts around the globe, from allowing them to occur in the first place (such as the NSA Spying Scandal) to bringing live images and videos to us from the conflict areas like never before.
An article responding to the above-mentioned piece says it quite well, “To claim that fiction and our buying into it causes this wariness misidentifies the causes and effects in the way that art and life interact with one another. Dystopian science fiction, from the time it first appeared 100 years ago, grew out of our own preexisting anxiety about technologies we couldn’t control.”
We shouldn’t fear technology itself, but we should fear what people are capable of doing with that technology. And people have demonstrated quite recently that this fear is justified. The recent revival of the dystopian novel (or it’s ongoing popularity, depending on your timeline) simply reflects people’s fear of abuse of power. While it certainly isn’t a new fear, it is playing out in fascinating but terrifying new ways.
The takeaway seems to be an old but always relevant rule: Don’t fear the tool; fear individuals who seek to abuse it.
August 16, 2014