Why Dystopian Stories Fascinate Us So Much

Why Dystopian Stories Fascinate Us So Much

by Heather Little

photo by tenchi24

Utopia… Fact or Fiction?  This question seems to have gone by the wayside of late. The early 19th century saw the idea of a global Utopian society as one possible way for the end of history. Yet, for the last century, if not two centuries, this ‘ideal’ has been replaced by the opposite. A Dystopian Society. Which Wikipedia defines as: “A dystopia is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.” 

The focus of many narratives seems to be on a cataclysmic decline in society, which dehumanizes us in some way. Emphasis has been given to a form or kind of sociopolitical dysfunction. A new hierarchy rises up to overtake government in some fashion, resulting in the rich getting richer and the poor becoming poorer, not hugely different from society as it is today but in a much more drastic manner.

It’s only natural to wonder about the future and how life will be in twenty years, fifty, or even one hundred years from now. Are we headed for mass destruction? Will there be some form of cosmic annihilation? If we formed from nothing, will we return to nothing? The unknown bewilders and mystifies people. There is a fear of such an unspecified future for some, which may cause apprehension. To delve into the ‘thinkings’ of someone else can possibly assuage some of the unease and anxiety felt at not knowing what to expect in the years to come. Especially if there is a happy ending, a triumph of mankind even to an infinitesimal degree.

In today’s society the end of the world is speculated and spoken about in some way almost weekly. The noticeable change in the environment and weather due to climate change, makes it obvious and very visceral, and therefore makes you question the future and how mankind will survive.

It makes people wonder just what, if anything, will be our undoing. From the believable, such as the downfall of government, or the rising up of a new and more powerful faction; to the unbelievable, such as an outbreak of some toxin or virus that kills off many or mutates many and they subsequently take over or begin a systematic slaughter of mankind.

No one wants to think that we will continue our mundane existence, there must be something new and different on the horizon, even if it involves devastation and ruin. Therefore, we entertain ourselves with what others think could happen and may even create our own hypothesis.

Heather Little was raised on a small farm in an even smaller rural community in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada. The youngest daughter of a retired military father and home-maker mother; Heather got to spend plenty of time with her father. It was due to his zealous imagination at turning her four year old scribbles on paper into wild tales of adventure, which he then told to her as bedtime stories, that Heather developed a love of the written word at a very young age. Her self-published debut novella, Chubber is available in both paperback and eReader on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and through the publisher, Lulu.com.

Heather is a member of the online writing community, Writer’s Carnival and a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. She can be contacted via her website: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/heather-little.html

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