I review three anthologies edited by John Joseph Adams on my book review website, Books Worth Reading. Have you been wanting to try a new genre: dystopia, post-apocalypse, or multiverse? A well-edited anthology can be a great introduction to a genre as well as a good way to discover new writers.
I recently was discussing with friends this new survivalist phenomenon. It is not so new, of course, but the meme that the apocalypse is coming soon has gone mainstream to an alarming degree, infecting people who otherwise seemed rational. Everyone seemed to know someone who had fully bought into the survivalist apocalyptic delusions that LaPierre espouses in this article, as one example. These same delusions are propagated every minute on the airwaves, and repetition leads to belief. These people are living in a dystopia entirely manufactured in their own worst imaginings of what humanity can be. They have decided that real life is a Mad Max movie and not what they see outside their own window.
When people manufacture a dystopia out of their most base assumptions about humanity and project that onto actual reality, in some ways they are elevating themselves in the ongoing story of our species. They live in a pivotal time, and by making themselves one of the elite who knows what’s coming and is prepared for it, they are positioned to play an important role in the climax of our shared story. The problem is that that their reality in no way resembles what the rest of us experience every day. And yet we must deal with the all-too-real side effects, which include more guns and gun violence, ineffectual government and neglect of the very real challenges that our species does face.
How easy it is for groups of people to come together and convince one another that the very worst is happening. Imagine what we could accomplish if we came together and convinced ourselves that the very best thing we could do is create a better world, for all of us.
We just finished watching the first two seasons of Luther on Netflix Instant Streaming. It is a crime series starring Idris Elba, and it can be very disturbing. One thing I like about it is that even though it is set in present-day London, it has a pronounced dystopian flavor. I was trying to come up with other examples of present-day dystopias in film or fiction — not set in the future, or in superhero-land, but in our world we live in — but I couldn’t.