Dystopia is very popular in fiction, but how close is it to future reality?

Dystopia is everywhere we look in the world of books. Next to vampires, and guys without shirts, it seems to be the most popular and wide-spread of all genres.

When I looked up the word in the dictionary it read: ‘an imaginary community or society that is undesirable or frightening.

It made me wonder if there is a word for an ‘actual community or society that is undesirable or frightening.’ If there’s not, we should probably create one. Leave your suggestion below!

Although I’m not a big fan of dystopian, I have enjoyed a few books such as Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, Orwell’s 1984, and more recently Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. If the success of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Divergent by Veronica Roth is any measure, I’m in the minority.

Why is this genre so popular? Is it a way for us to feel better about our current situation?

dystopia clockwork orange

It was 1971 that I read Clockwork Orange, and at about the same time, attended a Hawkwind concert at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich. It was the ‘In Search of Space’ tour, and Silver Machine had recently been high in the charts. If they have psychedelic rock bands in futuristic dystopian worlds, these guys are it.

I was eventually to see Hawkwind on many occasions, but none of them stuck like that first mind-altering concert. The music was loud and psychedelic as hell, the air thick with weed. But all of that fades to grey compared to seeing the amazing Stacia Blake dancing on a smoke-filled stage, wearing nothing but body paint, and lit by strobes and oil wheels. It’s one of my more enduring memories.

I scoured the internet for some authentic concert footage, but the only video I could find is a sanitised and very tame TOTP version. Anyway, turn the sound right up (push in your earbuds if you’re on one of those things) and slide sideways through time with Hawkwind. I hope you enjoy it.

This one’s for you, Stacia …

Flank Street

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Author: A.J.

I have written as far back as I can recall. Until 2011, that writing was just for me, or as rambling letters to friends and travelogues to the family. I never thought about why, or if others did similarly, and the thought of publishing never entered my head. Since I left England in 1979, I have been collecting experiences, people, and places. From the blood-soaked streets of Kampala, the polluted dust bowls of the Sahara, or the pristine ice floes of the Antarctic, I have gathered and filed them away. Some have recently squeezed through the bars of insecurity and are now at large in the pages of my first three novels. Others await their future fates.

7 thoughts on “Dystopia

  1. Liz Brownlee says:

    It’s the opposite of Utopia, where everything is wonderful – everything is as bad as it can be. i think it appeals to people’s sense of courage in the face of adversity, gives them a feeling of intrepidity, in a way it’s the ultimate adventure, isn’t it, to fight your way out of the end of the world? Thought-provoking. ~Liz A-Z visitor! http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

    1. A.J. says:

      Thanks for commenting, Liz. Yes, I guess you right about it being the ultimate adventure.

    1. A.J. says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne. I find apocalyptic a bit too dark, but maybe I’ve been choosing the wrong books. Any reccomendations?

  2. M.R.R. says:

    Maybe it just makes us feel better about our own society. “Sure, we’re not perfect, but at least we don’t make teens kill each other for sport.”


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