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Dystopian Index

A book (and other stuff) comparing the present situation with famous literary dystopias
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This idea comes out of the work I'm doing with 1984 in preparation for the "1984+20" event on 4/4/04 (see www.1984plus20.org for more information).

I have already constructed a "1984 Index"

http://www.well.com/~smendler/1984+20/1984index.html

but of course that only scratches the surface. There's Brave New World, there's The Handmaid's Tale, there are any number of other dystopias that include some prophetic aspects -- i.e., there's stuff in those books that has resonance with current events. So it would be cool to have a book that examines the elements of each of those dytopias and asks the question, "Are we headed there yet?"

This would also make a cool idea for a website, since one would like to update the material dynamically.

smendler, Mar 16 2004

[smendler]'s link as a link http://www.well.com...4+20/1984index.html
[jutta, Oct 04 2004]

The ultimate dystopian index http://www.thebulletin.org/clock.html
Back to seven minutes to midnight. [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004]

Wag the Dog http://www.newline.com/sites/wagthedog/
What happens when misperceptions are given center stage. [dpsyplc, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Too obvious.   

       Sci-fi isn't created in a vacuum. It already is written to comment on current trends, so finding them and pointing out similarities and differences just makes the work explicit that most of the science-fiction readers already do implicitly.   

       By misreading sci-fi as "prophetic" you're making up a destination that was never there to begin with. The point of the handmaid's tale etc. is not to say "this is where we'll end up", and by saying "this isn't where we ended up" you're not doing the book a favor.
jutta, Mar 16 2004
  

       Analysis of reality versus 1984 is as old as the book itself.   

       And this smacks of advocacy.   

       And Chomsky, while a genius, is...oh, nevermind, this is not the place.
theircompetitor, Mar 16 2004
  

       what are you saying, jutta -- that all advocacy is baked but some advocacy is less baked than other? Hey, were did you go? :)   

       The linked site is advocacy, while also imposing its judgements on a variety of topics without any backing or explanation as to how those labels were reached.
theircompetitor, Mar 16 2004
  

       To jutta's point, "1984" is famously a comment on 1948 (post-war Britain, mired in rationing, government control and bureaucracy), as opposed to a prediction for 1984. It is interesting to compare and contrast actual predictions with where we ended up, but people do that every New Year's Eve.
DrCurry, Mar 16 2004
  

       Any dystopian index should include real places that are absolutely horrible places to live. Like my house. I have no sense of smell and apparently something died in the wall a few months(?) ago, but how was I to know? Please include my house in your new book.
Mungo, Mar 16 2004
  

       I said "it smacks of advocacy". I didn't use the tag.   

       I said "it smacks of advocacy" because to my advocacy radar, it seemed that the point of the idea was to provide the link. I was not sure, hence the smacks versus mfd.
theircompetitor, Mar 16 2004
  

       //there's stuff in those books that has resonance with current events//

Well that's true of all really good books. There are themes and issues that will always be relevant to people's lives. If you need a website to point out the parallels between a book that you've read and real life then you probably haven't been paying attention properly.
DrBob, Mar 17 2004
  

       Why only dystopias? Why not utopias as well?
kropotkin, Mar 17 2004
  

       I can't really tell the difference between the two catagories. Sure, in one the narrator appears to be favor and in the other the narrator seems to be opposed. Thomas More's Utopia is only a utopia for Thomas More.
Laughs Last, Mar 17 2004
  
      
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