If you were to peg it down, The Hunger Games is where this all got started. And, from that sentence, it should be clear what I mean, but for those who do not know: we are living in a dystopian world.
I don’t mean that politically. What I’m referring to is the prevalence of the dystopian genre in popular fiction. Stories of societies gone bad, or built badly. Now, it’s not a new genre, for example, 1984 by George Orwell is over sixty years old, but in the wake of a few popular recent franchises, it got big.
A Dystopian Story For Every Possible Woe
And that’s because it’s profitable. Or was. Hollywood, at least in modern day, can overuse popular things until they are cliché and boring, and then even a little past that.
It happened to vampires; it happened to zombies. Though, probably because of the broadness of the topic of dystopia, this one’s lasting a lot longer. There have been amazing dystopian stories in this past decade, but we’re getting over it. We’ve done the majority of what there is to do with the topic.
Now, dark near-future dystopia is popping up around the media landscape. Look no further than The Circle for how it’s become more existential horror than the classic flavor.
Even Dystopian Media Is Altering Itself
And I like that new genre too when it’s done well. I’m not one to disparage art. But it’s about time the swing goes upward. Since we are at so peak dark, it’s time for some peak light. Society goes between cynicism and earnestness, so, let’s go back. We can have dark—I’d argue you can’t have light without dark—but people want hope. The Orville, Tomorrowland, Steven Universe, these are hopeful creations. They make the world a happier place by existing.
Science Fiction has two major jobs: to show what might happen if we are not careful and give into our negative impulses, and, to show what might happen if we act as our best, most brilliant selves. We’ve certainly seen across every medium of art what disasters could befall us, but now let’s imagine what new glories we can reach.
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