Oh my precious Dystopia. Mass production, mind control, eugenics, Brazilian music in the background. This and much more is dystopia!

I often read online like 1984 it does not have to be an instruction manual for society, even if that is precisely the dystopia. By studying the current society, the writer, the screenwriter, or the narrator of a story, wants to show the drift that the way of thinking and civil life are taking.

Haldous Huxley spiritual father of modern dystopia said:

The fact that humans do not learn much from the lessons of history is the most important teaching that history can offer.

And it is precisely from here that the concept that we are going to analyze today through films, novels, comics and all possible and imaginable media was born.

Before we begin, however, let's remember a definition for dystopia:

dystopia: description or representation of an imaginary reality of the future, but predictable on the basis of present tendencies perceived as highly negative, in which an undesirable or frightening life experience is portrayed

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Dystopia 1984

But what is dystopia?

When we analyze this word in depth we realize that it was invented specifically for a purpose: to give a name to a reality that is exactly the opposite of utopia.
If on the one hand this is the formulation of a political, social, religious structure that is not reflected in reality, but which is proposed as an ideal and as a model, its antagonist shows a horrible reality in which no one, sane or almost, would like to live. This word has precisely in its meaning the concept of an unpleasant and at the same time undesirable prediction.

So, as with the Ukronias, why are we so fascinated by dystopias?

We find them interesting precisely because, in a somewhat distorted way, they are an allegory of the times we live in. What these lyrics, movies, TV series and anything else trying to do is to make us think. Let's take cinema for example. The eye of the camera has always tried to tell the world or what it was going to.

Saving Metropolis by Fritz Lang we see the man sacrificed to the power of the machine. An anticipation that Charlie Chaplin also took up in the film Modern times. The total annihilation of man, sacrificed to the forced labor of the assembly line. A non-man who doesn't live until he decides to leave it all behind.

Metropolis dystopia

The madness of dystopia often anticipates reality

In this period The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, 1985), one of the many books dealing with dystopia, is back in fashion due to the latest news coming to us from overseas. The choices of the Supreme Court of the USA with theabolition of the sentence on the right to abortion rang a big alarm bell that sounded even more ominous after the news from Ohio. Could these be the first steps towards the founding of the Republic of Gilead?

But it's not just this. Orwell, in his masterpiece, gave the reader an interesting point of view. He exhibited the man, who lived in one of the three great territorial powers, who abandoned himself to ignorance and the "two minutes of hatred". He was shown in this story how the mass media, under the direction of the government, through careful video and audio editing involved the population by channeling hatred towards a chosen enemy.

But on the other hand, the demonization of a scapegoat is not a new thing even in our advanced society, is it?

Another fundamental point, underlined by Orwell and taken up by Ray Bradbury in his Fahrenheit 451 (1953) is the concept of ignorance. In the book, and in Truffaut's film of the same name (1966), we see firefighters being called upon to start fires, rather than put them out. These fires, however, have a specific target: books.

The book, as a vehicle of diversity, culture, is the enemy of the totalitarian state. An ignorant population is easier to control, and history itself has shown how the burning of culture is essential to keeping the people in check.
Whether it was the Bonfire of the Vanities organized by Savonarola or the Bücherverbrennungen of Nazi Germany does not matter. The book is the greatest enemy of the one who holds power by force.

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Shopping tips

There are many titles of films, television series, books, comics that talk about dystopias, and this page would not be enough to make an exhaustive list. We have therefore selected some fundamental titles to better understand this genre.

Novels

In addition to the previously mentioned, we also recommend:

The time Machine (HG Welles) - in the future far ahead in time the now forgetful human society called Eloi is the meal of the degenerate Morlocks.
The outcasts from the other planet (UK Le Guin) - a narrative between the dystopian and the utopian where two totalitarian regimes are in opposition.
V for Vendetta (A. Moore, D. Lloyd) - the Norse Fire political party controls England. A symbol with the features of Guy Fawkes rises to open the eyes again to a resigned and frightened population.
Metro 2033 (DA Gluchovskij) - A claustrophobic world reduced to the subway lines of the city of Moscow and the journey of a man in the hope of saving what remains of the world.

Cinema

Clockwork Orange (S. Kubrick)
2022: The survivors (R. Fleischer)
Brazil (T. Gilliam)
1997: Escape from New York (J. Carpenter)

TV series / Anime

Ergo Proxy
Neon Genesis Evangelion
3%
Westworld

Video Game

Wolfstein: The New Order
Bioshock
Detroit: Become Human
We Happy Few

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Conclusion

It has been since the days of the RPG Paranoia that we should listen to what the Computer is telling us is good and knows what is best for us. Just as Big Brother knows and we have to scream during our hate minutes.
The point is that we should grasp the dark humor of these books, films and television series and raise our spirits to prepare them for possible dire scenarios such as those described by their authors.

And you, which dystopias are you most fond of? Which ones do you think shouldn't be missing from these lists? Let us know!