The Problem with Dystopians

by bdhesse

I love dystopians. I love reading about worlds that are vastly different from our own. I love the sense of ‘at least things are not that bad.’ But there is a problem: people take them as warnings to probable futures. 

My partner and I recently read 1984. It was a good story. But I have heard many people make claims along the lines of ‘look how closely our world matches that of the world in 1984.’ The story was good, but it was wholly unrealistic. That world is never going to happen because there is no benefit in it for anyone. Even the government doesn’t benefit. How could they? To maintain that world they had to cease all scientific and technological advancements. Yes, there are some parts of the story that reflect society today, but they are minimal and not really all that significant. 

I understand the draw to take such stories as warnings: nobody would want to live in such a world. But I do not see how people can truly compare our society with the world of 1984. I like dystopians for the ways they are different from our world. I am currently writing a dystopian, and I hope that people will see it as a warning to certain current trends. However, the world that I am creating will never come true. It won’t come true because it would not benefit anybody to create that world.