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 Post subject: Dystopias?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Just read: "Dystopian fiction is the next big trend"
:(

(Gollancz promo notes for Anna Sheehan's novel A Long, Long Sleep, due in August)

Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Load of bollocks.

We're living dystopia. We don't need to read about it as well.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:52 pm 
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Pete wrote:
Load of bollocks.

We're living dystopia. We don't need to read about it as well.


Utopia is Greek for nowhere. Dystopia must therefore mean.... here?

Come to think about it, Greece is in the shit right now. :(


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:07 pm 
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Hasn't dystopia (or at least, rather shitty futures*) been pretty much a constant in science fiction since We? The 30s and 40s were predictably full of them, then you've got J.G. Ballard, William Gibson, which then leads to post-cyberpunk, etc.

On a vaguely related note, I've half a mind to start a Blairpunk anthology, if enough people agree that this isn't a completely stupid idea.**

*we shall dub this sub-subgenre "R.S.F."...
**emphasis on completely.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:54 am 
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I agree that Dystopias have been an SF staple since ... well, probably a few weeks after Utopia was released.

I'm looking forward to reading the first Blairpunk epic! I seem to remember a 2000AD comic strip about a robo-Blair character, would it be in that kind of style?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:38 pm 
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Rob McCow wrote:
I'm looking forward to reading the first Blairpunk epic! I seem to remember a 2000AD comic strip about a robo-Blair character, would it be in that kind of style?


Unfortunately, the Internet is not collectively being terribly helpful on this, but if people need more details then maybe I should think of some rules, or a manifesto, or something.

Just to stay on topic, here: where's the line between dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction? Christopher Priest's Inverted World (yes, marvel at my small reference pool) springs to mind here.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:31 am 
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Rob McCow wrote:
I seem to remember a 2000AD comic strip about a robo-Blair character, would it be in that kind of style?


It was B.L.A.I.R. 1, a pun on the character M.A.C.H. 1 (Man Activated by Compu-punture Hyperpower) from the comic's early years. The Blair strip ran originally in a mock up of '3000ad' given as a freebie in '97, before Labour came to power IIRC. Can't remember if it stood for anything specific, but the strip also featured 'Judge Straw' when he was Home Secretary.


But anyway - the next big trend? Does that mean mainstream authors will categorically not be writing SF, but credibly possible future scenarios? :D

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where's the line between dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction?


Good question! Off the top of me head, I'd say that post apocalyptic might be based around a single, disasterous event that lead to the world depicted and deals with the efforts to rebuild or at least maintain a society. With dystopian, the society depicted has been worked toward or enforced, so may be still be in order, but it's not a good place to actually be, either politically or socially. Of course a dystopia might be borne of an apocalypse, so separating them might be difficult at times.

M.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:31 pm 
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Mikey wrote:
It was B.L.A.I.R. 1, a pun on the character M.A.C.H. 1 (Man Activated by Compu-punture Hyperpower) from the comic's early years. The Blair strip ran originally in a mock up of '3000ad' given as a freebie in '97, before Labour came to power IIRC. Can't remember if it stood for anything specific, but the strip also featured 'Judge Straw' when he was Home Secretary.


Ah.

Well this probably isn't quite what I was thinking of. My idea was essentially 90s retrofuturism - i.e. a mid-to-late 21st Century where everyone is still using floppy discs and VHS tapes (even if they're upgraded ones that can hold ten seasons of American television); that, or alternate histories that allow us all to make terribly unsubtle jokes about hackers in awe of the desktop they've stumbled across that has a whole 32MB of RAM...

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But anyway - the next big trend? Does that mean mainstream authors will categorically not be writing SF, but credibly possible future scenarios?


These statements are always made more hilarious by the way that the future is never credibly possible by the standards of the present. The Interzone feature on the Chung Kuo series prompted me to find an NYT review online from 1990 (I think), that basically said "the book's good, but what kind of utter mentalist imagines China as a superpower?"

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Of course a dystopia might be borne of an apocalypse, so separating them might be difficult at times.


How about this: 1984 and Brave New World both explicitly occur after wars (that both should have happened by now - way to take the edge off things...).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:30 am 
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[quote...My idea was essentially 90s retrofuturism - i.e. a mid-to-late 21st Century where everyone is still using floppy discs and VHS tapes (even if they're upgraded ones that can hold ten seasons of American television); that, or alternate histories that allow us all to make terribly unsubtle jokes about hackers in awe of the desktop they've stumbled across that has a whole 32MB of RAM...[/quote]

With or without adverts? :-) (OK cheap shot...)

Quote:
Quote:
But anyway - the next big trend? Does that mean mainstream authors will categorically not be writing SF, but credibly possible future scenarios?


These statements are always made more hilarious by the way that the future is never credibly possible by the standards of the present. The Interzone feature on the Chung Kuo series prompted me to find an NYT review online from 1990 (I think), that basically said "the book's good, but what kind of utter mentalist imagines China as a superpower?"


The NYT attitude was what put me off the original series. And the current reality is why I read the new series with such trepidation this time (as well it being the 'set book' for our reading group :D of course

Quote:
Quote:
Of course a dystopia might be borne of an apocalypse, so separating them might be difficult at times.


How about this: 1984 and Brave New World both explicitly occur after wars (that both should have happened by now - way to take the edge off things...).


There was an ongoing war in 1984 but that was more something to keep the proles unthinkingly satisfied with their position than a serious conflict. As far as I can remember the Party came into power after WW2 with no major conflict but with the Thought Police messing with things, who knows?

From what I can recall of Brave New World, the current structure more-or-less evolved into being. Again, the past was fairly efficiently deleted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:57 am 
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Blog post on dystopian fiction that might be of interest over at The Future Fire:-

http://djibrilalayad.blogspot.com/2011/ ... opian.html

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