My new SciFi novel Utopia Five is set in 2053. It’s about a post-cataclysm society where some of the inhabitants reckons it’s utopian, others dystopian. Who’s right?
If you think that whether you live in a dystopia or not is obvious, the book’s main character Lee argues it isn’t. My last blog post “What is a Dystopia?” attempts to answer the question of what makes a dystopia in literature and film.
But let’s cut to the chase, which dystopia’s would I personally prefer to live in? Fortunately. I have already ranked my top ten just in case I ever have to make a split-second decision…
10 — The Federation (Blake’s Seven)
The best thing about being employed by an evil interstellar empire is the travel: you do get to see the galaxy while you’re brutally oppressing it. As well as sightseeing opportunities, the Terran Federation also has plenty of gender equality (a female supreme leader) and disability rights (with a one-eyed henchman). I reckon that makes the Federation the most enlightened of military fascist societies.
9 — Megacity 1 (2000 A.D. Judge Dredd)
I’m law-abiding — it’ll be fine.
8 — Bartertown (Mad Max 3)
The last of the Mohicans? What appeals to me about this post-apocalyptic society is there’s a lot of social leeway on dress and hairstyle choice. And again with the female leader! A genuinely diverse team.
7 — Planet of the Apes
Granted, as a human in “The Planet of the Apes” you’re in a minority group, but I reckon you could make it work. Plus, best ever Instagram location.
6 — The Matrix
Just don’t take the red pill.
5 — The Matrix
Take the red pill.
4 — The Empire
I could see myself as an Imperial Stormtrooper. After all, most of the time you’d be winning.
3 — Robocop
Paul Verhoeven’s corporation-dominated world probably delivers my best chance of a robotic exoskeleton — evil corporations have all the coolest tech. That’s why they win.
2 — Mongo, home of Ming the Merciless
I have to hand it to Ming, top marks for outfit diversity while maintaining a strong, personal evil brand and a multiplanetary vision. That’s all hard to pull off in a growing empire — it’s easy to fall back on on the safe options of identikit leather and statement haircuts.
1 — The Isle of Wight
In real life, of course, I’d actually be following John Wyndham’s excellent advice in “The Day of the Triffids” and heading for the Isle of Wight. It’s a true irony that should be the safest place in the event of a zombie apocalypse (wight! geddit?!). The Isle of Wight or an equivalent island stronghold is apparently where we’ll all be rebuilding society because those foolish triffids/zombies never got their swimming certificates. Last one there is a vegetable’s kebab.
0 — Bladerunner
I’ve realised I’m going to have to award a bonus slot to Bladerunner on the grounds that otherwise I have no dystopia with Rutger Hauer in it and that feels deeply wrong.
My new SciFi novel Utopia Five is set in 2053. It’s a time and world-bending action adventure! It doesn’t have Rutger Hauer in it because it’s a book. So, don’t get your hopes up.