Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. Credit: WikiCommons
*This piece was originally published on September 27th, 2017.
Science-fiction is a genre that imagines the future. It doesn’t necessarily predict the future (after all, where are flying cars?), but it grapples with the technological and societal changes happening today to better understand our world and where it’s heading.
So, what does it mean when so much of our most popular science-fiction - The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, and The Hunger Games - present bleak, depressing futures? Cory Doctorow might just have an answer. He’s a blogger, writer, activist, and author of the, an optimistic disaster novel.
- Doctorow thinks that science-fiction can give people “ideas for what to do if the future turns out in different ways.” Like how didn’t just predict the internet, it predicted the intermingling of corporations and the state.
- When you have story after story about how people turn on each other after disaster, Doctorow believes it gives us the largely false impression that people act like jerks in crises. , people usually rise to the occasion.
- With Walkaway, his “optimistic” disaster novel, Doctorow wanted to present a new narrative about resolving differences between people who are mostly on the same side.
- Rebecca Solnit’s focuses on how people actually respond after disasters.
- at the rise in dystopian fiction.
- Another of Doctorow’s books, , examines the prevalence of the surveillance state.