Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Asda car park: Somebody who really likes cats or just fails miserably to understand that sometimes words have two meanings.
Back from the brink of Gogglebox: Years and Years, Black Mirror, A Handmaid's Tale etc. Dystopian science fiction is like a drug, a drug that's a bit like heroin in fact. A black drug. A black hole of a drug. Invariably modern dramas in this genre try to scare the pants from us by predicting and portraying future worlds where things become darker, less controllable, more frightening and downright dangerous. There is no comfort, there is no salvation, just a ragged humanity constantly beleaguered by oppressive regimes, alien attack or nature going crazily out of control. It's a ratings winner every time and it does reflect real life but slightly skews it away from the everyday experience. 

So is there now an alternative case for more of a balance where science fiction carries a new and jarringly optimistic tone, where there are actual positive outcomes, where humanity isn't crushed, when we actually work together and manage to prevent doom and destruction falling upon us? In this other storytelling universe things actually work out, the good guys win (and not just the key characters we've been rooting for but everybody), there's a positive outcome. Is there anybody writing this stuff these days? 

I can't say I'd expect this to sell but there has to be a safe adult fictional place outside of kid's TV programming. The constant dramatic bombardment of negative energy, awful outcomes and the bigging up of man's inhumanity to man wins every time. As Steven Hawking once said via his voice machine, "it doesn't have to be this way". Just think about that please, even for a few seconds before cynically dismissing it. Not all coppers, politicians, billionaires or scientists are bent or bonkers.

On reflection the original Star Trek had a more upbeat tone as it grew awkwardly out the 50's wild tales and it was of course cheesy and unbearable at times but it got us all addicted to some higher plan and purpose ... we just didn't realize that the rot was setting in. Now we are not so much what we eat but what we view.

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