the allure of dystopia

While reading Tiptree’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” I found myself most captivated by the dystopian universe it is set in. Tiptree never says outright that the story takes place in a dystopia, but there seem to be many signs that the world is indeed in a horrible state. Some of the story’s most notable signs of dystopia include powerful megacorporations, major class divides, the abuse of science / technology, and probably most importantly, a sense of futility. These conditions seem awful and completely undesirable, yet I still find myself fascinated by them and even having a desire to inhabit this world, which leads me to the question: why are dystopias so alluring?

I think the one of the major reasons that dystopias are so captivating is that they often resemble our world. From the controlling mega corporations to the genetic modifications to the worldwide satellite communication, this dystopian world shares many characteristics with our own. By being based in our own world, these dystopias become grounded in our reality, making them much more believable and inhabitable. Another major reason I think they are so captivating is that they present the reader with a “what if” scenario. It allows the reader to fulfill their curiosity of what were to happen if major issues or technologies of today were to spiral out of control. I think probably the most important reason dystopias are so captivating is that they present the reader with an undesirable model of the future, thereby possibly creating a desire to instill change to prevent this kind of scenario from actually occurring.

Jake Luebeck


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