life-affirmng dystopians?

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life-affirmng dystopians?

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1nohrt4me
Aug 31, 2006, 11:32am

bigal123 referred to "life-affirming dystopians" in a post on a previous thread.

While that struck me as an oxymoron, it's true that "don't let things turn out this bad" warnings of most dystopians are an attempt to make life better.

Any examples of how dystopians have made the world better?

Any individual hearts and minds changed by reading a dystopian?

2lohengrin
Aug 31, 2006, 11:53am

A Clockwork Orange. Well, the full version. Not necessarily "life-affirming," but more along the lines of... people do eventually grow up, and most of us turn into tolerable sorts of people when we do.

3markmobley
Aug 31, 2006, 2:59pm

I think that the benchmark for "life-affirming dystopians" would be the title essay by C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man. Presciently, he examines the eugenics of the 30's and 40's and declares that manking as we know it will disappear under the policies of improvement. How's this for dystopia: "Human nature will be the last part of man to surrender to man. The battle will then be won. We shall have 'taken the thread of life out of the hand of Clotho' and be henceforth free to make out species whatever we wish it to be. The battle will indeed be won. But who, precisely, will have won it?" Yet, he goes back to what he defines as the Tao, the bedrock of morality that makes human society possible and is mysteriously found in every human heart. He sees us a first principles, not genetics to be manipulated but souls to be conserved and protected.

He fleshes it out even more in the finale of the Space Trilogy, That Hideous Strength. The anticipation of the unveiling of the resurrected Merlin is delicious, even if the science is a little dated.

Speaking of eugenics, try Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Ian Malcolm is as fascinating a character as I have ever run across in fiction.