#Books – United States of Dystopia
Dystopia is my favorite subgenre of science-fiction. Since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, scientific progress, technological breakthroughs, and new ideologies, have catalyzed fears of the future. As Yuval Noah Harari wrote in Sapiens, “when we break down our prison walls and run towards freedom, we are in fact running into the more spacious exercise yard of a bigger prison”.
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
People may be familiar with Steven Spielberg’s adaptation. In 2045, the world has become chaotic and dominated by the OASIS, a, extraordinary cloud-platform where social networks meet gaming and extended reality, and where most people spend their days, playing, socializing, learning and even working. Its founder, James Halliday, died a few years earlier, but left in the OASIS what is known as an Easter egg in the gaming industry. The first person to find it will inherit his colossal fortune. Although the movie received mixed reviews, I really enjoyed the novel, as it is full of brilliant intuitions about the future of gaming, social media, digital currencies, online learning, etc.
The Minority Report – Philip K. Dick
A great cinematographic adaptation by Steven Spielberg. But the inventor of the “precrime” concept is Philip Dick, one of the best Sci-Fi writers in my opinion. The idea of precogs, those mutants foreseeing all crime before it occurs, was already mentioned in Ubik, but they become the main piece of this story in which ere the police can arrest suspects before they can commit any actual crimes. Contrary to the movie, the novella goes far beyond as precrime aims to eliminate even intent to murder.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Dystopia is not just about technology or bioethics. As we may have entered a so-called “post-truth” era, the Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most brilliant pieces about the edge of Western democracies. The web television series with Elisabeth Moss has been a huge success too, renewing fears of religious fanaticism. In a near-future, America has become a totalitarian State known as the Republic of Gilead. New social classes were created, with extremely strict rules, especially for women. Most significantly, women are deprived of control over their own reproductive functions. Fascinating and terrifying.