10 Reasons Books Made Me Fear the Future

BROWN BOOKS AND GREEN TEA(1)
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was one that we had a bit of flexibility with, as long as we discussed futuristic or historical literature. While making this list, I realized that the future…might be awful, if we’re taking hints from novels. Additional note: Y’all have brought up a lot of great commentary in the comments. There’s lots merit to the idea that certain books are more frightening than others because they reflect the worst parts of contemporary society. These authors didn’t get these futuristic concepts out of nowhere; oftentimes they seem like logical corollaries from present-day dynamics.

Here’s why my bookshelf makes me scared of the future:

1.) The government always has an incredible amount of power: Whether its “Big Brother” watching over your shoulder, or The Capitol doing whatever it has to in order to maintain control, there’s a new government dynamic that I’m not fond of.

2) There’s always an unanticipated “other”: There’s oftentimes some new subjugated population based on who is weaker or different. In Cinder, it’s the cyborgs, who have next level prosthetic limbs.

3) Or it’s got the same other as before–me: Do you remember District 11 in Hunger Games? Nope. I want no parts of that. The movie didn’t address the racial problem in District 11 in the way I’d have liked, but you guys get the point.

4) People wear bizarre clothes: Are jeans not fashionable in the future? What about cute A-line dresses and cute curly hair? The sentiment I’ve gotten from Hunger Games and beyond is that the rich dress extravagantly, and that’s not me.

5) Aliens live among us: Or maybe they ARE us? I’ll confess that I didn’t finish The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, but I got the gist, and that’s not the future I want to live in. Y’all, I don’t do aliens. Not one bit. See also: War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.

6) Sometimes, there’s no color. At all: The Giver might be one of my least favorite books ever read, simply because I thought the ending was rather lackluster. The idea of a life void of emotion and color just doesn’t seem worth living, honestly. Why bother? Once again, another future that I’d rather leave alone.

7) Clones are bred so the wealthy have an indefinite supply of organ donors: I’m all for organ donation, but in House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer, it was taken to a whole new level. You mean to tell me I could be raised to adolescence, only to find out I was created in a test tube to keep a rich drug cartel alive? I rebuke that.

8) War and death is perpetual: 1984, anyone? I’m not excited about any world where there’s constantly fighting. Either there’s war, or the characters consistently die off. I almost begin to think that the life span is shorter in the future than it is now!

9) There are far too many social experiments: Especially once in which the participants have no idea their lives are entirely engineered. There’s nothing about the Maze Runner story line that makes me excited to live in their version of the future.

10) Disease: I’m including the zombie apocalypse in this disease category, although authors will toss some zombies in any era. So many futuristic books include some airborne pathogen that devastates the human population. I’ll be honest– if natural selection is taking anyone out, it’s going to be this girl right here. With my asthma, allergies, and near-sightedness, I would be gone the moment Emergen-C supplements run out.

Is it me, or have most futuristic books presented incredibly intimidating dystopias? I’m hard pressed to find a futuristic book that portrayed a society I’d be proud to be a part of. That’s where y’all come in: did I miss anything in this list? Or do you have recommendations for futuristic books that don’t make me fear everything past 2017?

9 Comments

  1. Have you read Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy? That makes the future look mostly much brighter than the (1970s but not that different to now) present.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I haven’t! Sounds like a good read though– I could use something a little brighter. Thanks for the rec!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yup I agree, these futures are definitely scary, what’s even more scary is that you can see elements of these futures in our present!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/top-ten-tuesday-42/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an amazing list, and I completely agree- I am reading The Kill Zone now (Maze Runner series) and it’s quite terrifying when you consider the possibility of this. You make a very good point about giving governments too much control in futuristic novels, which is typically a common theme in almost all of them. It’s a little sad (and scary) that I cannot think of a single futuristic novel that does not paint this dim picture.

    Like

  4. The Maddaddam Trilogy would be a good one to add to your list.
    I was trying to think of a futuristic book in which I would want to live, but I can’t. I guess there’s no fun in that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate to say this, but have you looked around lately? People wear weird clothes now. There are existing governments that have too much control over the people, disease is everywhere, war and death are overly-present at this point in time, and I think it could be argued that the ‘other’ is simply other nationalities of people. Or at least we love to treat them like the ‘other.’ Frankly, I was quite scared reading Fahrenheit 451 recently. Not because of the devastating future it predicted but because of how CLOSE we are to that future nowadays. That’s the scary part in my opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Fahrenheit 451 was terrifying when you thought about it, for exactly that reason. *shudders* Too – bloody – close .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are both SO on point. Part of what scares me about a lot of these books is seeing the similarities between them and contemporary society. Some of these bullet points are definite potentials if certain things keep going as they are. =\

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ignorance has become its own trend. Its almost ‘uncool’ to be a bookworm. You’re sort of sneered at as odd if you know a lot of information, or assigned the term of ‘geek’. Its ridiculous. We should value intelligence and free-thought.

        Liked by 1 person

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