Utopia or Dystopia?

While a Utopia is an idealistic society where everything is perfect, a Dystopia would be the opposite; a miserable place where nobody is happy and everyone is oppressed. In fiction, the Dystopian Story has been around for centuries, but in recent years has risen to be one of the most popular genres. The formula is simple: Take a society that is miserable and oppressed and have a hero rise to break free from that oppression, usually returning to free everyone. I can’t argue that it doesn’t make for a good story, but as a fan and author of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, I also can’t help but wonder at what really defines a Dystopia. It might seem simple since they are opposites, but I believe the line is not so clear.

In my book, ‘The Freezer’, I have created what could easily be considered a Utopian setting. Here is a community that is well protected, has a bountiful supply of food, water, shelter, and energy. The people are healthy, free from disease, and if they are near death can even clone themselves to continue their lives. In comparison to the rest of the scarred world, they are living in luxury. Beyond survival and maintaining their existence, they have an ulterior purpose: to repopulate the earth with humans. The need to procreate has created a culture in which sex is as common as a handshake, and the result is absolute acceptance of sex in everyday life. Everyone shares themselves with everyone else, not just in carnal terms, but in every aspect, from work to play.   In a Post- Apocalyptic world where everything is about hardship and survival, these people are living in the closest thing to a Utopian community one could imagine.

Then I introduce the ‘Reborn’ into this society. The Reborn grew up in a world where sex was something you kept exclusively between two people, barely accepted outside the bedroom. They are people who did not grow up in a desolate and scorched world, struggling to simply keep humanity from becoming extinct. In their world, they were free to travel, settle where they desired, and to pursue happiness however they saw fit; a freedom they and their forefathers fought and gave their lives to protect. Now they are thrown into a world where they have no real choices. They are under pressure to copulate, and while at first this might seem great to some, eventually moral and religious issues will create untenable situations. The native population will see them as outsiders, and in some cases treat them as inferior people. But they can’t leave, and they don’t have a say in what they should be allowed to do on their own. To many of the Reborn, this community is an oppressive Dystopia.

The lines between the two are blurry; more a matter of relativity and philosophy than anything else. People will always disagree, based on all the criteria that make up their culture and individual personalities. Human beings are not capable of being perfect, which is why a Utopia is defined as an idealistic but imaginary place.

As for the Genesis Endeavor, I will continue to show the perspective of the characters introduced in The Freezer as well as introduce new characters and show how they view their world. Ultimately, it will be up to you, the reader, to decide what kind of society these people have created.

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