Are you one of these people who can just disappear into a good movie or a good book? I find I go deep into a powerful story—so far in that coming back to ‘reality’ can feel strange and disorienting. For this reason, and because of all the real world terror that is the focus of transformational activism, I made a pact with myself a number of years back that I wasn’t going to watch horror films, scary flicks, or displays of gratuitous violence.
Of course scary is relative as I soon discovered. I’ve kept my line drawn and a strict moratorium on consumption of stories with vampires, monsters, ax murderers, flesh-eating space aliens and zombies, but I’ve continued indulging in some powerful, yet at times, ferociously scary stories from the genre known as dystopia. Dystopia, the opposite of utopia, is a future where things don’t go well, for humans, for the environment, for society. I’ve allowed it to continue as part of my media and story diet because I’ve noticed that I find not hopelessness but inspiration in these stories. For some reason, seeing the worst case scenarios laid out beyond my wildest imagination has the desired, but unexpected, effect of motivating me in my activism toward a more just and livable future.
And although this is a deeply personal taste, if you too have a palette for dystopia, along with a deep concern about equity and ecological sustainability, I’ve got two hot tips for you: a book and a film. And the good news is each includes love affairs, rendering them great summer date night stories to ingest either reading aloud to your beloved on a picnic blanket, or cuddled up around the screen post digital download.
The Corps: 2081 lays out a tale of a post-climate-chaos-collapse San Francisco civilization, which eventually triumphs over a creepy corporate-ocracy, but not before laying out an absolutely plausible possible future that will send you running for a Citizen’s United petition before you can say “get money out of politics.”
Sleep Dealer is a powerful, soon-to-be cult-classic science fiction thriller from director Alex Rivera, who takes on human rights, water privatization, immigration, globalization, drone warfare and permaculture in an all too realistic futuristic freak show. Love wins in the end, but this story—now available as of this week as a digital release on iTunes—serves as a modern day rallying cry of another world that is possible but that we MUST prevent!
So pop some GMO-free popcorn and grab someone you love to see what might, but will never be our future. Enjoy, recharge, and then let’s get to work to create the future we do want to see!