stcelestine said: What about 51, 52, and 96?
52. What story (book, movie, game, etc.) have you learned the most from?
The best answer I can think of to this are the stories that taught me to read, which were by Beatrix Potter. If I hadn’t first learned about Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck’s poor life choices, my subsequent learning would have been greatly curtailed.
96. If you had a tagline, what would it be?
‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’ I could probably come up with something better if I’d had coffee today. Actually, that would also be an accurate tagline.
51. Describe the ultimate dystopia.
A big question, so I left it until last. My current view would tend towards a chaotic rather than an over-ordered dystopia, in which government had broken down and climate change was undermining society both literally (buildings being swept away by floods) and figuratively (daily life involving much greater exposure to risk). To me, what gives a dystopia its power to horrify is plausibility as an extrapolation, so the vague description above is basically life in the failed states of the developing world. No guarantee of safety, of health, of access to electricity, water, or food. What I think would make it the ultimate dystopia would be to add to that general insecurity and freak weather a worldwide outbreak of ebola virus. (Ebola is an absolutely terrifying disease, I wish I knew less about it.) There would be persistent rumours that the 1% have a vaccine or treatment, providing a glimmer of hope that is then dashed. Those rich enough to do so would seal themselves off behind walls, with drones to pick off anyone trying to break their quarantine. Outside these citadels, panic and government breakdown would undermine attempts to control the disease and people would begin to scapegoat minorities for blame (probably on racial lines, given the origin of ebola).
I am fascinated by how brittle the linkages we totally rely on for daily life could turn out to be given multiple disasters. So climate change would spread the ebola outbreak as storms, desertification, and flooding force mass movements of refugees. Climate upheaval would also undermine the interconnections between energy systems, international trade, and governments. But to my mind, the real tip into chaos would be precipitated by the withdrawal into fear & panic of the people in control of a large proportion of the world’s assets. Given how destructive the richest are whilst merely protecting and enhancing their wealth, I can only imagine how much worse things would be if they were seeking to preserve themselves at any cost.
This isn’t an especially original dystopia, nor does it require much suspension of disbelief. That’s what scares me about it. But to give it some colour… The Murdoch dynasty would have giant mechs, the UK Royal Family would be sacrificed on top of the Thames barrier to protect London from flooding, and China would clamp down on panic by imitating Stalinist Russia in the 1930s, except with all the advantages of technology that Stalin did not have. Facebook and google’s drones would get into pitched battles with considerable collateral damage. American survivalists would be insufferably smug, until located and overrun by the terrified and heavily armed general population. An antipope would rise, occupy parts of the Vatican, and make pronouncements about the end of days. I’m not sure what Nicolas Cage would do, but it would be spectacularly batshit insane. Maybe he would be the antipope! Finally, to symbolise the collapse of civilisation, the UL would burn down.