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Dystopia! (The Musical)

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges help you to push your writing boundaries, show off your blogging chops, and, hopefully, spark more post ideas.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge or leave a link to it in the comments. (It would also be great if you could link to this post to encourage people to take part – the more the merrier!)  Your post should be specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll keep an eye on the tag and highlight some of our favorite posts on Freshly Pressed on Friday.

Big brother keeping an eye on you. Fighting to the death for a live TV audience. Being turned into meaty pellets of goodness when you reach maturity. Struggling through grime and smog while a rich elite quaff champagne and make with their decadent follies. Discovering you’re a robot and that all of your memories are implants. Falling in love and then realising that you’re a clone destined to be carved up for spare body parts.

dystopia

This week we’re going to rejoice, creatively, in the ways the future can go horribly wrong, by digging into dystopia. “The musical” part is strictly optional, it just sounded good at the time. Here’s your challenge:

The elevator pitch:

Write a short story or piece of descriptive faux-journalism describing your personal idea of a dystopia — a dark future when everything you hold dear is on the chopping block.

The “that wasn’t enough to get my motor running” version:

You’re hit by a car tomorrow and, just like in the movies, they put you on ice and wait for medical science to make it possible to revive you at some point in the future. And revive you they do, some 20, 50, or 100 years later (any later than that is just cheating). Lo and behold you’ve woken up into your personal nightmare vision of the future. Tell us what it looks like.

***SPOILER ALERT***

We encourage you to go hog wild with the prompts above this line, but if you feel like you need an idea boost to get you started, read on:

Here are some things that might have changed since you were hit by that car:

  • Relationships: Does love still exist? Are people allowed to choose their own partners? Has the very idea of partnership been replaced by meditating about spoons?
  • Privilege: Are some people much better off than others, in terms of their freedom, opportunities, or daily lives?
  • Mind control: Do people have the freedom to think for themselves?
  • Politics: Have conditions pushed the world in the direction of far-right fascism, wild anarchism, or opulent anything-goes liberalism? Or has politics been superseded altogether in the presence of giant brain eating cockroaches?
  • Technology: Have we become more dependent on technology, or has it become useless? How does technology shape the experience of our everyday lives?
  • Environment: Have changes in the environment forced us to live in Hazmat suits, or are we all living in brain-wired fantasies of  infinite pleasure?
  • Gender roles: Has the gender power balance shifted, drastically or less so, in one direction or another? 
  • Food, water, shelter: Has basic survival become an everyday struggle, or is the entire planet undergoing an obesity epidemic the likes of which we’d never have imagined?
  • Post-humanity: Are humans still “on top,” or is the planet now ruled by monkeys, robots, or *gasp* monkey robots?

Remember that beyond the deep dive gloom of it all, dystopian fiction is very often a commentary on the present, or an examination of the things we’d hate most to lose. If you’re still struggling, think about the things you’re most attached to, and how modern life might threaten to take them away.

Bring the darkness and woe to the comments, or, as ever, tag those black-hearted puppies of doom with DPChallenge.

Header image based on “visitor” by BisForBabb, CC-BY-2.0.

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  1. This is really good. I will read as many of these as I can when they come out! Unfortunately, with my work schedule this week, I don’t think I can make it to the deadline. :-(

  2. Hi
    I am new around here-so I have a pretty basic question (sorry): when do the posts have to be submitted by? Is it Sunday night-because its a weekly challenge, or is it before the Friday the week the challenge is made?

    1. I am not sure but I guess before Friday as I saw they put the best post on Friday freshly pressed.
      Hope my you find my reply helpful but in my advice try to submit your post as soon as possible

    1. Exciting/scary stuff – if you likie 1984 you should read WE by Zamyatin and Brave New World by Huxley – WE was written in about 1919, and was banned in the USSR until about 1988. It was a formative influence on 1984. Brave New World is a much softer, more consumerist version of totalitarianism, all good reads…

      1. Agree totally with those selections, and also Anthem by Ayn Rand and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. And watch THX1138 and also Equilibrium. And listen to 2112. All remarkable and yet at their roots they’re replicas of We. A man (a good tool of the state) is led astray by a rebellious woman (or in the case of 2112, a guitar) and comes to question his place in that state.

  3. Here’s my effort: http://donotgetsickinthesinkplease.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/dp-challenge-welcome-to-the-committee/

    My piece is partially inspired by this bit of information: there is currently enough sperm banked around the world for the human race to continue on a good long while without anyone ever having sex.  I wrote about that fact in the post Is Sex Necessary? and got to wondering what we would do with the time and energy we currently expend trying to have sex (all the primping and preening, and working hard to buy fancy cars and clothes, etc.) if we suddenly didn’t need to anymore. Considering what I wrote here, it seems we would spend our time manufacturing XL-487s and chewing pencils  . . .

  4. SoundEagle falls into a deep coma and awakes in a future where cultures and institutions have seemingly been restructured as vehicles of liberation rather than restraint. Instead of wallowing in the modernist legacy of seeing things in strict duality (such as good versus bad, and black versus white) and insisting on the authenticity of experience, many aspects of sociocultural activities are now associated with the pursuit of rampant pleasure and unrestrained enjoyment.

    Dystopia?!

    Read more at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/facing-the-noise-music-playgrounds-for-biophobic-citizens/

    1. It is by sheer chance or due to uncanny felicity that SoundEagle’s two successive entries into the Writing Challenges “Image vs. Text” and “Dystopia!” are identical in the order of appearance: the 39th in their respective chronological listings of Trackbacks & Pingbacks!

    2. Appended a paragraph:

      Being the only “mature specimen” alive, SoundEagle is ironically spared the compulsory “rendition” on account of extreme rarity, and is allowed to be preserved for novelty as well as a “living fossil” possesing cultural and biological uniqueness from a bygone era.

      Also added another image, which concerns Transhuman, Posthuman, Neurotechnology, Neuroengineering, Neural Networks, Neuroscience, Memory Transplant, Augmentation and Reprogramming.

54 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More