- 21 August 2012
The following is a guest post by Sci-Fi Bloggers. Sci-Fi Bloggers is an online magazine covering all things science fiction and fantasy: movies, TV, books, video games, comics and more.
When Jimmy Kimmel asked this question on his latenight show, he was specifically asking about the world from the Hunger Games movie and book. But to be honest, it’s a good question. Whether the future sees man hunted by Morlocks ala H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (the 2002 film version is still one of the most underrated films in sci-fi) or working to earn enough time to live another day ala the Justin Timberlake film In Time (this movie can’t be underrated enough really), it never really seems like a place we want to go.
But there is one good thing about the future collapse of society: It apparently won’t be happening for a long time.
The fact that it is the future that we see as cursed could be something of a silver lining. Sci-fi is meant to be creative escapism. We get away from the troubles of our time by reading about the troubles of another. Honestly, put into comparison with a world where teenagers kill each other for the promise of being well-fed for the rest of their lives, the commute to work doesn’t look half bad. We can come to appreciate the world we live in through comparison to one completely out of control. We can breathe easier knowing that we won’t be shipped off to a prison where we are controlled like video game characters to be slaughtered for the entertainment of the masses.
But maybe there’s more than just the sigh of relief we get when we think how normal we are compared to the potentially bizarre future. Maybe it’s all in the ending. Think of the most dystopian societies in Sci-fi. The Hunger Games. Logan’s Run. Alien. Total Recall. The X-men. These worlds are all falling apart so that someone can fix them. The whole point of the stories is that humankind gets a second chance to look at what’s wrong and change it (okay, except for Alien – then we just eject the problem out into space). The appeal of a good sci-fi movie or story that is set in the future is to give us a chance to see that we as human beings have the ability to fix whatever problem comes our way – no matter how much it might suck.