Alright, so I decided to go "Fuck it" and create a whole 'verse. There's multiple parts to Eutopia, multiple storylines.
- The Transhuman Be-In: A Brief History of the Moddies
- The Ultraterrestrial Mythos
- Mother Meki
- The Dark Things
The gist behind Eutopia is that there will be great changes in the near future. Radical changes. Changes of the likes we have never known before. How will we respond to these changes?
Chances are: same as we always have. And thus, little will change unless we actually enact that change ourselves. And even then, what do you expect will happen? Same things as ever.
Humans will hume.
Futuristic realism/slice of tomorrow will also be my guiding principle. In fact, it was thinking about futuristic realism that got me interested in writing a eutopian series. I realized that things could get better, and generally are trending towards a positive future.
So let's imagine what a positive future would be like.
I initially wanted to write a utopian series of stories, with a futuristic realist bent.
But wait! Futuristic realism is a genre that mixes science fiction with literary/realistic fiction. Anyone who has ever encountered the literati knows that literary fiction is about as anti-utopian as you can get. Any why? Because literary fiction is centered around the human condition. The human condition is based around our interactions with this unpredictable world. Even if you created a utopia, it could never remain utopian.
I wrote in my journal/diary about this the other day.
Utopias are constructed.
Eutopias and dystopias happen.
What does that mean? Long story— consider this: whenever you come across utopian fiction, what is it almost always about? It's about how the utopia goes wrong. The conflict in them revolves around someone rejecting some dehumanizing aspect of a utopia, wanting to experience something else. And if they get their wish, the whole utopian society collapses. Those that aren't centered around this tend to be conflict-less stories (there are utopian poems, but not really utopian stories). I'm sure someone out there can write an engaging story set in a utopian society where the excitement derives from watching butterflies and riding balloons, but I've never read it. Partially because if a story were written in that setting, I'd immediately note suspicious events like if the main character has no name, has no sense of self, has a commune-approved "family", or is forced to never have a childhood for the sake of working. Just about every utopia has a flaw that undermines its premise— hence why it's called a "utopia." Greek for "No Place."
Whenever you try to create No-Place, you always create Bad-Place— a dystopia.
Utopias can't function with humans. If you dehumanize humans, you defeat the purpose of creating a utopia in the first place. There's no way around it.
Thus, it's impossible for a utopia to just "happen." It has to be constructed. It has to be planned. It must follow certain rules.
Dystopias happen. It's not even very difficult for a dystopia to happen. Dystopias are usually defined by how well society treats the individual and the collective. If the individual is forced to be sacrificed for the collective, the collective is forced to be sacrificed for the individual, and/or both are forced to be sacrificed for some other purpose, you have a dystopia. Ever notice how so many utopias magnify the collective and utterly obliterate the individual? Ever notice how so many utopias are actually dystopias? There's your reason.
However...! What isn't taught in most English classes is that there's actually a third option, what I keep referring to as a "eutopia." Eutopia is Greek for "Good Place". Good-Place and Bad-Place are both possible states; No-Place is not. The biggest reason why we don't tend to use the word 'eutopia' is because it's pronounced the same way as 'utopia' and a lot of people think of them as being the same thing since utopias are described as being good places to live.
The difference between a eutopia and a utopia is if they can actually exist and how they can exist. Right off the bat, utopias disqualify themselves. However, some utopias may not degenerate all the way into a dystopia. When you introduce humans, things still go well. Not as well as you wanted, but society isn't collapsing or under the bootheel of a tyrant. Vast swaths of people aren't crowded into slums. Environmental degradation isn't a big problem, and there's more than enough to go around.
Something strange just happened— the world is alright.
Some might call this a utopia because they don't know better. I say that the difference between these three is "perspective."
Short story— you have to make utopias happen, because they aren't natural. Eutopias and dystopias happen naturally because of human behavior.
We can clearly create peaceful, stable, free, and educated societies. The best example is easily the Scandinavian countries— they are purely eutopian. Very high development, very high wealth, very small underclass, very bright future in general. Iceland is likely going to elect the Pirate Party soon, and the Pirate Party is one of the most technologically savvy political parties out there.
America is generally eutopian, but also borderline dystopian. Surveillance is out the wazoo, the police is being excessively militarized, and the two ruling political parties are basically two wings of the Ministry of Truth, dedicated to making sure we keep up our perpetual war. Nevertheless, human development is high, internet access is extremely widespread and uncensored, cultural norms are shifting towards liberalistic ideals (drug legalization is on the horizon; gay marriage is legal), and it's so easy to become an entrepreneur that even kids can do it. Our shops are full, and there isn't hyperinflation. So you can't say we're definitely one or the other. We're not as good as we could be, but we could also be a whole lot worse.
Like China. China is basically what a Corporate-Run dystopian America would look like, and what's silly about this is that they actually got here through communism. It didn't work out for them at all— their economy crashed hard in the late '60s, and even before that it was one of the poorest nations on Earth— so they liberalized and got much richer. Except state-run enterprises rule over society, and the State controls information coming into and out of China. There's no semblance of net neutrality— they outright block whole search engines, let alone individual sites. Their human rights abuses are very high within their own country, and it's never wise to speak against the regime lest you become an unperson. So China is the opposite of the US— they're generally dystopian, but also borderline eutopian in some places. This is because they actually are improving things, and the whole of society is becoming more and more well off as China becomes wealthier and more influential. The dystopian-blues of smoggy Beijing will soon be history considering how full-steam ahead they are for solar, wind, and nuclear.
But at the end of the day, even if all the world was like Norway or Finland or Iceland, it still wouldn't be "utopian".
Nevertheless, the whole world could be like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, etc. If not the whole world, then at least most of it.
And I wanna write about that. I want to write a science fiction story that is neither utopian nor dystopian. Hence Eutopia. It'll always be teased that there may be undercurrents of a dystopia, but I'm done with overt dystopias. When the time comes to write Twenty Eighty-Four, I'll write it, but that time's not now.