Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dystopian Reader Views - What would you miss the most?

A few months ago, I was watching a season one episode of the the TV series DOLLHOUSE (very dystopian by the way - check it out) in which we jump to a future date in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. The characters happen upon the dollhouse (which was designed as a self-contained building underground) and discover not only does everything work, there are even hot showers.  This is too much for one of the characters to resist and she indulges, with predictably dire consequences.

That of course got me thinking that if I were her, I probably would've done the same thing.  Because long, hot showers are something I'd miss very much if I lived in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic world (unless, of course, I lived in one where you still could take hot showers, but I digress...)

I asked my dystopian reader panel what things they'd miss the most.

Diana Peterfreund said
I think that depends on what kind of post-apocalyptic world you're talking about. If I lived in the world of UGLIES, I'd probably be a bubble head, so I wouldn't miss much. (Though if I lived in the world of EXTRAS, I'd probably miss any ability to maintain my privacy!) If I lived in THE ROAD, um, I'd miss food, sunlight, my home, you name it! In the world of the Hunger Games, I suppose it would depends if I lived in the Capitol or not (and general freedom, of course). In Farenheit, I'd miss BOOKS! And so on...

Swapna Krishna said
Blogging! and being able to cook meat without having to catch/kill/skin animals. That would really be a bummer.

@marie_linda said
Electricity. I don't think I can live without an ice-cold water and the air conditioning. Those two things are a must when you live in the Caribbean and the temperature sometimes can be 100 degrees.

Julie said
I would miss having my favorite things all around me. I would imagine that life would be very simple as in this example below from THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson:  "There is not much to clean. My room is still sparse. "It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest, " I say to the walls. I amuse myself with my cleverness. I run a cloth over my desk and chair and I am done." pg. 192

Jen Arnold said
I can’t say that I would miss safety or predictability, because a lot of dystopian lit has more ritual, safety, safeguards than our world does now. I would probably miss being able to read dystopian fiction in that oblivious, fantasy way that we all do now...I don’t know if this genre would be quite as enjoyable if one of these stories came true!

Anna Horner said
Easy access to food, my freedom, and books. I suppose when you're fighting to survive, there's not much free time for reading.

Heather Figearo said
Well, if I lived in the world that the characters of NEVER LET ME GO live in, I would probably miss all the freedoms big and small of a normal life. I would probably be trained to be docile and uncomplaining, but I think some part of me, like the main character, would miss those things deep inside and not be able to explain them.

Amy Riley said
Air conditioning. Clean water. Ice for my diet coke. Getting around in my car.

Emily Ellsworth said
Chocolate Chips (from LIFE AS WE KNEW IT). There is a very poignant scene where Miranda eats all the chocolate chips in the pantry just because she is so sick of rationing food. It was a real turning point for her character. I know I’d miss chocolate and probably sugar in general. Other things I’d miss include: soap, toothpaste, ice cream, toilet paper, and pencils.

Amy H. Sturgis said
I don't know if this counts as a little thing, but I'd miss most of all having my personal space. Whether privacy's gone because Big Brother is keeping me under surveillance (1984), or because the world is vastly overcrowded (MAKE ROOM! MAKE ROOM!), or because the audience is watching my life like a reality show (SURVIVING ANTARTICA: REALITY TV 2083), I would miss terribly the opportunity to be truly by myself.  Oh yes - and toilet paper, shampoo, and soap! (Susan Beth Pfeffer's novels make me want to hoard all those bathroom items in vast quantities.)

Heather Trese said
It's hard to say, because every post-apocalyptic world is different. If chocolate were taken away I'm pretty sure I'd be devastated. The books that are always scariest to me though are the ones that restrict feelings, thoughts, or emotions, etc. And, of course, I would absolutely hate censoring books of any kind (whether all books were wiped out or only certain ones.) But on the other end something I always thought would be kind of fun to have in my house was one of those things that pops out whatever you needed/wanted, like in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. To just be able to describe the event I was going to and have the perfect outfit come out of my wall? OK, maybe that's one part of a post-apocalyptic world I can live with.

So tell us, what would YOU miss the most?


Rebecca Herman said...

It would depend on the type of dystopian! If it was a world after a natural disaster probably electricity, computers, a comfy bed, good food. If it was an ordered, controlled society, probably the freedom to read what I want.

Zibilee said...

Loved these answers, and I have to agree with those who said chocolate!

Meghan said...

I'd miss new books! I'm sure anything a dystopian government managed to publish would be biased and boring. I suppose I'd be fighting for my life, though, so probably I'd really miss quick and easy access to tasty food for refueling.

Ryan said...

I couldn't imagine life without refrigeration. [shudder] And P.S. I just saw that Dollhouse episode about two weeks ago on DVD. It was fantastic!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I'd miss a life of certainty...this is probably specific to most privileged Americans. By certainty, I mean the expectation that I have basic freedoms, that my life will generally be okay, that I will not want for much. I realize that I have it good--I don't want it to go away!

bermudaonion said...

This was fun! I chuckled at Swapna's comment, though. I'm actually listening to a dystopian novel right now - Feed by Mira Grant - and the bloggers have become the must trusted journalists in the world.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Hmmm...I had to think about this. I think what I'd miss the most is what I miss every time there is a big change in my life. The sense that I know what to expect and the comfort of knowing that. I imagine any kind of dystopia or apocalyptic society would not be able to rest peacefully knowing what tomorrow would bring.

Plus, I really like indoor plumbing :)

Stephanie said...

Easy access to dental care! I know that probably sounds weird, but if society collapses, my bad teeth are in serious trouble! (I've actually thought about this a lot. There have been years of my life where I visited the dentist every two weeks. I NEED dental care, lol.)

ahs said...

Terrific responses. How could I have forgotten chocolate? :) I've been having such fun with your posts - I don't want dystopian August to end!

Chotti said...

It would definitely be the little things. I think the biggest thing I would miss is having easy access to people.

Julie G said...

Definitely air conditioning. I'm sure others in the South right now will agree with me on that one!