Since everyone figured the world would end in 2012, what did writers and directors care if their 2019 predictions were incorrect? Clearly, the logic was this: if everyone’s dead in the Mayan apocalypse, no one can tell us that vampires DON’T farm humans for blood in the year 2019.
However, now that we’re in 2019, we can definitively say there’s been a delightful lack of blood farming, but that doesn’t actually mean this year won’t be apocalyptic. (After all, there was also no blood farming in 2018, which is about the only good thing we can say for it.) These four futuristic worlds got a lot wrong about 2019—that is, unless some serious shit goes down:
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Katsuhiro Otomo‘s 1982 manga Akira, as well as its groundbreaking 1988 adaptation, depicts a colorful yet violent futuristic Tokyo in the distant aftermath of nuclear conflict. Set in 2019, the city has recovered mostly in the sense that everyone isn’t dead of radiation poisoning. The government is deeply corrupt, and gang violence prevails. While of course the world is substantially more violent, this isn’t true of Japan-Japan actually has fewer violent crimes in modern times than it did in the 80s. Given that the nation typically has fewer than ten gun deaths per year and one of the lowest murder rates in the entire world, this vision of the future has not yet come to pass. While the lack of aggressive Japanese biker gangs is probably a good thing… we’re a little disappointed there’s no telekinesis.
2. The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys & Danger Days
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Killjoys, make some noise—even if the noise is distressed yelling. My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way‘s comic series, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, tells the story of the concept album Danger Days. Set in the California desert, a ragtag group of rebels tries to stop a totalitarian corporation… and fails? As Better Life Industries exerts increasing control over peoples’ lives, the rebellion simmers into nothing in the desert heat, and only the most mysterious surviving Killjoy can do something about it. The album takes place in 2019, while the comics take place a short while later. This is the most realistic of the dystopian futures—evil corporations aren’t exactly a stretch. But even the more futuristic elements—think laser guns and robot prostitutes—are less wild than you think. In 2018, China declared that it had invented an actual laser gun, though it’s uncertain whether or not this is true. And a sex robot brothel has actually already opened, though it was closed down two weeks afterwards.
3. The Island & Spares
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Michael Bay‘s 2005 movie The Island, believed to be loosely based on the M. M. Smith novel Spares, features a world that seems too contaminated to inhabit. Survivors of an unnamed disaster live in a grim compound, knowing they may never see the outside world. They have only one chance at freedom—a lottery which sends the winners to survive on the island. Does this premise sound flimsy? That’s because it is. An evil corporation has lied about the contamination in order to farm the survivors’ organs. And they’re not survivors either-instead, they’re generations of clones born to be harvested. While evil corporations really are behind pretty much everything, they haven’t grown thousands of clones to force into pregnancy for them… yet.
4. Blade Runner & Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
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Ridley Scott‘s 1982 film Blade Runner, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is famously set in 2019—so famously, in fact, that My Chemical Romance set Danger Days in the same year as a reference. In futuristic Los Angeles, mercenaries hunt and kill bioengineered beings called ‘replicants,’ some of whom believe themselves to be human. The city is devoid of nature, with artificial animals standing in for their extinct predecessors. While there’s no direct discussion of environmental destruction, the complete absence of nature is more subtly chilling. The world is subject to heavy corporate influence and an invasive, omnipresent police force—details which seem more relevant to 2019 than robot murder and animatronic squirrels. (Just kidding; robots will probably become human soon.)
And though it isn’t based on a book, the movie Daybreakersis also set in the year 2019. After vampires take over the government, a blood scientist discovers that… surprise! Blood comes from harvested humans who live in a horrible factory compound and have their organs stolen. Let’s not make 2019 the year of organ harvesting if we can help it.
Just recently Bookstr had the pleasure of interviewing Joey Graceffa, the YouTube sensation, actor, singer, producer, and, last but not least, author! The multi-talented Youtuber sat down with us to answer a few fan questions and discuss his brand new book, Rebels of Eden: A Novel!
Image Via Amazon
His complete new trilogy takes place in a thrilling dystopian setting with detailed characters. With a YouTube following of 8.9 million, it’s no wonder he has so many fans. He loves all the books that we love!
Image Via Superfame
Graceffa revealed that he was inspired to enter the realm of fiction thanks to books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Maze Runner by William Dashner. Both series had such a creative impacted on him, he says it’s like they transported him to another world.
He’s even a Potterhead like many of us! He explains how His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series inspired him to read so much. Graceffa went on to call Rowling an incredible role builder!
For more of Graceffa’s interview, check out the Bookster video below!
For as long as we have been granted freedoms, there have been people fighting to take those freedoms away; this is the most human of cycles. There has never been (and will likely never be, at least not right now) a time when people haven’t had to stand up against the systemic and societal oppression they’ve been forced to deal with everyday.
We’ve been warned about what can happen when we allow ourselves to stop caring about the state of the world and the other people inhabiting it by authors since the beginning of time; the entire dystopian genre is centered around it. So, don’t allow yourself to grow sedentary but also don’t grow too fearful; for as many greedy, selfish, oppressive, bad figureheads there are in existence, there are way, way more of us who really do care and move with empathy while fighting for a world of genuine equality.
So, take a look at these thirteen quotes from dystopian novels and give yourself that extra push you may need to keep marching forward!
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
“Every faction conditions it’s members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that, no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” Veronica Roth, Divergent
“Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell, 1984
“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
“Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.” Lois Lowry, The Giver
“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” David Mitchell,Cloud Atlas
“Tell freedom I said hello.” Lauren DeStefano, Wither
“But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave
The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale officially kicked off this week, premiering the first two episodes of the season. Fans have been awaiting the second season with excitement and apprehension, and the series definitely delivered. In between drama-filled chaos and silent moments filled with tension, here’s what you need to know.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
1. A hell of an opening scene
The first episode picked up right where season one’s finale left off. June has been swept away by armed guards with little (i.e. absolute zero) explanation. We watched as she was transported to an abandoned sports stadium where she found familiar faces of the handmaids who rallied alongside her against Aunt Lydia in the finale of last season. The grounds were swept with chaos as the handmaids were rallied up like pigs at a slaughter house and hung in a line of nooses, set-up on multiple platforms.
To say it was a shocking scene filled with anxiety (for both the characters and audiences watching at home) would be an understatement. Though it appeared that at least one of the platforms would give way, in the end it was simply an intimidation tactic meant to rid the handmaids of any resistance they still clung onto. The incredibly anxiety-inducing scene held one clear message: remind yourself who is actually in control.
2. June’s pregnancy was revealed
While June’s pregnancy was revealed to a number of characters on-screen (and audiences watching) last season, the second season premiere revealed her pregnancy to Aunt Lydia and the rest of the handmaid’s. But if you thought June’s pregnancy might give her some leverage, think again.
The little control June has over her body will soon be swept away by Aunt Lydia, as one scene clearly showed. When June ignored Aunt Lydia’s insistence to eat (once more showing her rebellious behavior), the former introduced her to another pregnant handmaid who also tried to rebel by drinking drain cleaner and ended up finding herself chained up and in isolation. If this threat to obey wasn’t enough, June’s pregnancy has already set her apart from the other handmaids. The handmaids’ punishment for Ofwarren’s failed stoning continues, the relaxed treatment June will receive will most likely result in some resentment from the other women.
3. June was freed
Luckily for June, her concern for Aunt Lydia’s tyrannical treatment and potential resentment from her handmaids-in-arms has been put on the back burner. While at a doctors office for an ultrasound appointment (one in which the commander and his wife made an appearance for the first time), June was briefly left alone and used a key given by a guard to escape.
After anxiously making her way down a series of dark halls, she was able to climb aboard a truck, which transported her to a safe location (which we’ll talk about more in a minute). As she was briefly reunited with Nick i.e. her baby daddy, it was revealed that her escape was due to his protection.
4. We finally saw the colonies
Season one contained multiple references to “the Colonies,” a polluted area filled with radioactive waste. There was a clear message that the Colonies was much worse than abusive households in which the handmaid’s served. This season finally showed us why.
The references of the colonies pale in comparison to the obvious physical effects experienced by the handmaids who have been exiled to the wastelands including one Emily who we last saw witnessing the death of her partner, attempting to flee (and driving over a guard), and undergoing female castration. Apparently the Colonies are worse than castrastion, judging by the continious coughing the women experience, fingernails breaking off from the acidity of the radioactive soil, nausea and even worse: the mental isolation and feelings of hopeless they are strapped in.
5. Janine’s status was revealed
The last we saw of Janine, also known as Ofwarren, she had thrown herself off of a bridge in a suicide attempt after a failed attempt to flee with her child. Though we briefly saw her afterwards recovering in a bed monitored by Aunt Lydia, I think we all knew she would stay there forever. And we were right.
Audiences watched as Janine exited a van and was dropped off in the Colonies where she quickly came face-to-face with Emily. Janine was quickly hauled off by a guard, but not before having the chance to share a brief hug with Emily. Though Janine didn’t play a major part in episode one or two, her status is pretty significant. For one, audiences now know she is somewhat safe i.e. alive. Also, her close proximity to Emily may be beneficial to both of them since they share a familiarity. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it means there is one more resistant handmaid still in the game. Although the consequences of resisting the laws are clearly not easy to rectify, the chances of a revolt are higher if more than one handmaid is fed up. Therefore Emily and Janine living in close proximity may be a hopeful sign.
6. June’s freedom came at a price
Thanks to Nick, June found sanctuary at an abandoned newspaper company – The Boston Globe to be exact. While the empty building offered the illusion of protection (and to some degree delivered on that front), the isolation and uncertainty attached signaled the inability to escape restraints.
June’s assumption that she’d be reunited with her husband (and somehow rescue her daughter inconspicuously beforehand) was quickly proven to be unrealistic. I think for audiences it also offered a reality check as I for one gave it to the unrealistic idea that June would have a happy ending ASAP and as the show proves once again, don’t underestimate the restraints holding the handmaid’s in place.
7. June and Nick hooked up…a lot.
While June was largely left alone to wander the abandoned building while waiting to be moved, she had brief moments of reunion with Nick who routinely checked in on her. In between acknowledging the lack of humanity of her situation, June found release in Nick. Through sex.
Why is this important? Considering the characters live in a reality in which their true selves are hidden behind masks in order to abide by society’s rules, these brief moments of genuine human connection show that humanity isn’t lost after all. In addition, the growing bond between June and Nick, even if sexual rather than romantic, may be just enough display of humanity to keep both characters pushing towards freedom i.e. it prevents them from fully giving in to their oppression.
8. We get a glimpse into Emily’s backstory
Through flashbacks, audiences find out more about Emily’s life before everything went to shit. We found out that Emily used to be a Biology professor at a university, however after her sexuality is revealed, the university forces her to forgo teaching and focus on lab work instead.
Her sexuality plays a significant role in how she got to where she now finds herself. While the series has previously hinted at the persecution LGBT characters have faced, the death of Emily’s gay colleague (who was hung with the F-word written underneath his body) drove the message even further that these characters face an entirely new type of hell in the world of Gilead. We also find out that Emily was quite close to fleeing Gilead, however after her marriage was null and voi,d due to the law and after her fertility was revealed, she was prevented from leaving. Though her wife and their son (assumingly) made it out, the fact that Emily’s sexuality in addition to fertility kept her back speaks volumes.
9. Emily killed a commander’s wife. Yup, you read that right.
In a first for the series, audiences watched as a commander’s wife was treated the same as a handmaid after one wife was exiled to the Colonies. While we didn’t quit know why she was there (I suspect she tried to hurt a baby or a handmaid, but tell us your theories!), in the end the crime didn’t seem to matter.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the handmaids who lived alongside the commander’s wife in the Colonies were unsympathetic to her backstory. As Emily later put it, the fact that the wife failed to protect her own handmaid against rape makes her just as complicit as the commanders. Though Emily briefly helped the woman by offering medical advice (as her background in biology helped her assume the role as a sort-of-medic) along with medicinal pills to alleviate the effects of the radioactive soil, her true intentions were soon revealed when the pills she offered ended up slowly killing the woman. The death of the commander’s wife both illustrated the extent of suffering the handmaids have faced and also validated the unity between the women (as they share the same distain towards those who harm them).
10. The fate of journalists was revealed and it was horrifying
As we mentioned earlier, June found sanctuary in a building home to the abandoned offices of The Boston Globe. We followed alongside June as she walked through the eerie halls and rummaged through office cubicles filled with mementos of human life that no longer existed. From family pictures still hung up on cubicle walls to a dvd of Friends laying on a desk, we were reminded of reality, one that has no place in the current day Gilead.
In a more disturbing twist, the fate of those who once filled the void was revealed, and it was shocking. After finding a long heel in one cubicle June quickly thereafter finds the matching heel in front of a basement wall that was used as a site of execution. Bullet holes and blood stains cover the wall, remains from a firing squad, and it becomes apparent that the journalists who had previously occupied the offices were most likely shot and killed.
My theory is that the Gilead government must have taken offense with any sort of resistance preached by The Boston Globe and executed the journalists. If true, then the reality of their fate is horrifying given that it signals the loss of freedom, both in action and in speech.
Though many lost their right to protest, hopefully this season will continue to explore the handmaid’s stride to regain their voice.
Feminist dystopian literature is nothing new. Magaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale may have spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list last year, but it was originally published in 1985. That being said, you might have noticed an uptick in the number of feminist dystopian novels being published over the past year. So get your hands on one of these four if you’re looking to indulge in some interesting new takes on a perennial theme.
Cedar lives in a world where evolution is moving backwards. When she is four months pregnant, she embarks on a journey to find her birth mother. Unfortunately, as she searches, she has to protect herself and her child from a government that is trying to hunt down pregnant women. It’ll take everything she’s got to keep them safe, and you’ll be filled with anxiety hoping she can hold out long enough.
Janey is a seventeen-year-old girl living on an island where the women’s only purpose is as wives and mothers. When they are no longer useful, they die. Life continues as always until little Caitlin Jacob sees something she was never meant to see. Following this, Janey wants to know the truth behind the island, and in her desperation to escape her fate, she tries to lead a whole group of girls into an uprising along with her. The question is whether or not that will actually work.
This novel tells the story of the lives of five women in a small town in Oregon. The problem is that in-vitro fertilization is banned and abortion illegal. Fertilized eggs have constitutional rights at conception. You’ll have to read the book to discover how they find control over their lives even within the confines of the law. And don’t doubt that they will.
There’s a debate as to whether this is a feminist dystopia or not. In her article for The Guardian, she writes, “Nothing happens to men in the novel – I explain carefully to interviewers – that is not happening to a woman in our world today. So is it dystopian? Well. Only if you’re a man.” That aside, the novel is still feminist in the sense that it is built on the simple premise of a world where women, instead of men, are more powerful.