1933 for example amabel williams ellis follows huxley

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(1933), for example, Amabel Williams-ellis follows Huxley in warning of the dystopian potential of capitalism, but she specifically imagines a Britain in which the worst tendencies of the early 1930s have continued to develop, producing a grim, authoritarian, and im- poverished (though in many ways technologically advanced) society. In the United States, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here (1935) warns that contemporary fear of communism might push America to- ward fascism. Such antifascist cautionary tales were particularly prom- inent in Great Britain in the 1930s, including Storm Jameson’s In the Second Year (1936), Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night (1937), and ruthven Todd’s Over the Mountain (1939). This tradition, especially Burdekin’s text, helped to set the stage for Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four , which has been important background to virtually every dystopian text since, including the work of Anthony Burgess, who, in works such as A Clockwork Orange (1962) and The Wanting Seed (1962), was clearly influenced by orwell. particularly important in British dystopian fiction is the series of novels written by John Brunner, beginning with Stand on Zanzibar (1968) and extending through The Jagged Orbit (1969), The Sheep Look Up (1972), and The Shockwave Rider (1975). Of these, The Jagged Orbit focuses on rac- ism and the criminalistic tendencies of the military-industrial complex, Dystopia.indd 9 9/17/2012 9:38:48 AM
Critical Insights 10 while The Shockwave Rider focuses on the impact of a worldwide communications explosion, in many ways anticipating the later phe- nomenon of cyberpunk science fiction, a movement that has itself shown considerable dystopian leanings. in the United States, Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano (1952) respond- ed to certain specific American anxieties of the early 1950s, especially the fear that automation was beginning to make human labor obso- lete, while at the same time turning people into machinelike autom- atons living thoroughly scripted, regulated lives. Ray Bradbury fol- lowed soon after with Fahrenheit 451 (1953), wherein an oppressive state employs teams of “firemen” whose job it is to seek out and burn books, which are strictly forbidden in this society. Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! (1966), meanwhile, resembles The Want- ing Seed and Stand on Zanzibar in focusing on the social and political problems that might arise from overpopulation. Harrison’s novel, how- ever, is probably most important as the basis for a 1973 film adapta - tion, Soylent Green ; this film was typical of the dystopian turn taken by American science-fiction film in the early 1970s, with such films as Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange (1971), George Lucas’s THX-1138 (1971), douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running (1972), Norman Jewison’s Rollerball (1975), and Michael Anderson’s Logan’s Run (1976) all exploring dystopian themes. Films such as Blade Run- ner (1982), Total Recall (1990), The Matrix (1999), Minority Report (2002), Equilibrium (2002), V for Vendetta (2006), Children of Men (2006), and Never Let Me Go (2010) have extended the genre of dysto- pian film into the twenty-first century.

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