I stumbled across an interesting blog article from last year’s Thanksgiving. Titled Thankful for the Right to Read: Dystopian Novels about Censorship. It was posted by Emily Kickinson, who is associated with the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Missouri. Given my interest in all things dystopia, Emily talks about the classic stories by Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and mention of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. Censorship is the key theme of these classics. It is a noble premise in our current world where censorship has smeared the literary arts for centuries, and worth reposting.
That said, when I daydream about “what if” scenarios of a future world gone awry, censorship would not be on my list of top five concerns. Most of our modern dystopian tales highlight adequate sustenance and protection from the elements as greatly sought-after commodities. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games certainly takes it to a level where food becomes the carrot of a deadly survival ritual in a society built on fear. I’m a big fan of S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire series, where survivors of a global power outage have to rediscover an agrarian lifestyle without benefit of electricity and engines.
In my latest story of a world devastated by a virus that wipes out 95% of the human population in three short years, mold and decay threatens warehoused foodstuffs supply-chained for billions. Quick-thinking bureaucratic types focus initial efforts in preserving and controlling these stocks. No one goes hungry, provided of course, everyone toes-the-line. Oh, forgot to mention the virus sterilized anyone who survived. In another few decades, humans will disappear from the earth. What would these folks be thankful for? Being alive?
Thankfulness takes on many faces. Our health, the wellbeing of family and friends, roof over our head, enough to eat, freedom from fear and prejudice, to pick the basics. If Thanksgiving survived in a world gone awry, being thankful would undoubtedly be a challenge, but it would have much greater meaning than it does today.
Let’s hope it all remains in story form only. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.