Thursday, March 22, 2012

More on Hunger Games

Isn't it funny how, when you start to pick at a pesky scab, it comes off and real blood flows? Today I've been thinking about Hunger Games, since I suppose some throng of ritual-murder re-enactors is going to descend on movie houses tonight.

In the previous post I mused about the dystopian society that uses a pageant of teenagers slaughtering each other as entertainment. Namely, wouldn't such a society be ripe for picking off by rival nations? (Or, wouldn't its citizens rise up with the help of some sympathetic place like, say, France?)

Today, while busting my brains teaching, another thought occurred to me. There's a huge disconnect in this imaginary society between the technology in the Capitol and the process of energy extraction in "District 12," i.e., Appalachia.

When you think about how dystopian our treatment of the Appalachian Mountains is today, with mountaintop removal mining (MTR) and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and when you think how few jobs these so-called "industries" actually produce over the long haul, why would there even be a District 12 to begin with? A concentration of technology in the hands of a few heartless individuals would surely leave Appalachia looking like a moonscape even in the here and now. The technology on display in this novel begs the philosophical question of why mining techniques would be so primitive, allowing for a populace large enough to rebel. And fences that can be crawled under in the same world with camera implants? Why wouldn't every child be implanted with a camera? There wouldn't be as many to take the implants if the future society used MTR and fracking for its power.

Now, I betcha the AppalLit folks will pick this one up!

Imagining a dystopian future is extremely difficult. Look at that old war horse The Road Warrior. All these bad guys driving around the Australian desert in their modified vehicles. Where does the gas come from that the bad guys are using? They're trying to get someone else's, but they don't seem to need it much. Nor do they have a supply depot. Doesn't look like there's much water in that landscape either. Big leap of faith, folks. Big leap of faith.

Imagine for a moment that the world nearly came to an end, and 90 percent of the human race was wiped clean off the face of the Earth. Suddenly there would be 1,000 people in Snobville, 300,000 or less in the whole Philadelphia metropolitan area.

What do you think? Would we see cooperation, or competition? Would every person have value? More value than now?

Maybe what we really need is a cataclysm. Perhaps it would lead to a brighter future.

This post brought to you by the gal whose novel was deemed a suitable table covering for a particularly greasy fish fry. Enjoy the show!


Christina McPants said...

Side note: It's a locator chip, not unlike how you microchip your pets. It gives location, not video feed. The video is, I assume, around and above the Tributes, Truman Show style. But yes, that's a very very good point.

Maebius said...

I'm reminded of the book "Dies hte Fire" which is a diturbingly realistic (to my suspension of Disbelief) bit of fiction about Post-apocolyptic Distopias.
In it, techniology and gas and gunpowder just Stops Working.

The survivors wind up being the p[agan "craft" folks, the S.C.A. reenactors (who turn out as an evil tyrant gang), and a few other groups. Interesting read!

Lori F - MN said...

"Imagine for a moment that the world nearly came to an end"
well, fortunately that will be happening in December. Problem solved.

Lavanah said...

Some of us are still waiting for your novel...even if we have to read it in samizdat form.


I never heard of the hunger games till the past 2 weeks..and hope to never hear about them again

Anonymous said...

All this talk is making me hungry.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Those greasy fried fish should be HONOURED to lie on your novel's pages!

Anonymous said...

I was taught in anthropology class that very poor hunter-gatherer societies cooperate, while when they get "rich" enough to hoard, they become competitive. Groups that know they will need each other to survive, cooperate. When they think they don't need anyone else, they stop cooperating. (do you suppose that's why the brainwashers on the Right are pushing the idea that they don't need anyone, they have done everything without help?)

Alex Pendragon said...

Humans have shown that they are capable of doing whatever is required to survive, but if mere survival is the benchmark by which an "advanced" species is measured, then I would just as soon Gaia write this one off and limit her losses.

We almost had it right with the music, art, and philosophy thing. To bad that all gets buried by our brutal pragmatism that doesn't seem to be able to grasp the logic of sustainability.