May 2018
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Stephanie C. Fox


Dystopian Fiction Feels Very Different From Dystopian Nonfiction.

Nineteen Eight-Four by George Orwell.

Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler.

They are both dystopian books.

One is fiction, one is nonfiction.

Reading one is taking in a story with a moral to it – it’s a cautionary tale to learn from.

The same is true of the other.

The problem is that the first one merely makes you think, while the second one makes you ill.

Well…for most people, that is the case.

There are always a few who thrive on the nonfiction brand of dystopian writing, which is why we need the fiction brand of it.

I write the fiction variety. The Nae-Née series is about what can go horridly wrong with the world.

Much of it already has, and now threatens to do so yet more.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a Barnes & Noble store, looking in the political section for some history and biography books, when I struck up a conversation with a random stranger who was holding a copy of Mein Kampf. He told me it was difficult to even flip through because he was so disgusted by it.

I told him I could relate to that sentiment and handed him a business card (my cards have a list of my books on the backs, including the Nae-Née series).

He was intrigued, and happy to contemplate dystopian fiction.

Of course he was.

It’s just a story – in 3 novels – not reality.


Real life is now following the Nazi playbook.

It’s been renamed “Alt-Right” and “Populism”, but it’s the same stuff, so don’t be fooled – populism is fascism. Populism is for authoritarians, for those who prefer to let others define society on their behalf, for those who want sharply defined barriers and controls between each group, and for those who don’t care if most people are miserable and being bullied as long as they are the ones who are comfortable.

Populism/fascism is born out of resource scarcity and a perception that life used to be easier, that resources used to be accessed with less difficulty and fewer barriers, and a resentment that this is no longer so.

Populism/fascism represents a decision to snatch resources away from others by force.

Populism/fascism represents a misconception that it is the angry masses who will benefit from such actions.

Only the wealthy few will benefit, and only briefly, because when the resource war is over, the aggressors will be in alone and in ruins, even dead, with the masses abandoned to their fate.

Just look at the aftermath of Nazi Germany, and the German people.

The Monuments Men and Women, those military members who were curators of museums, founders of ballet troupes, architects, artists, and others who formed the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) units of the Allied Forces, saw this up close.

George L. Stout, an art conservator from Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum who served in the MFAA, wrote: “I felt [their] bitterness, hatred, the way you feel a raw, north gale. Out of curiosity, I kept looking for some kind of feeling in their faces. It always seemed the same. A kind of hate and something like despair – or else a blank.”*

That is the future result of populism/fascism.

Whatever doesn’t suit the Pumpkingropenfuhrer and his staff, they lie about…and call it “alternative fact” hoping that we’ll all be too hoodwinked by linguistic acrobatics to notice.

We’re noticing anyway.

Socrates said that “Tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.”

Video: Viewpoint Does democracy lead to tyranny BBC News ?

Dystopian fiction shows dystopian fact, as does history, but too few read history or dystopian fiction, so they repeat themselves.

Reading and understanding these things are not elitist. They are how we protect ourselves against this repetition.

* Robert M. Edsel, THE MONUMENTS MEN: ALLIED HEROES, NAZI THIEVES, AND THE GREATEST TREASURE HUNT IN HISTORY, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009, pages 320-321.

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