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Writing the future

The truth in dystopian fiction comes from hard facts combined with imagination and creativity - just like good business writing. Read our top five articles on the genre.


From Thomas More’s Utopia and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, through to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, via Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and countless other tales of worlds not so far away from our own, there are many works of fiction and film that reflect on our hopes and fears for the human condition.

Much speculative and science fiction finds roots in hard science, be that physics, genetics, microbiology or technology. Through this, authors are able to build worlds that can often seem almost familiar – or at least, not unimaginable. And there are many works of fiction that have included predictions for the future that have come true – think mass media, surveillance, video calls, anti-depressants, genetic engineering, electric cars… We have landed on the moon, and space tourism is under development.

Where hard science, imagination and creativity mix, it’s possible that by putting ideas “out there”, into our collective consciousness, writers may somehow help to make their predictions self-fulfilling. Using imagination and creativity to put forward any vision is a highly effective means of communicating and embedding an idea – and this is why flex takes this approach in its storytelling for business. Imagination and creativity in business writing and design helps to build a shared vision and collective understanding.

You can find out more on how we think dystopian and speculative fiction connects with the modern world in our blog post ‘Science Fiction, Science Fact’. And if you’re interested in delving a little deeper into dystopia, here are my top five reads (and watches) on the genre.

1. How to recognize a dystopia: an animated introduction to dystopian fiction Ever wondered where the concept of dystopia came from, and how closely dystopian fiction and film reflect contemporary concerns? This five-minute Ted Ed animation explains.

fantasy future city

2. The rise of dystopian fiction: from Soviet dissidents to '70s paranoia to Murukami – The development of fictional dystopias, through the 20th century and into the Millennium.

monitors with large eye

Author Naomi Alderman on the history of speculative fiction by feminist authors, including Ursula Le Guinn, Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood.

Ursula Le Guinn, Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood

4. Orwell vs Huxley vs Zamyatin: Who would win in a dystopian fiction contest? Author Rajat Chaudhuri on Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four - and which comes closest to the world we live in today.

Book covers: We, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Brave New World

5. The architecture of evil: dystopian megacorps in speculative fiction films Even the beautifully landscaped campus of the corporate giant in Dave Eggers' The Circle has architecture that fits the dystopian mould.


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