Gimme Shelter Image Credit: WIRED
Gimme Shelter Image Credit: WIRED

Gimme Shelter

Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias.

Cory Doctorow

MY NEW NOVEL, Walkaway, is about a world where the super rich create immortal life-forms (corporations) so effective at automating away labor that the rest of us become surplus resources. The ensuing battle— over whether humanity will finally, permanently speciate into elite transhumans and teeming, climate-wracked refugees—triggers slaughter and persecution. It’s a utopian novel. The difference between utopia and dystopia isn’t how well everything runs. It’s about what happens when everything fails. Here in the nonfictional, disastrous world, we’re about to find out which one we live in. Since Thomas More, utopian projects have focused on describing the perfect state and mapping the route to it. But that’s not an ideology, that’s a daydream. The most perfect society will exist in an imperfect universe, one where the second law of thermodynamics means that everything needs constant winding up and fixing and adjusting. Even if your utopia has tight­a shell service routines, it’s at risk of being smashed by less­well-maintained hazards: passing asteroids, feckless neighboring states, mutating pathogens. If your utopia works well in theory but degenerates into an orgy of cannibalistic violence the first time the lights go out, it is not actually a utopia.

I took inspiration from some of science

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