Sample Dystopias


Dome World

You live in a community under a giant Dome. Your entire existence is circumscribed by the soft curve of those great grey walls. The city is lush but orderly, large but not sprawling, and it contains the remnants of the human race. Outside, you are told, is a hellish, irradiated wasteland full of mutant beasts and barely sentient cannibals. No one has even ventured outside the Dome in, oh, ten thousand years. It's a long-term thing, this Dome.

The most popular show on Domevision is called Outerlands. The show traces the story of a group of attractive people who must survive in the world outside the Dome. Currently they're battling against a cannibal encampment called Namerka. One of the actors on the show is a friend of yours from Early School. She tells you that the backgrounds and landscapes are all done on computer and that the show's producer keeps hitting on her, but it's still the best job in the world. Domevision is projected against the Dome and everyone watches it from the windows of their Dome-shaped houses.

When Job Selection day approaches, you hope that the Omnisort will pick you as a cast member on Outerlands. After all, you're different than everyone else - more sensitive, more articulate, more spiritual than your classmates. But you are chosen to work as a Scrubber, one of the lowly labourers assigned to scrubbing the service tunnels underneath the City.

And there you discover a way out. And because of your above mentioned differences, you decide to attempt it. As you engage the vacuum seal on the door, you realize that you may be the first person to see the outside in one hundred centuries.

Outside the Dome, precisely as you have been taught, lies a hellish, irradiated wasteland of mutant beasts and barely sentient cannibals. Desiccated vines cling to rocky outcrops in a parody of life. Pools of diseased water bubble and steam. The air tastes like exhaust.

This sucks, you think. You hurry back inside and never leave the Dome again. Your death years later in the works of the main intake rotor at Substation #5 is regrettable but pretty common.


Same World

In Same World, everything is the same as everything else. You're expected to wear the same clothes, eat the same food, say the same things and think the same thoughts as your fellow citizens. The Lords of Similarity emphasize constantly that this sameness is necessary to keeping society together. In fact, the Lords continue, if it weren't for the necessity of having the Lords around to enforce that sameness, they'd give up the title in a heartbeat and be just like everyone else. But as long as difference threatens to creep back in, they'll continue to be Lords and distinguish themselves by their title, their jumpsuits with the subtle gold piping, and their gigantic windowless skyscraper in the dead center of the city thrusting up into the clouds.

Helplessly, you have become a traitor to Similarity. You think different thoughts, feel different feelings and keep a small box of unusual found objects under your bed. These are treasures to you. Every night you remove the box from its hiding place and contemplate the little objects that you've found over the years - a pink beret, a cloudy blue jewel, a water-damaged paperback book written in an ancient language, and a postcard picture of a woman with a mysterious smile. People are instructed to submit such objects, usually found in The Ruins, to the Ministry of Similarity, whereupon the object will be destroyed and the citizen will be submitted to months of preventative re-education. But you love these objects for reasons that you cannot explain. You only know that they come from The Different Times.

One day you open your box and discover that one of the objects - the smiling woman postcard - is missing. Panicked, you surrender yourself to the Ministry of Similarity. During examination of the box, it is discovered that the postcard has slipped between the pages of the paperback. You are imprisoned, re-educated and released about a year later.

You attempt to return home, but all the houses look the same and it takes forever to find your place.


Municipal Park World

This isn't really a dystopia. You just happen to live in a municipal park. There are public washrooms and showers, a canteen, and even some playground equipment for you to get some exercise on. You have a small camo-patterned tent, which you've pitched in the bushes near the bike path. Best of all, a small petting zoo with a couple of goats and a pot-bellied pig provide you with entertainment and companionship. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, you're living there illegally, for one thing. Plus you frighten local children. It isn't long before a story in the local paper draws unwanted attention to you. Soon, people are coming to spot "The Wildman of Grosvenor Heights Rotary Park." You try to blend in with the crowds, but your grimy clothing and increasingly tangled beard mark you. A university student interviews you, and clips of the Wildman start appearing on YouTube. At some point somebody figures out that you used to be in a grunge band, and old concert footage and t-shirts surge in popularity.

After several months of sustained attention, the police attempt to evict you, but a number of Wildman supporters - many of whom have taken you as a sort of countercultural Occupy mascot - show up to protest. Opposing sides square off. A fight breaks out. You wander out of your tent, ripped all to shit on Gallo Red, and are accidentally shot. You bleed to death as cops and protesters fight over your right to live as you choose.

Later your corpse is discovered and a wave of anger breaks over the city. The police station is firebombed. City Hall is occupied. Property is seized.

It is the beginning of the Revolution.

The goats and pot-bellied pig escape their neglected enclosure and are never seen again.