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A critique of the Dystopian novel

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Paul B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. A general overview of how American TV series are produced
  3. Contents of American TV series
  4. A personal point of view
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

The Dystopian novel is a strange subspecies in literature. While it shares many aspects with the traditional science fiction novel, it is rarely categorized with science fiction. Whereas it might satirize the Utopian socialist fantasy of the perfect society, the satire is usually exchanged for righteous anger. The protest novel lurks at the heart of the Dystopian novel. Since the Dystopian novel is out to make an important statement about the world, critics are able to latch onto it like barnacles and deliver the same sermons. Harold Bloom compared 1984 to Orwell's example of the good bad novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, but still succumbed to the siren song of the Dystopian novel that belts out "Listen! We're talking about BIG IMPORTANT ISSUES!" With sadly characteristic arrogance and ignorance, Harold Bloom declares that "Cyberpunk science fiction has nothing to match Huxley's outrageous inventions."(Bloom AWH: BNW 1) Bloom is claiming that genetic engineering, societal encouragement of drug usage and anti-familial birthing chambers are somehow "outrageous" while the staples of cyberpunk ? virtual reality, artificial intelligence that creates programs to imitate voodoo gods, and fragmented communities with their own internal logic? pale compared to such cliches. From this statement alone, one doubts that Harold Bloom has ever heard of Bruce Sterling, William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, much less has read these pioneers of the cyberpunk genre.Harold Bloom is not alone.

[...] Three generations of an egalitarian Israeli army and Margaret Thatcher can never persuade the Patais of the world from this silliness.Daphne Patai is using Swastika Night as a launch pad for her own tedious papers on the dangers of "patriarchy". If Swastika Night wasn't such a boring book, there might be even more critics jumping on the Swastika Night bandwagon, but thankfully, Burdekin wrote a series of tedious little sermons, barely disguised as fiction, and only Daphne Patai found those sermons terribly compelling. [...]


[...] The Dystopian novel is not a novel so much as a sermon dressed up with the barest of fiction. Few Dystopian novels manage to break out of their sermonizing to tell a story that has much value as a fiction. For a Dystopian novel to succeed as art, it must fail as a political sermon. And vice versa. For the purpose of this paper I will discuss Swastika Night in comparison with the two most famous Dystopian novels - Brave New World and 1984 which have managed to reverberate with audiences after their initial success. [...]


[...] In Daphne Patai's introduction to Swastika Night, praises Burdekin's "important critique of what we today call gender ideology and sexual politics."(iii) She then goes on to claim that Burdekin was arguing "that fascism is not qualitatively but only quantitatively different from everyday reality of male dominance"(iv), and that "the sop of gender dominance ensures the co-operations of men who are themselves the victims of domination."(v) She then turns her attention to the pacifist sermons running throughout the book by stating that Alfred: "realises that violence, brutality and physical courage can never make a 'man' but only ageless boys. [...]

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