Remember When(sdays) – Dystopian Edition Continues

About a month ago I shared my list of top dystopian fiction that had been both a book and a movie. In the last couple of weeks in between helping with home school needs for the kiddos and regular day to day requirements I found myself diving into a video game that I haven’t played in ages (ages = almost 2 decades in this case … craziness!) – Deus Ex: The Conspiracy.

This game was so popular that it got ported to the Playstation 2 only 2 years after it was released on PC and that’s how I found my way to it. In the last couple of decades it’s had sequels, books, graphic novels, and prequels to expand the lore of the futuristic universe.

This week I want to take a walk down memory lane on the original that hits a lot of familiar chords on what we’re going through right now – maybe we don’t have augmented humans yet (do we?), and sure COVID-19 wasn’t created by a multi-billion dollar corporation (right?), but there was panic in the streets as people were dying of “the gray death”, an illness that resulted in dry coughs that nothing could cure. And any possibility of vaccines were a myth at best – no chance anyone was going to feel better any time soon.

Sure, our real world is different because there isn’t actually conspiracy – although the rich and powerful do seem to have an agenda that doesn’t exactly bode well for all people. Returning things back to normal too soon to save an economy … bad advice for treatments coming from the mouths of officials who we won’t name … but when I played this game and now am working my way through the more recent prequels it makes me realize that no matter where we look we will see things that scare us. And that emotional pull makes for good stories.

Consider 1984 or Brave New World that have been heralded as near prophetic fiction – it’s eerie to consider that there are minds that can tap into story ideas that might just be our future. Heck, even Back to the Future Part II has been seen as capable of divining the future with the prediction about the World Series. Sometimes there’s a Nostradamus, and sometimes it’s pure freak luck.

So, while it’s downright spooky to be playing a game that feels a little too close to reality, I remind myself that’s exactly what makes it a good story, and I keep going.

What kind of dystopian (or otherwise) types of stories have you found eerily recounting events you wouldn’t expect the author to be aware of during the time they created it?

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