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The Novel Where You Are the Hero

Some other individuals got together in order to make these visions of possible Utopias more accessible and more popular. Among them manga artists, sci-fi writers, computer-freaks, creators of computer games. They talked about many things in a forum on the Web called “Utopias Unlimited.” To make their scenarios as realistic as possible, they tried acting out the roles of the various antagonists : some had fun playing the part of the capitalists while others played the revolutionaries, then they switched roles. They tried to make the capitalists as clever as possible to put their scenarios to the test. Like players in a role-game.

Several projects emerged.

One was a “novel-where-you-are-the-hero,” a genre of juvenile literature where the reader imagines her/himself a detective, an explorer or a spy and has various adventures. These novels give the reader-hero choices at the end of each little chapter, for example “Enter the Black Cave” or “Climb over the Iron Mountain.”

These little illustrated stories were amusing and instructive. Later they became more widely disseminated via CDRoms, DVD’s and Internet sites, with more choices and richer graphics. They had a certain success, were translated into several languages, and were even sold in pirated editions made in Asia (which their anti-capitalist “owners” found rather amusing).

The efforts of certain governments to censor and seize these subversive “novels-where-you-are-the-hero” created great free publicity, especially among the young. People read them out of curiosity, out of defiance, out of love for science-fiction. They became a kind of cult in high schools and colleges. On every continent, visions of a possible alternative intrigued a whole segment of the younger generation and not a few adult readers. Soon there were imitations with other plots, other solutions, other visions, more or less artistic, more or less successful, more or less commercialized.

Popular “Sci-Fi” utopian fictions about livable, sustainable, egalitarian and democratic future societies were proliferating in graphic novels, TV series and films, providing concrete images of a better world worth fighting for. A number of veteran Marxists, anarchists and other radicals on three continents formed an “international study group and collective writing project” produced one such novel, “Then and Now,” comparing the world of capitalism's death-spiral with the better world of the future. Their idea was to pretend to be future historians “looking backwards” from a thriving 22nd century ecotopian world, and try to explain, based on realistic social, historical evidence, how the planet got to this happy solution from the catastrophic world of the early 21st century. Their graphic novel, “Mutiny on Starship Earth” challenged the accepted Anthropocene theories that technology, which had created the problem of climate catastrophe, could solve it – even under capitalism. This myth of a 'techno-fix' was convenient for carbon-invested capitalists, who could then continue profiting from their oil and coal, and it also seduced self-described Leftists who were unable to envision the emergence of self-organized masses of humans capable of overwhelming the destructive, dying world system, and bringing forth a better world based on cooperation and sustainablity.

The Computer Game

youhero.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/20 14:53 by admin