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People should be worried about more young people who are participating in the current political crisis and issues.

Dystopian stories are becoming increasingly popular. That’s true in entertainment: Come to think of movies like “Walking Dead,” “Mad Max,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Maze Runner,” to name just a few. And it’s also valid for how observers and commentators talk about the real world.

That’s a change. Researchers found only five (5) mentions of “dystopian” or “dystopia” in 1985. That number increased dramatically every five (5) years — and that last year, it had shot up to 25,078.

Whether or not these concerns about imminent dystopia are well-grounded, Americans are more connected in dystopian fiction than ever. Mainly in the totalitarian-dystopian novel, set in disturbing and dark alternate worlds such as that of “The Hunger Games,” where downtrodden protagonists and powerful elites violate ethical values and rebel. Dystopian fiction is indeed popular with younger people.

Dystopian fiction makes individuals more willing to justify political violence.

In research, it was found through the apparent proof that dystopian fiction, despite being “make-believe,” heightened individuals’ willingness to justify radical — and incredibly violent — political action against injustice by political elites.

Moreover, dystopian fiction is improbable to trigger viewers and readers to go out in the street and break things. Mass political violence and mobilization are affected by classic factors such as widespread resources, grievances, and opportunity.

Nevertheless, research results suggest that dystopian narratives can increase individuals’ openness to using more radical forms of political action. A proliferation of dark, dystopian narratives may prepare people for more intense confrontations.

What do dystopian fiction authors say about their craft?

Dystopia allows authors to take threads of our current reality and push them to their limits. Authors don’t write dystopian works to escape the real world. They correspond to face it. As one dystopian fiction author said, it’s impossible to block out the real world while writing. “It requires you to be very much in the moment, very present.” 

In the same way, Walter Clark Boutwell, the author of OMAI (Old Men and Infidels), said in much of the world, the average age has fallen to the teens, fully half of the inhabitants are younger than my favorite dress shoes, and the socks to go with them. This is not a grand conspiracy nor an act of war, famine, or pestilence, but due to better food, better infant care, and western intolerance to war.

We are told yearly that American longevity is increasing; it is more notable in many other parts of the world. During the last 70 years, life expectancy has increased in Ghana, for example, from 46 to 71 years. This is also due to better health, reduced violence, more trade, and western affluence. Thus,

The world is getting older and younger. I wrote Old Men and Infidels, Boutwell explains, to explore this phenomenon and how it affects our attitudes to aging, faith, and truth. It is an admittedly American book. American exceptionalism makes us intellectually immune. Were these stories set anywhere else, we Americans might ignore them.

OMAI is about two countries that went opposite in age profile, one retires everyone at forty (never to be seen again), and the other retires no one, despite their life expectancy of double our own. Thus, the Young have no youth, and the Old has no age.

Who is Walter Clark Boutwell?

Walter Clark Boutwell is a gentleman of a certain age who has spent most of his time since he was eighteen-years-old learning to be a physician, practicing his craft, and teaching it to others.

In the middle of his seventh decade, he was seized, as these things will happen to men of a certain age, with the conceit to write. What was initially planned to be a short story, an extensive work for a novice writer, eventually morphed into a two-book and then a three-book series: Old Men and Infidels. He is fascinated by how the narrative of history is forgotten, used, abused, invented, denied, transmitted, warped, and generally dealt with rather shabbily. He lives with his bride of 40+ years (when he is not working and she tolerates him) in rural Alabama near Montgomery. He is a believer, long-distance hiker, climber, traveler, bad poet, and worse wit.