Episode suggestions

Dan and Paul take an in-depth look at the worlds portrayed Young Adult dystopian fiction.
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Paul
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Episode suggestions

Postby Paul » 30 Mar 2015, 08:37

Is there a movie/book/tv show/game or other media that you would like to see on Fight the Future? Let us know!
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Kieran E » 30 Mar 2015, 13:00

I think the TV Show 'The 100' might be a good option when looking at dystopias. For a TV show it's pretty short so wouldn't take too long to get the necessary lore, and it's got a number of different societies of different dystopia-ness to analyze
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 30 Mar 2015, 13:01

Elysium and In Time seem like good worlds to explore.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby CaptainEnder7 » 30 Mar 2015, 13:10

It's less of a YA novel, but I find the future in CS Friedman's novel "The Madness Season" really interesting. But it does involve vampires (sort of).
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby DaMage » 30 Mar 2015, 17:12

It's not aimed specifically at YA, but the 2005 movie "The Island" certainly has the rating and same tropes. I saw it on TV a few years back and would be a good one for an episode like this. If you haven't seen it, don't spoil the story beforehand.

To avoid spoilers, this is the setup:
"Year is 2019, remaining humans live in an utopian facility until they are slowly allowed to move to "The Island" which is a undamaged part of the world. Main character guy thinks something is up and makes a daring escape with women he falls for."
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 30 Mar 2015, 18:05

Oh yes, I own that movie. Good universe to explore.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Lysander » 31 Mar 2015, 00:20

I'd love for you guys to read the first book in Philip Reeve's "Mortal Engines" series. It's a bit difficult to sum up the setting but let me try:
* A world war so terrible it screws up the plate tectonics, causing massive earthquakes, volcanoes, and the draining of the ocean.
* In response people convert whole cities into giant mobile bomb shelters on gargantuan tank treads. These "Treaded Cities" roam the torn and blasted earth, escaping the various hazards of the apocalypse and seeking out resources.
* Several centuries later Earth stops trying to shake itself apart. In a logical world, these Treaded Cities would just park themselves somewhere and try to rebuild. But the dark side of tradition has taken hold. They continue to roam, slowly running out of resources and forgetting how to maintain themselves.
* The cities turn on each other. The larger cities hunt down the smaller, harvesting them for spare parts and slave labor.
* This is only the prologue. Things get worse.

There are three POV characters. One is a teenage boy, the newest member of London's Historians Guild; they find and hoard forgotten superscience devices. The second is a girl terrorist, member of an organization that wants to end all Treaded Cities; half of her face is missing. The third is a "princess" of sorts, that slowly realizes how horrible her city really is. A very screwy triangle develops. As like other dystopia novels, there is a caste system. And lots of death. And yes, this is in the Young Adult section of the libraries.

There are three more books in the series, full of rich world-building and more death. Though there is some hope as the series progresses.

Philip Reeve also wrote another dystopia series starting with "Fever Crumb." This one is slightly less grim, a little more hope, and has more romance.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby SoSo_Tsundere » 31 Mar 2015, 06:44

So, I love this podcast, but there are almost too many dystopias to choose from!

My personal suggestions would be Escape From New York, The Warriors, and Battle Royale. None are particularly "YA" but at least they all deal with common teen tropes? (it's a stretch, I know)
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Phi » 31 Mar 2015, 10:02

I think The Road would be interesting, since unlike many other future dystopias - this one is quite clearly not fun in any way to live in.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Daniel » 31 Mar 2015, 13:58

Fantastic suggestions already folks! Lysander, I am so sold on Mortal Engines based on your description!
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby KiteNeravar » 31 Mar 2015, 14:59

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies book series (you can skip Extras)
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby korvys » 01 Apr 2015, 16:02

Not YA, but some there are some old movies I'd love to see: Logan's Run, The Running Man, and (especially interesting with the new movie coming out) Mad Max.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Eric the Orange » 03 Apr 2015, 09:08

The only one I can think of doesn't have a movie and only the first book in a supposed series. But if that's fine its called Shades of grey (no relation to the lady porn one) by Jasper Fforde. Here's a link to it's Wikipedia article if you're interested,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_ ... gh_Saffron
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby MetricFurlong » 03 Apr 2015, 10:40

If I might make an anime suggestion, given the podcast's emphasis on setting details, From the New World might be quite interesting. It is in the same camp as Never Let Me Go* in that it's about young adults but not really a YA work, but it's near enough that you could get away with it without bending the rules too much.

The core premise is that at some point in the early 21st Century, a small minority of humans began to manifest telekinetic abilities around puberty; powers of the 'can rip an entire room full of people in half if angry' variety.
Around 1,000 years later, when the series takes place, the world is a very different place. Society has shifted to a much more agrarian structure with a pronounced focus on spiritualism, and all of the - substantially reduced - human population now posses telekinetic ability to varying degrees. Away from the human settlements most of the world has reverted to forests and wilderness inhabited by stranger creatures, save for the parts controlled by the clans of sapient, humanoid rodents who revere the humans as divine beings.
12 year-old Saki does not know much about the world, having never left her village. Her first main concern is the slow development of her powers, which is delaying her from entering secondary school (and so keeping preventing her from spending time with her friends). The other are the persistent rumours among the children of a creature called The Trickster Cat, said to have been behind a string of disappeared children. Children whom, the rumours go, were also having trouble manifesting their powers.



And that's as much as I'm going to say, since part of the fun of the series is discovering more about the world as the protagonists do (which requires paying close attention to everything that's presented; while it's not quite Serial Experiments Lain, it's definitely a series that expects the audience's full engagement).
One other thing to note is that Yusuke Kishi, the author of the novel the anime is based on, is primarily a horror writer and this shows. Things get dark, and potentially quite uncomfortable in certain parts.


All 25 episodes are free to watch on Crunchyroll (link here) and it's also available on blu-ray.
There also exists a manga adaptation, but this was mostly just a cash-in to the anime series and is pretty rubbish. The novel has not had any translation or release outside of Japan, at least as far as I know.



*a book/film it might also be worth looking at, incidentally. In fact I'm a little surprised it hasn't been suggested yet. Although that might be because it's difficult to say much about it while avoiding spoilers.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 03 Apr 2015, 15:31

I'd be interested in seeing a take on the Ender's Game universe. Not specifically the series of Ender's Game books that follow Ender, but the Ender's Shadow series that follows Bean. Other than the original book, the Ender's Game series isn't dystopia and is more "Planet of Hats." Ender's Shadow shows Earth after the kids get back, and the countries start fighting over them, which is more dystopia.

Another series to look into, if you're looking at books, is Jack Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond series. Be forewarned that this next explanation of the back-story is "spoilers" per se, but it only "spoils" Chapters 1 & 2 of Book 1. It spoils none of the actual stories/plots of the books.

Four Lords of The Diamond Backstory - Click to Expand
It's about 1000 years from now.
Humanity has spread out to about 2/3 of the galaxy. Any alien races that have been met so far have been either converted to the Human system and confined to their planets, or have been thoroughly destroyed.
1000 years of interbreeding and genetic engineering have essentially eliminated all races from humanity, and everyone is a light bronze, with a nearly-uniform height, weight, and set of facial/body features. It's not completely uniform, as they tried that and found that if you breed a bunch of people who look completely identical, they end up trying to find ways to distinguish themselves from everyone else, doing things anywhere from dressing extremely strangely up to and including self-mutilation.
In any case, this genetic and social engineering has led to a society where the traditional "family" structure no longer exists, and you are literally bred and socialized to love your eventual job, be that as a botanist, astrophysicist, interior decorator, or whatever. (Most manual labor jobs have been replaced by robots.) They have social planners and economists and such that can use their predictions and extrapolations to see what would be needed 20 to 40 years from now, and then they tell the government what they've found. If they forecast that 20 years from now there will be a surplus of botanists and a shortage of architects, then the government just converts a few creches for botanists into creches for architects.
In this society, almost everyone is happy beyond current belief, and it is largely a life of leisure.
However, the government knows that complete control of society like this breeds stagnation and decay and society rots from the inside. Since only 2/3 of the galaxy has been explored and colonized, they are wary of meeting a hostile alien civilization that is on the same or greater technological level as they are. If that were to happen, they believe humanity would be destroyed.
Thus, they have what is called "The Frontier" which is about 10% of their territory, on the edges, which are also used for expansion. (The "Civilized Worlds" are what the main bulk of the human territory is called.) In "The Frontier," there is less societal control. You can choose to go to "The Frontier" if you want, or you can be born there, from natural breeding and birth, rather than in the controlled environments. In exchange for less control, "The Frontier" gets less help from the government as well. As such, this ends up breeding innovation, which the government knows it needs to keep society from falling apart. If you can make do with less, you are more likely to figure out something new that no one has though of before.

For most of this, the description sounds kind of like a utopia rather than a dystopia. However, things are not all as smooth and cheerful for everyone as the government makes it out to be. Due to both "The Frontier" being primarily unregulated and the fact that nothing can be completely perfect, including genetic and social engineering, there is a criminal element that exists. Thus, part of the dystopia part comes from how these criminals are dealt with: Assassins. Now, while their name suggests that they go around killing people, and they are trained to do so, they rarely do in actuality. Capital punishment is extremely rare, and most criminals that are caught are mindwiped and reformatted to become productive members of society. That is, at least, they were until about 300 years prior to the story. One of the explorers from "The Frontier," a man named Warden, found a system with 4 planets within the "Goldilocks" zone for life, something completely unheard-of. He named it the "Warden Diamond" based on the configuration he found it in. He never went into the system, because he considered exploration to be his only occupation. Thus, the government was always sending expeditions behind him to actually check the planets out. They were annoyed that they had to do this, but they accepted it because Warden was very good at exploration and astrophysical documentation, despite not doing any planetary documentation. So the planetary exploration expeditions settled on Lilith, sending other parties out to the other 3 worlds: Medusa, Cerberus, and Charon. After about 6 months, the key problem presented itself. All of the equipment, clothing, and anything non-organic that was not native to Lilith just started disintegrating, leaving a bunch of stark-naked scientists not sure that they didn't just go completely mad. After some study from the expeditions on the other planets, they found the issue: There was a sub-molecular compound that spread itself similar to a virus, but on a molecular level. They called it the "Warden Virus" even though that is really a misnomer. On Lilith, it broke alien non-organic material into its component molecules. As all the parties started on Lilith before going to the other planets, they believed they spread it to the other planets as well. However, since the "virus" couldn't transform the other planets into copies of Lilith, likely due to environmental issues, the virus itself changed and caused other effects on those planets. Another issue was the fact that when people tried to leave the Warden system, they died at about 2.5 AUs, no matter what. They found the reason for this was that the "virus" "died" (more like disintegrated) when it got too far from the Warden sun. It attached to inorganic material at the ends of the molecules, but in organics, it attached in the middle, and would break the molecules that held the organics together. Thus, you could ship materials in and out of the system, but not people.
When the government realized this, they figured out what they could use this for: the perfect prison. They could send you in, and while you could travel around within the system, you could never leave. At this point, they started sending criminals there instead of mindwiping them, because they realized that any criminals that could get past their tight control were masters of innovation, something they desperately needed.
One of the unanticipated side-effects, however, was that by grouping together hundreds of thousands of people who are very smart, very innovative, and all hate the government in one fashion or another, you've essentially built your own criminal empire. Four criminal empires grew, one on each planet, and they found ways to spread their influence throughout the galaxy, despite being confined to the system.

Now, we've got to wrap back around to the beginning. Remember when I said that the government was afraid of finding an alien civilization on par or greater than them? Well, they didn't: the aliens found them first. And guess who they found first? The Warden system. The aliens were unaffected by the Warden Virus, and started studying humans in the Warden system first. After finding out enough information to figure that humans would be paranoid enough to attempt to destroy them, they decided that humans needed to be destroyed, for their own survival. The initial plan was an outright assault, but they were not sure that they could win. Despite being technologically superior, they were significantly inferior in terms of raw numbers. (Think British vs. Zulus.) So they hatched a plan. They would still do an all-out assault if this plan failed, but they knew that the vast majority of the human populace was not to blame for its government's mistakes, so they also wanted to minimize innocent casualties, if it was possible. They revealed themselves to the 4 Lords of the Diamond and outlined their plan to use robots nearly indistinguishable from humans to take down the government from the inside. In exchange for the Lords' help, the aliens would research a way to allow the Lords and their populaces to leave the Warden system. The Lords easily accepted this, as 1. they didn't have to expend any of their own resources, only information, 2. it was a way to fight back against the government that exiled them, and 3. it gave them the possibility of escaping their exile.
After an attack on a very important military compound by said robots, the government traces it back to the Warden system and discovers the aliens exist. However, they don't know much else, and need more information if they're going to fight this alien menace. The problem is that the only place they can get said information is within the Warden Diamond, a place of no return. They want to send an Assassin in to do this, but they have the problem of keeping their agent loyal to them when they're sending said agent into a life sentence with no return. What's to stop the agent they send from turning on them and joining the Warden crime syndicates? That's when they hatch a plan, and that's where the real stories of the books start, detailing the stories of the agents they send to each planet, of which I will not spoil.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Fayili » 09 Apr 2015, 09:28

KiteNeravar wrote:Scott Westerfeld's Uglies book series (you can skip Extras)


You got a problem with Extras? :x

I came here to suggest the Uglies series, actually. And really most of Scott Westerfeld's stuff?
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby KiteNeravar » 09 Apr 2015, 16:53

Fayili wrote:
KiteNeravar wrote:Scott Westerfeld's Uglies book series (you can skip Extras)


You got a problem with Extras? :x

I came here to suggest the Uglies series, actually. And really most of Scott Westerfeld's stuff?


It's not integral to the series as a whole, and while it is a good book, the distopia presented differs from that of the first three.

I would always suggest people read anything Scott Westerfeld. In fact I keep meaning to suggest the Risen Empire books to Cam, but never remember too
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby dragoon3zero » 10 Apr 2015, 18:40

you guys should also do the Mega Man universe and talk about how robots became common place
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Daniel » 13 Apr 2015, 07:57

Enders sequels, anime and videogames! Especially thanks for thes suggestions we never would have thought of! It all goes on the list. dragoon3zero, can you recommend a solid entrypoint to the megaman series where it gets all worldbuildy? One of the RPGs? I like the phenomenon where an intellectual property starts out very thin and crappy in its conception, and then a writer comes along who actually cares and is good at story and worldbuilding, and fills it out, like with the Battlestar Galactica remake. So it would be fun to see if that happened with Megaman, beyond the last thing I saw, Megaman X2, in which most of the plot developments were him shooting at a big metal squid.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby hascow » 13 Apr 2015, 12:53

I'm a big fan of Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart, and it has a really fascinating world. It's probably his most YA-style series, but as always, his worlds are great.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby deltafine » 14 Apr 2015, 09:23

Spark Rising by Kate Corcino. It's a relatively new book (published Dec 2014) but it's got a great new what-caused-the-apocalypse mechanic.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby markc7 » 14 Apr 2015, 09:31

I suggest "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. The scary part is the implication that dystopia is literally one terror attack away. The book suffers from the fact that it has no characters, and there are occasional boing-boing blog posts in the novel. But it's worth a read and I'd love to hear your discussion about it!
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby kuroji zero » 22 Apr 2015, 15:35

I'm kinda surprised no one has brought up the Hunger Games yet. I believe there is even an audio clip in the intro theme song. I don't know what you guys think of the movies but I can assure you that the books are a lot more interesting. The movies are a bit more kid friendly. Things like, the losing contestants in the first book/movie were turned into those werewolf creatures once they died. Really messed up but still a good story.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 22 Apr 2015, 17:40

I'm assuming that Paul and Dan already plan on doing it at some point soon.
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Re: Episode suggestions

Postby Daniel » 23 Apr 2015, 15:10

I like your enthusiasm kuroji zero so I will tell you a secret! Hunger Games is the very next movie on our watch list! Because we have a number in the can at the moment, it will be out on June 22, according to our plans and schemes. And that's just the start: we might revisit the world as many as three more times, for each of the movies, each time picking up new angles on the world of Panem and the 12 districts. Hunger Games is the one of these movie franchises I'm a big fan of, so I want to linger!

Plus it's one where I've read and loved the entire book series! So that should contribute to it being a standout episode. That was an odd moment, wasn't it, when the werewolves (or "mutt-ations" - the one thing Suzanne Collins is really, really not good at is cool names for things, see also "tracker jacker") are revealed as having the contestants eyes. Very much implying that they had been monsterized. It was so much of a misstep in fact, that Collins herself retconned it later in the trilogy, saying that the eyes were fake and it was all mindgames by the game masters!

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