Research Proposal- BACK TO THE FUTURE
For this paper, I would like to research how the real-world fears and conflicts of the authors influence the narratives and conflicts in speculative fiction. These connections are particularly noticeable in dystopian and post-apocalyptic settings, where authors can take their fears for the future and make them real. Stories about uprisings against ‘the man’ or ‘the system’ have always been my favorites – I did grow up with Star Wars, after all – but only recently have I been thinking that these stories with these narratives exist because their authors are actually scared for the future. The variety of narratives and conflicts reflect the variety of fears that authors have had for the future.
For example, 1984 was written at the beginning of the Second Red Scare, when the fears of communism and radical political leftism were running rampant in the Western world; the primary antagonists in this novel are ‘the Party’ and ‘Big Brother’. In “Stone Lives”, which was published in 1985, the author envisions a world run by corporations, where the poor have been made poorer and the rich have been made richer; the eighties was a time of advancing medicine and technology, but also of widening social and economic inequality. It might seem a little convoluted, but I think it is interesting to look at stories about the future to try and envision how people thought in the past.