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The utopian companies described in the novels and news of SF often have as a framework of the cities in closed vases, but not always. Here are two examples characteristic of the late sixties and seventies.

In the novel the Age of Crystal written in 1967 by William F Nolan and George C Johnson, the human ones of the 24th century having survived the social catastrophes caused by overpopulation constituted, under the impulse of youth, a new model of company, in which all the needs are satisfied, in a condition: the human life has one 21 years legal duration.

Each citizen can reach an impressive variety of leisures, and has the possibility of moving without limitations. But inside the palm of each one, a coloured crystal flower indicates the age and emits a permanent signal, making it possible the host computer to locate instantaneously no matter whom on Earth. The day of his or her 21st birthday, his or her crystal flower flickers and the citizen must present himself or herself within twenty-four hours at the House of the Sleep nearest, where a painless euthanasia is practised.

Those which refuse this law try to flee after their last day, but their black crystal makes them immediately locatable, and especially, the host computer launches against them the members of a police force specialized in hunting to the man: Sandmen. Those have as a task to shoot down at sight, without summation, every new Fugitive.

The film Logan's Run directed by Michael Anderson, released in 1976 and drawn from the novel insists more on the topic of the hermetic city, in which the citizens carry out a life without concern but are locked up under geodesic domes.

As a difference with the book, human life is increased up to 30 years and finishes not by an euthanasia but in a blazing ritual, the Carousel. Indeed, the citizens of the City of the Domes are persuaded that at the end of this ceremony, they will be renewed and will reincarnate themselves in theborn ones of the automated nursery. Only the Fugitive have some doubts as for the reality of this reincarnation.

The World Inside, short stories composed and gathered in a novel by Robert Silverberg and whose action also proceeds at the 24th century, introduce to us a humanity freed from the problems of overpopulation. In this book, the author camps his decoration on Earth, but it implies to us that different models of development are the standard on other colonized planets of the solar system.

When a visitor coming from Mars or Venus is invited in one of the urban monades of the Earth, it can only be deafened in front of these turns of thousand stages, sheltering until a million people and gathered in urban constellations which replace the old historical agglomerations. Humanity chose on Earth a mode of vertical development, leaving 90 % of continental surfaces available for agriculture.

Each monade represents an autonomous entity (energy production, manufactured goods, waste recycling), the living conditions appear to be idyllic at first sight, the conflicts miss practically, the inhabitants live in safety and do not miss anything, but all that at the price of an awesome promiscuity.

One could not finish without quoting 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In 1984, a uniform happiness is ensured all, in what resembles a dictatorship collectivist. To avoid any inclination of rebellion, the administrators encourage the use of a simplified vocabulary, not comprising enough words to express any little idea of revolt.

The society described in Brave New World endeavours to prevent any conflict while selecting its citizens as of their birth. The setting in the world of the children is not abandoned any more randomly genetic, but on the contrary is carefully planned. According to the economic needs, adapted individuals are produced starting from banks of frozen embryos. One finds this topic of the selection of the individuals according to their genetic inheritance in the Gattaca film.

Romain Dabek
Novels about this theme
Brave New World
Fahrenheit 451
Logan's Run
Nineteen Eighty-Four
The World Inside

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