As Seen In: Terminator, The Matrix, The 100, I Robot (the movie)
Finally, man has been taken down by his own hubris, allowing the Earth to fall apart while the machines take over. You and a group of scrappy, savvy survivors have been pressed into becoming humanity’s last hope for survival.
There’s a cliche that comes up when you learn about god(s):
Can a god create a boulder that even god can’t lift?
It’s meant to show how faith is supposed to be a patch for those nit picky gaps in logic, but it applies here if you change some keywords: Can science create a problem that science can’t solve? Again, the implied logic is the same: If god/science created the challenge, god/science can overcome that challenge. But will it?
The Puppet World = Fake and Comfortable
Hardship = Reality
I think it’s important to point out that these worlds always look uncomfortable -- if not physically, then spiritually. Compare The Matrix and the pre-apocalypse fantasy, Fight Club: both have a young, white, professional male protagonist with no family ties who trades in modern bourgeoisie comforts for the harsh clarity of the “real world.”
WHY IT IS SO APPEALING:
In the digital age, we are often overwhelmed by feeling "plugged in" all the time. We need technology and robots to make our lives more convient but, because of this, we fear them and the power they have over our lives. In a Technoapocalypse all your fears are justified. The machines/tech has turned on us and our comfy lifestyle. It's finally time for humanity to return to true "reality" and embrace its hardships.
How this would play out in real life:
Our white, middle class, male protagonist becomes disillusioned with a hollow, materialistic life in a world overrun with pollution and devoid of human connectivity finally sees how the sausage is made. He quits his job before going into a Marxist intellectual phase, joins a hippie commune on an organic farm (off the Grid!) and becomes a pretentious acid guru. (Turns out the Red Pill was garden variety LSD!)
As Seen In: V for Vendetta, The Hunger Games, Snow Piercer, Elysium, District 9, Dune
For as long as you can remember, the Powers That Be have been oppressing your people. The luxury class lives decadently while you and those around you suffer. You and your squad of revolutionary refugees gather your artillery, pamphlet of government secrets, and urban guerilla tactics to finally take down The Man.
Innocent people suffer under the rich and powerful. But, if you kick a dog too often, eventually it will bite back. We are the 99%!
WHY IT IS SO APPEALING
The majority of the world population is poor. If you are very lucky you could perhaps fall into the now dwindling middle class. It is a very small subsect of the population who is actually rich and powerful. It is inherently disproportionate and unfair. We all know it, but we feel overwhelmed and powerless. It is easy for people to believe that this is just the way it is. But, still we hope, with more education and enough anger/optimism we can tear those rich, oppressive, and/or powerful bastards down! Then a new world will be born from the ashes!
History is filled with revolutions, coups and political upheavals...most ending with horrific carnage and human rights violations. This can kick off years of oppression under a lifelong “presidency.” The closest thing we’ve seen to everyone’s successful revolutionary wet dream is ironically the punchline to most jokes about national courage: France. The United States can be argued as well but, that revolution often seems like Britian just got tired of the long distance relationship with us.
How this would play out in real life:
For as long as you can remember, the Powers That Be have lived decadently while you and the people around you...have reasonable labor laws because the citizenry stayed politically active and educated. They organized on a local level. Still, not satisfied with the decrepit state of your beloved homeland, you and your cadre of revolutionaries arm yourselves...with pamphlets and signatures in order to fix the system. Sit ins, marches, and debates take a long time to affect change but, burning the things to the ground seems like an unnecessarily bloody solution.
The Historically Pessimistic:
For as long as you can remember, the Powers That Be have lived decadently while you and the people around you continue your socio-political and/or religious gorilla style fighting against them. The system is so corrupt that you believe cleansing it with fire to be the only way. So, you burn it all down and kill your leaders only to elect a charismatic fighter amongst you who will refuse to give up power. The cycle then repeats under another dictatorship.
This Isn't New
A humorous and informative podcast and blog that dives into how history repeats itself in our headlines, trends, and lifestyles.