A Word and a Story — Dystopia

Parag Shah
3 min readJul 11, 2020
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I have given myself a challenge — to learn one new word or phrase every day and write something about it. Ideally, I’d like to write an original super-short story but it’s not a rule. Sometimes I might just write a quote that stands out for me or sometimes I might go into the deeper meaning and usage of the word. So without further ado, today’s word is dystopia.

I have come across this word plenty of times before and I knew it had a negative connotation but I did not know the exact meaning. Thankfully, today I do.

A dystopia (from Ancient Greek δυσ- “bad” and τόπος “place”; alternatively cacotopia[1] or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening.[2][3] It is an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his best known work, published in 1516, which created a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty. — Wikipedia article on Dystopia

Here’s a super-short story I wrote about a dystopian society.

Jake was rudely awoken at 4:30 AM, not by an alarm clock but by a mild shock administered by the smartwatch that had permanently tethered itself to his wrist. Son of a bitch, he murmured and tugged violently at his watch wanted to strip it from his wrist. This time he was punished by a more powerful shock that threw him off his bed. A few more times and he would learn not to do that again. But right now, Jake was still full of fury. He thought to himself — How did we get into this point where technology has completely enslaved humanity? Awwwwweee he cried out in a pitiful terror-filled scream. This time he was delivered the most violent shock that caused him to almost pass out. That’s when he realized the full horror of the situation. The dark powers had access to every thought he had.

He quickly had his bath and avoiding thinking. He had to reach the factory by 5:30 and even the thought of the punishment that he would have to go through if he was late, made him shudder in fear.

He quickly wore his work shirt and pants, took an injection of nutritional supplements, which was his breakfast, and jogged towards the factory. Somewhere midway between his house and the factory was a huge banyan tree. The dark powers had tried to cut it down but every time they tried, the cutting crew was struck by lightning and killed on the spot. After several attempts, they decided to leave the tree alone. As Jake approached the tree, he felt a sweet, almost Divine, tingling sensation in his heart. The sensation was accompanied by a feeling. No thought. No words. Just a feeling which vibrated to the message — “Stay with your heart, be with nature, and you will find a way out. You are the chosen one to liberate humanity from this dystopian society that they have themselves created on Earth.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. It was written around the theme of technological dystopia. According to this blog that’s dedicated to the theme of dystopia in literature, there are many kinds of dystopia:

  1. Environmental Dystopia
  2. Nuclear Disaster
  3. Government Control
  4. Religious Control
  5. Technological Control
  6. Survival
  7. Loss of Individualism

Today, in 2020 this beautiful planet of ours is actually dealing with each of these types. Maybe not all in one place but each of these dystopian themes is playing out at least somewhere in the world. It’s such a pity but I do believe that positive change is underway. One day we will reclaim this planet to be the beautiful utopia it was meant to be.

I’ll end this article with an inspirational quote:

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
― Edward Everett Hale