Edelen’s Utopia/Dystopia page

Utopia/Dystopia Writing Assignment

Part 1: Defining Utopias and Dystopias– The Basics

What is a Utopia (or a Dystopia)?  Class discussion questions

Short Story: “Harrison Bergeron”

Part 2: Cyberpunk and 80s Dystopic Visions

Minority Report

Blade Runner and DADES (PK Dick)

Cyberpunk: “Burning Chrome”

The title story, “Burning Chrome,” is a tiny and perfect encapsulation of everything wonderful about 1980s Gibson. His characters are straight out of a hard-boiled novel, haunted by wars held only in the future of our past. It’s a heist story, with the protagonists pitted against a monstrous woman-child heading a criminal empire, but it’s punctuated by moments of peace: a shopping trip in an East Coast mega-city or a reconnaissance flight through the neon pyramids of cyberspace. Though you’d be hard-pressed to find a piece of technology that’s in use today, characters interact with it in a way that rings true, using new tools to forget the people they think they are and remember who they want to be — even if it all backfires in the end.  (http://www.theverge.com)

Part 3: Alternate Visions


  • FAQ
  • Terry Gilliam’s AMA on Reddit:  Reddit is a social networking site.  One feature of the site is that celebrities will often do “AMAs” (an acronym for “Ask Me Anything”).  President Obama even did one last year!  In March 2014, in preparation for the release of his upcoming film Zero Theorem, Gilliam opened an AMA discussion in which he answered questions about his career, including several items about 12 Monkeys, Brazil, and his Monty Python days.  Fair warning: This site, as a social networking site, contains content subject to user contributions; as such, it may not always be school appropriate!
  • Visit here to see a comparison of 1984 and Brazil.
  • From the Ministry of Information:
    • Trust in Security
    • Be alert — some terrorists look normal
    • Suspicion breeds confidence
    • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Information
    • Truth is information
    • Be safe — Be suspicious
    • Regret nothing — report everything
    • Don’t suspect a friend — Report him

The Handmaid’s Tale:

Reading Schedule for Handmaid’s Tale:

This schedule moves fast, but please be aware that there will be class time set aside for reading, though you will still need to read at home, too.

    • Fri. 3/6:  ch. 1-6,
    • Mon. 3/9: ch.7-12,
    • Tues. 3/10: ch.13-17,
    • Wed. 3/11: Graded discussion on 1-17
    • **************
    • Fri. 3/13: ch. 18-23,
    • Mon. 3/16: ch. 24-29,
    • Tues. 3/17: ch. 30-34,
    • Wed. 3/18: Graded discussion of the story thus far
    • Fri. 3/20: ch. 35-39
    • Mon. 3/23: ch. 40-46,
    • Tues. 3/24: Epilogue
    • Wed. 3/25: Discussion of story as a utopic/dystopic vision