Immigration Notice by Author Samit Basu for Fictional Dystopias

A collage of The City Inside book covers.

Image: TorDotCom

If you are in the northern hemisphere and want to migrate to a fictional dystopia, then you have lost your grip on reality but also, more worryingly, you may have expat colonial/oligarchic aspirations: your only possible reason for wanting to move might be to bolster the ruling elite of this dystopia. This review is not directed to you.

If you are in the Global South and are forced to migrate because of your totalitarian/oligarch regional combination, war, invasion, climate disasteror the economic/social devastation caused by this heady mix of corruption, technological/financial upheaval, the pandemic, failing institutions and systems, or the imminent prospect of genocide or apartheid imposed by an evil regime and its relentless fanaticism, please understand that we do not want to trivialize your plight. In the extremely unlikely event that you read this while seeking refuge in hostile lands whose rulers may be at least indirectly responsible for your trauma in the first place: we are sorry.

But. If you are in a region of the global south (definitions are complicated, we know: there are pockets of global south geographically located in the heart of the global north) but you have enough privileges to survive, not to be confronted to immediate violence, lest you be under immense threat if you obey the ever-changing rules of the society you find yourself in…AND if you have spent much of the pandemic lockdown with a roof over your head and food on your table and an internet connection, constantly searching countries that claim to be at least better than yours, places where there seem to be educational, social or economic opportunities that you don’t have not, or governments/oligarchs who occasionally say sensible, human-respecting things that aren’t outrageous lies, and seem relatively less chaotic than your local set, or maybe just places where basic systems are working, or aren’t overheated, flooded, mega-polluted, and volatile, places you never thought you’d move to but just seem saferand wondering if you had the stamina and resources to change, and looking at the people you would have to leave…AND if the catastrophic scrolling, multi-directional propaganda, constant rewriting of history, or fascist distortion of reality have seeped into your life enough to make you unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and lie…

So why not consider moving into a fictional dystopia? Let’s take a look at some of our most popular destinations and ask ourselves: are they really that bad?

Lola R. McClure