Two Technological Dystopias: Le Monde tel qu’il sera and Alpha Ralpha Boulevard

Maria do Rosário Monteiro


The aim of this paper is to compare two technological dystopias: Emile Souvestre’s Le Monde tel qu’il sera (1846) and Cordwainer Smith’s “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard” (1961). Both texts present dystopian societies experienced by many of its inhabitants as being the best of possible worlds. The above authors question the massive use of technology, worry about what technology can do to human beings, how it can dehumanize them. They reveal serious social and moral concerns regarding the less privileged. These are excluded from the benefits of “Utopia” while making it possible. Both authors are childs of their time: they live in a period of national pride, they can see the shadows behind the luminous, the dangers resulting from human beings playing God with nature and humanity. Also, they are innovators: Souvestre announces dystopian science fiction and Smith renews with the genre announcing the New Wave movement in Anglo-American science fiction.

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