Brave New World: Utopia or Dystopia?

A common misconception with Dystopian novels is that our immediate assumption is that in an effort to create a world of ideals, those ideas somehow go wrong and that the mechanisms in place for these societies are twisted and perverted. We are looking for reasons as to why these societies could never work and very rarely do we entertain the idea that perhaps, indeed, they could.

And yet, that is exactly the question posed in “Brave New World”. It is not an evil society and the moments we wait for, the big reveal, dissipate. Depending on who you are, you might very well be happy in this society, if you can look past the horrors.

The Premise

With stem cell research a hot topic nowadays, I find it fascinating to read about a novel  published in the thirties that has a society based on individuals incubated in test tubes. The dystopian twist is this is how classes are formed within the “Brave New World” society. In theory, everyone could be born an Alpha or a Beta, as it only requires an oxygen adjustment to the tank. Yes, that’s right. Depending on the amount of oxygen one receives during incubation will ultimately determine who that person will become. Less oxygen means you’ll slide closer to gammas, deltas, and epsilons. As can be guessed, Alphas rule over society and have the most freedom, Betas do important work but generally lead simpler lives while epsilons exist at the bottom of society, doing the undesirable work. To make matters worse (as if oxygen starvation wasn’t enough), toddlers are conditioned to hate that which nature intended for them to love. At night, inaudible words are played to dictate behavior and you have a recipe for a perfect dystopia.

And Yet…

The book touches on themes such as lifespan and poses a rather interesting question; would you rather live until 60 in perfect health or live past 60 with the potential of decline? In the book there isn’t much of a choice but the question has stuck with me even years after reading the novel (yes, I started this review years ago). Through Soma (the typical Dystopian happy pill), a world free of pregnancy, and open relations like you’ve never seen before, one might argue that this society doesn’t seem all too bad (at least for Alpha and Betas). One could also arguably make the case for Deltas and Epsilons that ignorance is bliss in what is just one of many controversial ideas of this book (still shocked this was written in the 30’s).

Hard to Say

The book also touches on the idea of Reservations and explores the concept of whether or not we are truly better off with unabated technological advances. The reservations preserve the culture and are left largely alone by the “modern” society. The book touches on many themes during this portion of the novel and is best read fresh. I could go in more depth but pondering the questions raised in this book while reading was quite enjoyable.

The Verdict

Even after years of reading the book, the concepts and ideas stick. This is a Masterpiece of literature and a must read. The ideas discussed and analyzed are some of the best I’ve ever read in any dystopian novel, putting it in a class all on it’s own.

My Island Getaway: Animal Crossing during a Pandemic

If you’ve been with my blog a while, you may have noticed the occasional gaming article here or there. Months ago, I wrote my first Stardew Valley fan fiction and it was a blast to write. So I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing the last couple months; Animal Crossing! I’ve been playing Animal Crossing for the last couple decades now. Yes, while everyone in the world is now playing the game, I want it on record that I’ve been playing since the Gamecube. Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf; I’ve done them all. Hundreds of hours in each, accumulating to over a thousand hours of paying off debt, buying turnips, and decorating my mansion.

The Premise

You hop on a plane to a deserted island, your first couple of weeks is spent in a tent. Over time, your island grows as more villagers move in and eventually you start infrastructure projects such as building bridges over water and paving in pathways. Your island will eventually have a clothing shop and a museum, and if you’re like me, you might’ve built a cafe and a public park with a wrestling ring.

When I Left

The Pandemic had just begun and I aptly named my Island “Last Hope” which has turned into my darkest chapter in Animal Crossing history. In my sick fantasies I’ve gotten on one of the last planes and am tasked with rebuilding society. Tom Nook is trying to save the world. Every bug, fish, and fossil I collect is an attempt to preserve the future and show that it is possible. Oftentimes I have wondered if Animal Crossing is set in the apocalypse with mutated animals that can speak. There are very few humans. And then I wake up, tend to my garden and celebrate birthdays with my neighbors.

Why it’s kept me sane

The game itself is relaxing. I have loans that I can actually pay off and when I pay off those loans, they go towards meaningful contributions until I one day own a mansion. If I invest in the stalk market, I can expect a huge return on investment and due to globalization, I can also find a high turnip price. When I pull weeds, I can transform the weeds themselves to terrariums and hay-bales. Early on, it kept me from waking up before noon as turnip prices change twice a day. Now I slump out of bed and when I start up Animal Crossing, I am already in my bathrobe. If I want to change? I literally wave a magic wand. If I want more cash, I plant money in fertile money soil and grow a money tree. If capitalism worked like that in real life, I’d have much fewer complaints. When I was but a humble beach bum, I sold seashells by the seashore. That’s literally how you get ahead in animal crossing. No 5 years of intensive studies in College, no two years at a call center, simply picking seashells; that is the world I want to live in.

How has it changed over the last couple decades?

Not to date myself, but I probably started playing Animal Crossing back in 2003, 2004. Each iteration has changed how Animal Crossing society functions. Mostly, neighbors were a dick on the Gamecube and would probably make you cry. In the Gamecube, I remember setting pitfalls (gaping holes in the ground), whacking neighbors with nets, and writing heated messages. Now, not so much. Most of my neighbors I like and I use Cyd as a reminder that there are much worse neighbors out there. Two of my neighbors are superheroes, so I’d say that’s pretty good for my relaxing island getaway. And Mr. Resetti must have died, which is sad. If you restarted the game with saving, he’d show up and yell at you. Do it enough times and he’d play God. Trees would die, the world would change color and I don’t know what other horrors many had to bear witness to as I always saved. Also, coffee. There is no coffee in the newest version! I used to wake up every morning and have my virtual cup of joe, so hopefully that gets updated soon.


And that’s it! Another article for the books! This year, the blog is growing. We have officially surpassed 2019 in unique visits to the website and views are about 30 away from surpassing last year. At this rate, we’re set to surpass 2018 by the end of the year. So remember, if you like my content, leave a like, share with a friend, and follow the website. This year growth has exploded and I couldn’t be prouder. The more exposure I have, the healthier the blog becomes with organic traffic. Eventually, the hope is to have the blog pay for itself through ad revenue. So remember to pause ad-blocker for this website. In addittion, I have a couple ways to support me. Below is the link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi:

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Any little bit is much appreciated. A one time donation of a dollar or a monthly subscription helps support me as a creator. As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

Worth A Read: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A beautifully tragic tale of a Father and Son as they journey South towards the coast of an America laid to waste. So with that said, is it worth a read?

Prevailing themes and a story archetype that works

The premise of The Road is simple. The Road represents a journey. It is a path that must be followed at all costs. Always in sight, always in mind. With all other devices striped away, it allows the reader to focus on the relationship between Father and Son and begs the question, how far would you go to survive? The vivid descriptions of each encounter paint a beautifully realized world shrouded in eternal darkness, a world familiar yet a dream all the same. My favorite theme of the book is the idea that “we carry the fire”. That after the world ends (and perhaps before), who carries the last light of humanity? When adversity comes, will we rise or will we fall?

Father and Son 

The relationship between Father and Son is more than a heartwarming tale of a Father’s love for his son and his willingness to do whatever it takes to keep him alive; it’s a lens through which to see the world. The Father has lost hope and left to his own devices, his actions would not be questioned. He does what he needs to do to survive and that’s that. The Son however, questions every moral decision made and every misdeed done. He is the lens that we lose throughout our lives. And some could argue he represents our younger selves, who is to say?

There is a stark contrast between Father and Son yet they are both the “good guys”. It’s a refreshing perspective that I’m surprised isn’t used more in storytelling.

Worth a Read?

Yes. It is one of the best books I have read in recent memory. This book is the definition of “it’s about the journey, not the destination” and it’s a beautiful message. Is it sad? Yes. Does it cause your face to crinkle in disgust at times? Yes. But it is so very human. When you remove the luxuries of society you can begin to see who we really are. If you want a look in the mirror, look no further than this book.

I give this book 5 out of 5 potatoes: A must read before you die.


There it is, my review of “The Road”. If you like my content, consider buying me a cup of coffee. I appreciate the support and it helps fund my endeavors.

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Gaming for Beginners: Stardew Valley

To continue with the trend as of late, I’m going to try another series. As you can imagine by the title, this series will be about gaming. I realized that if someone says video games are “a waste of time” they either 1) Have not played video games or 2) they tried video games, didn’t understand what was going on, got frustrated, and decided video games were stupid. So here I am to help. To remedy the issue, instead of writing reviews geared for those who already play games, I am hand picking games that provide a challenge, have depth, and are easy enough to jump into and enjoy for ANYONE.

Story

So let’s start with stardew valley. The story of Stardew Valley starts out simple enough. You’ve sold your soul to Corporate America and are working at a job you hate just to make ends meet. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the story of the American Dream! While at the office you remember a letter your grandfather gave you before he died and him saying “open this when life has you in a tizzy”. In the letter, is the deed to the family farm. And thus begins your journey to Stardew Valley.

Gameplay

When you arrive, the farm is a mess. Weeds run rampant and you only have enough money to buy a few crops. Thus begins your first season. You clear land, meet villagers, and tend to your harvest in the hope of having a bigger yield next season to build a farm that Grandpa would be proud of. If you’ve ever fantasized about being a lumberjack, now’s your chance. Instead of growing thousands of pumpkins, plant a thousand trees; once they’re fully grown, chop them down. Want to spend most of your time fishing, use your rod and buy a few crabbing pots along with some bait. Want to hunt monsters all day and be a miner? Buy a sword and grab your pickaxe.

What did I do? Who was/is farmer Mike? I grew bored of planting crops, so instead I built a coop and a barn and had my sheep Ann and my chicken Lucy to keep me company. Then as months turned to years, I built a wine cellar, built a greenhouse (coffee all year round!!!), and grew wheat and hops to make beer. Then I met a villager, fell in love and accomplished what I’ve never been able to do in real life; settle down!

Time

So as you can imagine, this game is quite involved. I failed my marketing final because I had the brilliant idea of buying this game a week before (still got an A in the class). However, this is a game that you could play for 30 minutes, stop, and continue when you have more time. It’s beyond addicting. It has catchy music, beautiful sound effects, a rewarding progress system, and better conversations than you have with your friends in real life. It is a game where you could start playing in the morning, look out the window and realize that the sun has already set, then keep playing till the sun rises again. What’s more, it was developed by one individual during his free time. If you spend money ($15) you’ll be supporting one man who pursued his dreams and made a beautiful piece of art.

Verdict

This game is fun for everyone. If you’re looking for a new hobby, this game is a great starting point. If you’re trying to understand why all your nerd friends would rather sit inside all day than talk to your lovely face, just give this a try. I give this game:

5 out of 5 ripe potatoes: A must play


So there you have it! My first ever video game review! It was a lot of fun to write and hope you enjoyed it as well. I plan to do more in the future and think it’ll be a nice addition to my book and movie reviews. And with any luck, I might even make a game connoisseur out of you yet! As always, thanks for reading! I’ll post a link to the trailer for “Stardew Valley” below and feel free to comment if you have questions!

Stardew Valley Trailer