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Pleasure, Fun and Laser Guns: Sustainable living in the 23rd Century

“Sometime in the 23rd century… the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything.

There’s just one catch:

Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel.” – Logan’s Run

Imagine this: climate is controlled to perfection in a bubble-encased world of pleasure. Menial labor is mostly carried out via robot, which means that the majority of everyone’s time is spent looking sexy and attending disco parties. Nobody is over the age of thirty, and technology renders physical flaws and ailments a thing of the past. People don’t raise children anymore, so unruly youths, or “cubs” are free to run loose and willy-nilly like savages until the age of 15, hiding in a dark corner of the city until they come of age and have to join the ranks of society. All in all, life seems pretty jolly if you don’t mind the possibility of getting shanked by an anxious pre-teen.

In the year 2274, for every one born, one dies. The population was whittled down so dramatically by war and the depletion of resources that the survivors came up with a system to regulate what their tiny bubble-world could handle. They came up with a knock-off brand of reincarnation, which stipulated that if a person enters Carrousel (a floating, cirque du soleil-like firing squad) they might be “renewed” into another life. Everyone has the same chance of being renewed… which, *spoiler alert*, is 0%, because the people have been told a fatty lie. Everyone still assumes that the outside world is inhospitable to human life, so no one tries to go outside, and those who do try to dodge Carrousel and escape the city get blasted to death by ray-gun wielding law enforcers called Sandmen.

Logan’s Run was adapted from the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Despite it being a hefty two and a half hours long, it’s still a fun look into what 1976 imagined a post-apocalyptic paradise might be. We have, here, a Barbarellic vision of what the world could be like consequent to our self-destructive tendencies as humans, Logan’s Run was cutting edge in its time. It’s interesting to see the racial dynamics, or lack there of, and how the ideas of free love are iterated over and over again. This is an instance of the easy-out solution. Humans leave the world alone for a couple hundred years and—conveniently—it’s ripe to re-enter. Incidentally, a senile old man wouldn’t have been my first choice for a guide into the future, but really, what would actually have had to be done to reintegrate and properly equip the whimsy citizens of paradise city with the means to survive the outside world? Join me next week for a voyage into the not-too-distant 90’s and the Titan AE…


Carisse Ramos, Guest blogger: “Carisse Ramos is a graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in Visual and Critical Studies. Besides blogging about geekery and thoughtful thinking, Carisse now works as a freelance writer, editor and visual artist in Chicago. Her writing focuses on using pop culture trends as a vehicle to facilitate productive dialogues.”

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