literary expression banned in a Dystopia Setting

in Deep Dives24 days ago


In a far-flung future, literary expression was banned.
Instituting the ban was something of a slow process as various governmental sectors argued over what exactly it was they were banning, but eventually, a somewhat specific definition was settled upon. Cutting all the legalese and fiddly terms out, the definition boiled down to the outlawing of any form of fiction. If it was not based in real events, real science, or real worlds, it was likely to be promptly destroyed. Its creator would be imprisoned at the very least, though executions for particularly "dangerous" expressions were not unheard of.

Books that were not burned were sealed away in vaults, and this act was treated as a triumph, "getting humanity closer to the truth." Most people had no choice but to accept the government's dogma, though some people saw it as limiting society's ability to create new thoughts. From here, specially selected intellectuals would determine what society knew as true. For that matter, they would also determine what society knew as false as well.


Still, certain sects of people studied the literary ban laws carefully and found loopholes in its wording. It had come before the time of the Mind's Eye projects that could record strong imagery directly from a person's brain (or rather, their mind). Images, sounds, or a person's "mental voice" recorded by a Mind's Eye machine were not classified as a type of literature, and so it was only a matter of time before an underground market evolved around "fictional recordings." Some people encoded their dreams using the machines (something not even the government had figured out how to stop), while others recorded mental narrations of stories.

In this way, it was like oral traditions had arisen again, but in a technologically advanced society. Some smart alecs caught onto this happening and began to name the centers of fictional exchange after locations where oral traditions had caught on. However, due to a miscommunication, they all eventually became known as agoras, due to the power of the oral tradition in ancient Greece. There would have been more references to Vedic traditions in India if not for that misunderstanding.

Still, people gathered in the agoras, swapped memory sticks with recordings on them, and discussed their literal or figurative dreams. They knew the government would try to crack down on them eventually, but until then, they were nearly untouchable. If the memory sticks were confiscated, then they would just have to rely on oral tradition in its truest form. After all, the government had yet to figure out how to permanently stop dreams or erase memories.


In this way, literary expression still lived on. Even though only relatively few could gain access to it, it was better than nothing as most saw it. It just took effort, and in that way, it seemed that only the best records made it through the agoras each day. Memes resurfaced in new and interesting ways, ways not seen since the earlier days of the internet. Not many people knew where these memes came from, but they spread around, and in that way, literary expression survived as well. How ironic that simple memetic jokes and catchphrases were deemed too inconsequential for the government to interfere with, and yet they carried the payload that wasn't supposed to exist.

Even with the apparent success of the "recording rebellion," members still had concerns of what would happen if the government made a move against them. Then again, only so much could be done. Dreams could not be stopped, and memories could not be erased. Until the government knew how to implement those measures, humanity would remain resourceful and protect the culture that had gotten it so far through its history.


Bang, I did it again... I just rehived your post!
Week 53 of my contest just can now check the winners of the previous week!

I believe that the governments centralized sector is only a matter of time before they realize that they already lost the war.

After all, the government had yet to figure out how to permanently stop dreams or erase memories.

One Thing they can never erase and will never be able to because Nature will always have its way

Well the burning of books in China did destroy a ton of cultural heritage but there is still plenty of them that survived due to being hidden.