by Lynda Sampson
Contemporary popular culture has a burden to carry. The mood of the global populace appears awash with a sense of desperate and dark days ahead for the planet, fuelled by debate over the attendant fallout of resource depletion, biodiversity collapse, climate weirdness, energy descent and population growth. Weighed down by a sense of un-nameable dread and impending doom, the fodder of everyday entertainment often reads as a litany of dystopia. It is little wonder, then, that many of our most popular contemporary works of fiction are based in socially imploding settings; parallel worlds in which personal power saves the day over makebelieve monsters; or futuristic worlds where horror and oppression are rife.