Sunday 13th June 2021
We are facing what all sorts of people choose to call a DYSTOPIAN FUTURE (I am over indulging in my use of capitalisation because so does everyone else who are trying to emphasise how DYSTOPIAN our FUTURE is likely to be). As I type this I am waiting for news from the G7 Summit to find out whether anything is likely to occur to stop our lives getting ever more DYSTOPIAN and – alongside my electively adopted nephew Louis – watching the E3 Video Games Expo, which is something that I have never done before.

And the more that I watch this, the more that I am getting somewhat confused by the concept of millions of people of all ages sitting indoors trying to avoid the aforementioned DYSTOPIAN FUTURE by playing expensive and technologically insanely advanced video games about ummmmm DYSTOPIAN FUTURES. There is something very peculiar going on here.

Because although it would probably be hyperbole to say that the vast majority of the games that are being showcased as I am watching it, are set in a DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, I can certainly claim with a fair amount of justification that the biggest single category of games are ones set in DYSTOPIAN FUTURES of one sort or another. And what this means for the collective psyche of those people across the world who play such things I have no idea.

I am stuck in my regular problematic syndrome that it is impossible to be up to the minute when you are writing things several days or weeks in advance, but as I have already admitted, it is Sunday evening and I am typing this whilst half watching a bunch of video games that I have no intention of ever playing, and you guys won’t be reading this until Friday at the least (unless you are Phil who is proof reading this, Hi Phil), so there is every chance that I shall be overtaken by events.

But we are living on what appears to be an important cusp of world events. At least events in the Western world. Despite the fact that those who have been put in charge over us on both sides of the Atlantic are urging caution, most of us seem to be behaving as if the lockdown is over and we are all free having beaten the global pandemic wot has threatened our entire species blah blah blah. Well it isn’t.

The governments of the G7 countries do appear to be doing something which appears to be at least potentially admirable. BBC news this evening writes:

“Leaders of the major industrial nations have pledged one billion Covid vaccine doses to poor countries as a “big step towards vaccinating the world”, Boris Johnson has said. At the end of the G7 summit in Cornwall, the PM said countries were rejecting “nationalistic approaches.

He said vaccinating the world would show the benefits of the G7’s democratic values.

There was also a pledge to wipe out their contribution to climate change.After the first meeting of world leaders in two years, Mr Johnson said “the world was looking to us to reject some of the selfish, nationalistic approaches that marred the initial global response to the pandemic and to channel all our diplomatic, economic and scientific might to defeating Covid for good”.

He said the G7 leaders had pledged to supply the vaccines to poor countries either directly or through the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme – including 100 million from the UK.

The communique issued by the summit pledges to “end the pandemic and prepare for the future by driving an intensified international effort, starting immediately, to vaccinate the world by getting as many safe vaccines to as many people as possible as fast as possible”.


A lot of what he has said there, as always, is said to tick the right boxes. Saying how governments are rejecting nationalistic approaches is just a teensy weeny bit of virtue signalling, or at least it is extremely hard not to see it as such. And just as I was typing that, the X Box people on the screen have claimed that this year’s crop of games are the most DIVERSE ever. And the fact that this DIVERSE crop of games are mostly set in a bunch of surprisingly homogeneous DYSTOPIAN FUTURES is quietly ignored in favour of getting the word DIVERSE in there. I am sure that an advertising executive somewhere along the line got aroused when he thought of that. And if he could have got the word INCLUSIVE in there as well he would have had a spontaneous ejaculation.

But that is the modern world for you.
Jonathan Downes
Cryptozoologist, naturalist, musician, singer, composer, poet, novelist and Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology since 1992. Jon was born in Portsmouth in 1959 and spent his infancy in Nigeria and his childhood in Hong Kong. His wife Corinna died of cancer in 2020, leaving him with two stepdaughters and a six year old granddaughter called Evelyn.