Questionable Friday: Let's Be Pleasant To One Another

It's that time again, where I field your questions, n00b and pro alike, while doing the least possible research. If the answer is questionable, remind yourself that it's what's written on the tin! Ok, so this week the question comes from professional sweetheart DJ Nath who wants to know "Which universe has the best living conditions?" Wow, well Nath, next time try to give your question more scale, why don't you?

My first instinct was to answer: Not Battlestar Galactica's, surely,

I'm afraid I'll probably be going to give the clichéed answer here. After all, I have to throw out all the superhero universes on account of all the buildings falling down and bank robberies happening about once a minute. Any universe under constant threat of war or invasion is likewise dismissed (Doctor Who, Star Wars, Middle Earth, etc.). Dystopias are right out, as are worlds where the supernatural hunts human flesh (Buffyverse, X-Files, etc.), and most Utopias have a vicious underbelly or nasty trade-off. Fictional universes are basically fueled by conflict and strife, often on a "universal" scale. So I'm looking for a clean Utopia, where civilians like me do well and the conflict isn't so close to home. There can only be one.
Oh, sorry, I mean:
Yes, I'm going to say Star Trek, specifically TNG era Star Trek, where Earth (where I live) is a social Utopia built around the idea that you have the right to pursue your interests without money ever being an issue. Fringe benefits include transporters that cut down on travel time, a satellite system that eliminates bad weather, great non-invasive medical care, and the opportunity to visit alien planets (living conditions may vary, so be careful). Alien invasions are rare (which is why I didn't say DS9 era) and natural disasters almost unheard of. Sure, it can be a little "Oprah", all dusty rose couches and psychobabble, but as far as utopian trade-offs go, that's pretty mild.

Hope that answers your question, Nath! And if anyone out there has a different answer, please be sure to share it with us!


Brian said...

Talk of TNG-era Earth reminds me of this piece I was reading a while back, analyzing Star Trek as an example of a post-scarcity economy and looking at how the Federation society seen in TNG & DS9 could function as a followup to modernist social democracy, taking into account the various references used throughout the series. It strikes me as just the sort of read that would interest you:

"The Economics of Star Trek: The Proto-Post Scarcity Economy"

Siskoid said...

Thanks! It's equal parts things I'm interested in (Trek) and things I would never ever be interested in (economics)!

Anonymous said...

I'll take Bill & Ted's Excellent Future. An entire society built around "Be excellent to each other" and "Party on, dudes!" works for me.

- Mike Loughlin

Siskoid said...

I'm afraid of what passes as culture in that future, though I appreciate their ethos.

Jeff R. said...

I'm not sure that TNG-era Earth is sufficiently stable in that state; it looks more like an anomalous lull between the Cardassian and Dominion wars than the general state of Federation history, even leaving aside all of the other things wrong with their society. (The massive, massive overrepresentation of humans in the military should make one question how democratic the federation actually is in practice rather than theory, for example.)

I think I'll take the Gallumaufrey from Foglio's Buck Godot for my pick.

googum said...

I was thinking about that the other day: the first episode of TNG could be seen as the beginning of the end of an extended period of relative peace. It gets a bit rough after that!

Randal said...

What? TNG-era Earth? The odds of dying in a fire at your ancestral French vineyards are nearly 1 in 1!
No thanks! I'll take my chances with the Cylons.


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