Brief Look at Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian”

Can Science Fiction help us redefine our political system?

In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Occupy... Movement, the Indignados in Spain, and the protests against so many other governments around the world, Science Fiction is starting to rethink many of the political postulates it has espoused since it's golden age. For close to 70 years Science Fiction has placed democracy as one of the greatest social systems ever invented, and in many of the most utopian stories it is precisely under a democracy that these utopias come about. But can we go on saying that when we are seeing increasing manifestations of doubt in the truth behind the promises of democracy?

Maybe it's time to turn to the freedom granted to us through Science Fiction to analyze other options, or see behind the veil, and maybe propose a new direction. Now this is no simple task, and it is one that still needs to be delved into deeper, but a good starting point can be found in a novel called Systems, by British author Saleena Karim; in this story set some 30 years from now, the world is something that we can easily envision from our own experiences today, the technology is not that far removed from the one we have seen in development, and some of the changes in the political reality portrayed in this novel can be easily inferred from some of the political events we are seeing today.

The center dilemma of this story lies in a social experiment simulation conducted 20 years before the events of the book, where several political systems are put to the test in a comparison, and even though there is no explanation as to what exactly the ideal system that is the center of the test is exactly like, it does hint at some interesting points, which can be seen today in some of the discourses from those who are discontented about the current state of affairs in western democracies; however, the book does leave a lot of threads hanging in the end, making one hope for a sequel.

Quoting Winston Churchill, "it is said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried before", and that is the question at the heart of this book: Can we have a better for of government?