ATTENTION: NEW SITE ADDRESS

Anyone who has been following this blog may have noticed that it hasn’t been updated in months.

There’s a reason for that.

I decided to take the plunge and migrate the site over to its own domain, over at http://www.jonnydean.uk

Further, I will be closing this page in the next few weeks. If you have stumbled upon this page and would like to continue reading my ramblings about life and the connection between current affairs and genre settings, then please, follow the new site.

Cheers,

Jonny

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Generational Divides

Since I’ve already written about political unions in the past, the inescapable news that the UK has narrowly voted for “Brexit”, the UK’s exit from the European Union, would seem to have me stuck retreading ground and discussing the same thing all over again, only with a slightly gloomier outlook.

However, one of the interesting things to emerge post-referendum is the demographics of those who voted; broadly speaking, the young were most likely to vote remain, and the old were most likely to vote to leave. This shows a huge divide between the generations in our society – might your fictional society have a similar divide? Continue reading

Privacy

Over in the US, the Supreme Court has just approved a law change that will allow the US Government greater powers to hack and access computers and phones both in the US and abroad, something which could have huge implications for privacy. Simultaneously, new rules are being proposed which may give citizens greater control over what information is collected by service providers.

This is part of a wider discussion about privacy which has continued for decades, from the USSR’s use of informants to the UK’s “snoopers charter“. Where does a right to privacy end, and other concerns – such as security or stability – become more important? Continue reading

Death

With 2016 continuing to be the year of death, losing David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, Admiral Ackbar, and what seems to be the majority of the western hemisphere, death is the one thing that all societies have to deal with (unless your society is one of omnipotent immortals, à la Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, naturally).

How they view death in a philosophical sense, and how they deal with the practical side, can vary wildly, and can also tell us a great deal about the kind of society we are dealing with. Is death something to be feared, or something to embrace? Is a funeral a solemn ceremony, a cheerful celebration of a life, or a clinical procedure? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Electing the Elected

Over in the US, the presidential primaries are still making news as millions of ordinary citizens vote on who may become their party’s next presidential candidate. Meanwhile in the UK, the fallout of Prime Minister David Cameron’s involvement in the Panama Papers tax scandal as well as the upcoming EU referendum is prompting some commentators to suggest that he may soon be forced to resign. Should he do so, it will be his party, not the public, who will decide on his replacement.

This highlights two different ways of electing a leader; directly and indirectly – and knowing how a leader is elected can add a new level of political intrigue to your fictional setting. Does your leader need to convince the people, or just his party? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Trials and Justice

With the United States tying itself into knots following the death of Justice Scalia and the question of whether or not there is a convention against President Barack Obama nominating a replacement to the Supreme Court, we can see how important matters of justice are to real-world civilisations. The same is true of your fictional society; what happens when one of your citizens is arrested for a crime she did not commit?

Let’s take a look at justice and judiciary processes. Continue reading