He loved Big Brother
It can't have escaped your notice that there is a general election around the corner. Yes, it's almost time for the peoples of the United Kingdom to once more elect a ruling body who will guide us hand-in-hand to a brighter future. Possibly.
But that got us thinking about some of the governments from science fiction and how they're inevitably a rum lot. From evil galactic Empires to terrifying fascist organisations, here are ten of the worst offenders. Don't forget to vote on May 7th.
The Galactic Empire
The Empire formed out of the remnants of the Old Republic, thanks to some shady political machinations by its leader, Senator Palpatine. His rule was characterised by oppression, cruelty, poorly trained Stormtroopers, cool uniforms and a weird obsession with building moon-shaped battle stations, despite their inherent impracticality.
We dont yet know whats become of the Empire - it certainly looked like it was in trouble at the end of Return Of The Jedi but the trailer for this years The Force Awakens suggests that it still exists in some form to cause trouble.
The government of Panem
A common theme for a lot of these governments is that they were established after some apocalyptic crisis. So it is with the rulers of Panem in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular The Hunger Games trilogy and their attendant movie adaptations.
In the ruins of future North America and Canada, the people of the Capitol live decadent lives while the rest of the country split into numerous Districts starve. At the head of all this is President Snow, a tyrannical despot with a fondness for letting his subjects kill each other. Unsurprisingly, that turns out to have been a big mistake on his part...
They are the law in the bleak future of Judge Dredd. With humanity crammed into sprawling Mega Cities and crime rampant, these deadly enforcers are judge, jury, executioner and quite fond of uniforms that look like theyre from some peculiar fetish club.
Joe Dredd is a morally rigid, stone-cold bastard whose only guiding principal is the written word of The Law - despite the fact that this is regularly proven to be flawed. The irony is that, compared to some of his fellow Judges, hes actually fairly sympathetic. You wouldn't want to cross him, but at least Joe's fair.
We don't know a lot about the Alliance or precisely how evil it is most of what we hear comes from the biased Captain Reynolds, after all. We do know that it has made some deadly mistakes (creating the Reavers in Serenity) and that it's perfectly happy to employ shady characters to ensure that it gets its way. Then again, the same can be said about most governments throughout history... Still, any organisation that kidnaps and brainwashes people is not to be trusted, so we'll take Mal's word for it that they're bad news.
The Party watches over all of the citizens of Oceania, controlling what they think and say and do and making sure that nobody steps out of line. A totalitarian regime practicing Ingsoc (English Socialism), they are lead by Big Brother - or at least thats what they want you to think.
Ingsocs brutal hierarchy divides people into three categories: the ruling Inner Party, the Outer Party who maintain party policy and are heavily spied upon, and the Proles who make up the bulk of the population and who are kept hungry so that the Inner Party can maintain control.
We don't see much of the actual governing bodies that run the future in Fahrenheit 451, but we do meet their pyromaniac police who are tasked with burning any literature that crosses their path. The inspiration was, of course, the Nazis who themselves were not shy of organising mass book burnings.
The bleak realities of Thatcher's Britain fuelled the fire of Alan Moore and David Lloyd's superb V For Vendetta. In it, the country is ruled by Norsefire a gang of unrepentant fascists led by Adam Susan who have driven the country into ruin following a period of world-wide conflict. The film version is less nuanced, but made up for it with a snarling John Hurt as Susan, here renamed Sutler.
This evil organisation rules Lyra's world in the His Dark Materials trilogy. They stamp out heresy and try to prevent the populace finding out the truth about Dust the mysterious particle that surrounds sentient species. Their three weapons include fear, surprise and a fanatical devotion to killing their enemies, lest they lose power. What's this? A shadowy religious organisation that's both hugely powerful and wildly corrupt? Bit far fetched, isn't it?
Terry Gilliam's retro-futurist masterpiece takes 1984 as its starting point and then twists it into an even more bureaucratic nightmare. The world that Sam Lowry lives in is a totalitarian state, but one characterised by a sort of demented whimsy. A heating engineer is considered a terrorist and characters are arrested and killed because of tiny printing errors. It would be funny, if it wasn't so terrifying. And like the world of 1984, Lowry finds that he can't trust anyone...
The Sons of Jacob
The Republic of Gilead fell into the hands of the Sons Of Jacob when they staged a terrorist attack and used it as a means to grasp power. Ultra-right wing, religious and completely patriarchal, they subjugate women, suspending their rights entirely and indoctrinating them into their repressive believes. Meanwhile, their secret police The Eyes Of God keep watch on the populace.