Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Holocaust as Metaphor




by Ken Sanes

This table goes with part two of Holocaust as Metaphor.

The works of post-apocalyptic fiction examined on this page are false utopias in which humanity has fallen into what are mostly closed-in societies in which a dictator or oppressor of some sort holds them in chains. The essence of many of these stories can be found in the fact that the inhabitants mistake their prison for a paradise or an ideal world. The heroes disrupt these worlds and, in many instances, destroy them to found a new order of society.

As in all the stories examined here, these simultaneously depict minds, families, adult development, society, and myth, mostly in disguised form. Through their various levels of meaning, they depict children growing up, adults freeing themselves from neuroses, and societies ascending to a new, more ethical, stage of development.

As the reader will see, all of the stories on this page are variations on the same story about how we have to struggle against the misuse of power to attain a better life. The oppressive powers the heroes struggle against are in society and inside themselves, since all of these stories are disguised depictions of events inside minds.

But the reader should note that what is here right now is an early working draft -- it is often incomplete, vague, inadequate and rough. But it will give you a good idea of the way these stories contain multiple elements and the way these same elements recur from one story to another.

It is recommended that the reader go to the essays for a more complete account of all this, especially Holocaust as Metaphor, which provides a general overview. The essay on Logan's Run is long and fairly involved but it provides a reasonably complete example of the Ur-story, so to speak, that all these tell. the essay on The Cage and The Futurological Congress provides an account of the depictions of mind and family in those works.

This table and the one on the next page are two of the three tables that will go up. The horizontal column lists the movies, television programs and stories being described. The vertical columns lists one element or characteristic. It is divided into three categories -- basic elements, plots, and interpretations. If you read down vertically from the name of one movie, program or story, you will get a sense of the elements in that movie, program or story. But if you read across, horizontally, starting with the first element on what kind of worlds these depict, you will see the similarity in all these works, which is the essential point.



FALSE UTOPIAS -- BASIC ELEMENTS Metropolis, 1926 The Machine Stops The City and the Stars Logan's Run The Truman Show Demolition Man Brave New World The Time Machine The Cage The Futurological Congress (&2) 1984 The Electric Horseman
What kind of a world is this?
(These works depict a future humanity or a race much like our own, living in enclosed and protected cities, cocoons of illusion, and other spaces. All are controlled environments).
Metropolis is a false utopia of pleasure in the form of a high-rise city based on technology and the enslavement of those who live below it. This is a false utopia of self-involvement, based on technology and simulation, in which people live in an underground machine that provides everything they desire with authentic objects and simulated substitutes. Diaspar is a false utopia in the form of an enclosed city run by a Central Computer that provides everything people need and gives them virtual realities in place of real experiences outside the city. It is based on technology and simulation. This is a false utopia of pleasure and decadence in the form of a domed city run by a computer that gives the inhabitants everything they desire and controls their lives. It is based on technology.
This is a false utopia of 50's niceness and community that is really a giant stage set. The city is a false utopia of technology and niceness in which technology monitors people and keeps them in line.   This is a false utopia in which a future humanity, the Eloi, live a life of leisure in which their needs are provided for them, in what appears to be a park-like pastoral paradise. They are exploited by the Morlocks, mutants that live in a chthonic underground. Captain Pike is trapped in an underground complex on the planet Talos IV, where he is offered a false utopia of psychological illusions that can give him any experience he desires. The Talosians who induce these illusions in him with their mental abilities, are addicted to illusion and stuck underground because they destroyed the surface of their planet. The inhabitants of the future live in a false utopia of illusions induced by drugs that misleads them into believing they live in a world of abundance and comfort.. A partial, false utopia of propaganda  
What catastrophe or forces created this world?
(In some instances, humanity retreats into these enclosed spaces in the face of nuclear war, overpopulation and ecological catastrophe. In others, these places develop as a result of technology and simulation; power-seeking and exploitation. Many stories combine various possibilities.)
Presumably, Metropolis evolved from capitalism, technology, power-seeking, and greed.     Humanity retreated into the city after the outside world was destroyed by nuclear war, overpopulation and pollution. A television producer wants to create the illusion of an ideal world and a loveable character so those in the fallen world outside can have someone to empathize with and experience positive emotions. Presumably, society evolved into a dictatorship of enforced niceness because of political correctness.   Nuclear war destroys the world. Some human beings go underground and become monsters; others stay above and become dinner. The Talosians destroy the surface of their planet and, trapped underground, they succumb to the addictive power of illusion. Humanity destroys the planet through ecological catastrophe, and becomes addicted to a life of simulation, as a dictator immerses them in an illusion that masks the truth.    
What are the primary bifurcations when it comes to spaces or domains in the story?
(These stories include a number of places or domains the characters move through, that embody three primary contrasts: past/future; high; low; inside/outside. These, in turn, embody various qualities and ways of life: power/ powerlessness, and truth/falsehood are the two most important.)
The primary bifurcation is: above in the high-tech city versus below in the worker's factories and housing. High/Rich/Power versus Low/Poor/Powerlessness. The primary bifurcation is: inside the underground machine-city versus above ground, exposed. Underground/contained/controlled/protected/ cut-off from life versus being on the surface/ exposed/ free/ unprotected/ in contact with life. The primary bifurcation is: Inside the enclosed high-tech city versus outside, exposed. (More will be added, here.) The primary bifurcation is: inside the domed mall-like city versus the wild nature outside. Contained/protected/ controlled/cut off versus on the surface/ exposed/ free/ in contact with life.

Also the enclosed mall city versus the ruins of Washington D.C.

The primary bifurcations are inside the enclosed stage set versus the outside world. The primary bifurcation is: the ordered, controlled and affluent world above ground versus the freer but chaotic and poor world of the rebel movement, underground.   The primary bifurcation is: the above-ground pastoral gardenlike surroundings versus below in the dark caverns. Also, the present time that the time traveler comes from, versus the future. The primary bifurcation is: the false world "inside" illusions, versus seeing things as they are. They are: being in the illusion/being controlled (or addicted)/cut off from life versus reality/freedom/in contact. This is connected to another: the underground complex versus the surface. There is an implied spatial metaphor here -- being "inside" the illusion as well as the underground complex versus being outside of both. The primary bifurcation is: the false world inside illusions, versus seeing things as they are.    
What are other significant bifurcations, if any?       The bright, controlled, plaza-like areas of the mall city versus the dark area called Cathedral, where wild child are on the loose.

The bright, controlled, plaza-like areas of the mall city versus the unkempt areas and underground labyrinth beneath it.

The computer control room versus the inside of the ruins of the U.S. Capitol building.

A secondary bifurcation is between the stage set and back stage areas. Our present versus the future;     The Talosian's underground habitation versus the ship. The near future where the protagonist comes from, versus the more distant future, where the society of illusion exists.    
Who or what is the controller of this high-tech world:
(These worlds are controlled by computers/machines; and human dictators or other humanoid creatures.
The ruling class of Metropolis controls the workers below them. The ruling class is governed by a man who is the father of the hero. The machine controls everything. Humanity is inside it. The computer controls everything. It creates and re-creates the city and its inhabitants. A computer with a female voice controls everything. A malevolent television producer who is playing God with Truman's life. Technology and the niceness police keep people in line. Behind them is a corrupt manipulator.   The mutant Morlocks control the Eloi and use their chthonic machines to maintain the park-like setting. The Talosian illusionists seek to control and manipulate Pike. (Here, the controller oppresses one man, rather than an entire population, but the basic idea is the same.) A pharmacological dictator creates illusions inside which all of humanity lives.    
What pathologies does this world suffer from?
(The inhabitants of these worlds most commonly suffer from pathologies in which they are kept as children and/or cut off from life. They suffer from some combination of dependence; lack of assertion; distorted perceptions and beliefs; decadence and self-involvement: authentiphobia; addiction; and powerlessness and poverty. They may also have a fascination with simulations of evil and, as described below, they are tricked by various kind s of illusions.)
Those who live in the towers fail to recognize the humanity of those below, while they live a life of frivolous pleasures. Pathologies: Slavery and oppression, poverty, inhumanity, political manipulation, self-involvement. The inhabitants are agoraphobic shut-ins who can't do things for themselves. They depend on the machine to do things for them. They are also afraid of, and cut off from, direct experience, including from the outside world and each other, and they misperceive their own needs, nature and situation and the possibilities of life. Pathologies: dependence, lack of assertion, distorted perception, beliefs and desires, agoraphobia, authentiphobia. The inhabitants are agoraphobic shut-ins, who depend on the computer for everything and are afraid of, and cut off from, their own nature and the outside world. Pathologies: dependence, lack of assertion, agoraphobia, The inhabitants are agoraphobic shut-ins who depend on the computer for everything and are afraid of, and cut off from, their own nature and the outside world. They are isolated from the natural processes of natural birth, marriage, procreation, aging and death. They are deluded and unable to think for themselves. And they are killed at 30. Truman is kept as a dependent child, never facing the true challenges of life and never knowing true love. He is agoraphobic. The inhabitants let a regime based on niceness and political correctness control their behavior. They can't assert themselves and live a bland, monitored, overly ordered life.   The Eloi have a childlike lack of assertiveness, dependence and inability to question their situation or resist. They are killed for food. Having destroyed the surface of their planet, the Talosians are trapped underground, where they have become addicted to living a life of illusions and lost the ability to act on the world. They entrap and try to control a human prisoner, in the hopes he can be used to breed a slave population to reclaim the surface. Pathologies: addiction, lack of the ability to engage in direct action, entrapment, authentiphobia. Pike is lured in with promises of love, paradise and indulging fantasies of recreational evil, but resists. He is also tricked by some illusions. Having destroyed the planet and themselves, and brought about imminent ecological collapse, humanity is trapped by a pseudo-benevolent dictator inside a drug-induced illusion so they see a world of high technology and prosperity. Many are addicted to illusory gratifications and to acting out fantasies of evil. Pathologies: entrapment, misperception of reality, addiction to illusion, recreational evil.    
What is the palliative people are given to make up for the pathologies? The workers get none. They subsist. The ruling class gets a life of pleasure and comfort. The inhabitants of the city lead a life based on "cultural" pursuits. The machine does everything for them. They get simulations as substitutes for real things. The inhabitants get an interesting life full of pleasure and distractions. They get adventures in virtual realities in place of genuine experiences. The computer gives the inhabitants a life of comfort and decadent pleasures, including sex, drug-induced highs, and the excitement of Carousel, a ritual in which 30 year-olds are killed, with the promise they will have a chance to renew. The promise that they will get the chance to be reborn, mitigates their unhappiness over having to die at 30. A life of safety and pleasantness. The inhabitants get a well-ordered, safe, peaceful, life.   The Eloi are taken care of and live a life of leisure and unconcern, although they are so passive it appears they would tolerate their situation whatever it was. The Talosians offer Pike the palliative they rely on in their state of addicted imprisonment -- lifelike simulated fantasies as substitutes for real thing The inhabitants get illusions as substitutes for the real thing.    
What is the essential illusion. How is the inhabitants' view of reality structured, limited and constructed? As noted, the inhabitants fail to recognize the humanity of the workers or that things can be different than they are. Also, the workers mistake a simulation, a robot, for a woman who is their leader. The inhabitants believe the life they lead is good, complete and natural, and they can't imagine another one. this is the accepted way of viewing things.   The inhabitants believe the city is the world; that it is natural and that their life is all there is. They believe they have to die at 30 and have a chance to be reborn. Their view of the rest of the world is blocked by the walls of the city and the police force that stops "runners" from leaving. The opinion of other people helps keep dissident thinking under control. Truman mistakes a high tech stage set, actors and scripts for life. The inhabitants believe this is the way life should be. They believe their government is nice, as well, when they are being manipulated.   The Eloi can't imagine asserting themselves against the Morlocks or lifting a finger to do anything. They are hypnotized by the air-raid siren into herding themselves into the Morlock den. The human hero also suffers from an illusion -- that the future will be better than the present and that humanity will have conquered its destructiveness. Pike and other human beings mistake Talosian illusions for something real. The people believe they live in a world of prosperity and technology when everything is in a state of collapse.    
What are the means used to control the inhabitants and keep them out of forbidden domains? (Some of this repeats what is said in categories above.)
(The primary means of control are illusions, pleasures that legitimize the system and distract people, and force and barriers. In this, these works embody basic perceptions of how social systems control their inhabitants.
Physical barriers and sensory illusions; force; altered beliefs that make people believe this is the best and only world, and cause them to mistake ideology, illusion and technology for nature. Also pleasures are provided to make these seem like a good world, and the inhabitants desires are manipulated, so their desires serve the system.)
Barriers, force. Enclosing walls; force applied by the machine, altered desires and beliefs of the inhabitants, pleasures that make life seem good. Enclosing walls; altered desires and beliefs of the inhabitants; virtual realities that offer simulated pleasures in place of genuine experiences. The computers controls the inhabitants with enclosing walls and a police force of assassins, who kill those who try to run to avoid death at 30. It also controls them with their altered desires and beliefs and by providing a life of pleasure that makes life seem good. A fear of leaving the enclosed city and going over or on water to leave it has been induced in him. Physical barriers block his escape and stop him from seeing back stage areas. Scripting and staging ensure he won't see anything he isn't supposed to see.

At the same time, the illusion is created of a genuine life, with lifelike scenes, situations, interactions, emotions and experiences.

Technology; the PC Police, their beliefs.   The Morlocks use force, when necessary but are aided by the passivity of the Eloi. Walls block entry to the Morlock's underground world. The Talosians try to control the inhabitants of their prison with enclosing walls; with illusions that trick people into believing they are trapped or in danger when they are not, and by offering illusory pleasures to make life seem good. The dictatorship controls people with an all-encompassing illusion that falsifies people's perception of the world, combined with illusions that offer pleasures, to keep people satisfied.    
FALSE UTOPIAS -- THE PLOTS Metropolis The Machine Stops The City and the Stars Logan's Run The Truman Show Demolition Man Brave New World The Time Machine The Cage The Futurological Congress 1984  
Where does the hero come from?
(The heroes or protagonists in these works come from within the society or else they come from the past, by being taken out of suspended animation or traveling by time machine, and they have more conventional means of transportation, such as a space ship.)
He comes from the ruling class. He is the son of the dictator. He is an inhabitant who lives in the machine. He is an inhabitant of, and was created by, the city. He is an inhabitant of the city. Truman is adopted by a corporation to become a human image. He hibernates from the past and is "awakened" in the future.   He comes from the past, via time machine. He travels to Talos via a space ship. He hibernates from the past and is "awakened" in the future. He is an inhabitant.  
How does the hero become involved He follows a woman down into the underground, where he encounters the horrors of the life of the workers. He has an inner urge to escape and be free. He was programmed to want to escape and learn the truth. He is recruited by the computer-dictator to leave the city and find Sanctuary, a place where runners are believed to escape to. he grows up in this fake world. He is unfrozen to do a task.   He chooses to travel into the future in search of a better world and his time machine is then stolen by the Morlocks. His ship is lured with a false distress call and he is then imprisoned. He keeps trying to find out the truth of the society.    
What spaces and domains does the hero travel through.   He escapes outside but is pulled back in.   Logan and Jessica travel through various domains, experiencing life's possibilities and various truths. They travel from the ordered, mall-like spaces of the city, which is an inauthentic life of control; through the wild untamed world of Cathedral; through the pleasure palace of the orgy room; down through the labyrinthine world that is the roots of the city; out into exposed nature where they suffer and enjoy being free; to the ruins of Washington where they learn the truths about marriage, procreation, aging and death; and back to the city to free it. He escapes outside but is taken back in. he escapes via boat through a storm and reaches the end of the world. The hero travels from the present to the future when he is awakened and from the orderly surface world to the underground sewers, where a disorderly but free rebel movement is hiding out.   The hero time travels from his present, a fallen world of violence he abhors; to various times in the future where he sees progress and mass destruction, then to a pastoral paradise that is a false utopia, then down into the caverns of the Morlocks, on his way to freeing the Eloi. The hero travels to the planet; the devastated surface; underground, into illusions of danger, paradise, recreational evil and hellish suffering, and then he escapes the illusion and the underground complex. The protagonist travels from the near future to the more distant future where he is inside an illusion; then out of the illusion so he sees the world as it is; then he awakes and realizes it was all a dream.    
What is the bridge between domains.   He finds an escape route.   A labyrinthine underworld to a cave opening is the way out. A physical bridge; a boat on water and a doorway to the outside. He is unfrozen and travels physically down into the sewers.   A time traveling device. He takes a spaceship to the planet; and the power of the mind transports him into illusory worlds. Drugs reveal the truth beyond the other, drug-induced illusions. Ultimately, he wakes up.    
What do the characters do that brings this world as it is to an end or what do they try to do, if anything?   He tries to escape to the surface. in the end, the machine stops working. The machine and the mechanized civilization it created are destroyed. He escapes to the outside world, and learns the truth. He escapes to the outside world, learns the truth about birth, marriage, procreation and death and tries to tell the inhabitants. He reveals to the computer there is no sanctuary, causing it to short circuit and destroying the city, so the people walk out into the world and are free. Truman sneaks out and reaches a door to the outside. He brings together the assertive but less ordered world of the rebels with the unassertive but ordered world of the surface.   He teaches the Eloi how to defend themselves and together they defeat the Morlocks. Pike escapes, dooming the Talosians since using him to breed a slave population to reclaim the surface was their last hope. He wakes up.    
What is the new society that is created at the end? It will be a society no longer based on oppression. . A new human society will be born on the surface.   Humanity is exiled from the false timeless paradise and will once again work amid nature, build, procreate, and create history. Truman will have a chance for a genuine life and genuine love. The new society will have the best qualities of both sides.   Humanity must be exiled from a timeless and deadly paradise or Elysium and begin to work and create history again. Pike escapes and resumes a life based on exploration and progress. The Talosians are doomed. Humanity is doomed.    
FALSE UTOPIAS -- THE MEANINGS Metropolis The Machine Stops The City and the Stars Logan's Run   Demolition Man Brave New World The Time Machine The Cage The Futurological Congress 1984  
What is the depiction of mind Officially Metropolis, towering above, represents the head; the workers are the hands, and the two must be brought together with the heart. More to the point, Metropolis is the ego; the repressed workers, full of rage, teeming below, and trying to surge up and invade, are the repressed unconscious. The contained world in the machine is a neurotic mind, defended from the outside world, and from independence and life. The contained city is a neurotic mind, defended from the outside world and life. The contained city is a neurotic mind, defended from the outside world and life. The open but contained, and orderly mall-like spaces, are the world of the ego. Cathedral, the dark wild place where violent children who can't be controlled are contained, is the personal unconscious. The labyrinthine underground full of evidence of the city's past, which Logan and Jessica travel through to escape, is the collective unconscious. They travel into themselves to be free. The stage set is the conscious personality lost in falsehood and childlike niceness. Back stage areas are the unconscious. The producer is the internalized image of the father keeping his son in a state of childlike dependence and impotence. Truman is the aspect of the self that desires to know the truth, grow up and genuinely know a woman. His mother is the internalized image of the mother who also is trying to keep him a child. The movie is a Jungian parable about a one-sided mind. The city is a conscious mind that has gone too far into niceness and order. The rebel movement, underground, is the unconscious shadow. The hero rebalances the personality by reincorporating the freedom-loving, assertive rebel movement in the underground or unconscious with the conscious mind or surface society.   The time traveler journeys into a future that is a disguised depiction of his own mind. The park-like setting is the ego or conscious personality; the Eloi are thoughts or aspects of his conscious self. The Morlocks in the underground caverns are the unconscious, which persecutes and terrorizes and destroys the conscious personality. More specifically, the Morlocks are the internalized image of cannibalistic parents, persecuting and destroying the conscious personality, and keeping it from being assertive and destroying it in punishment when it is. The air raid siren is the effect of anxiety as an alarm, that goes thoughts to go underground. The time traveler is disturbing thoughts and desires for independence, perhaps caused by the influence of another person. In the end, the conscious personality invades the unconscious and destroys the persecutory figures. Where the unconscious was, the ego is. Pike is the conscious self traveling into the underworld of dreams, where his internalized parents, the Talosians, try to control his will. It is also traveling into the illusions of neurosis in which the individual misperceives things. The future society trapped in an illusion is a neurotic mind trapped in false ideas or illusions, refusing to see the world as it is, and endlessly indulging in fantasy.    
What is the depiction of the family The father-leader is an oppressive parent who keeps all the prerogatives for himself; the workers are children in revolt. The machine is a smothering, controlling parent -- a mother who spoils and infantilizes her children. The computer is a smothering parent who ultimately knows that the children will have to grow up and leave, and so plants the desire to do so in one of them. The computer is a smothering parent. Given the female voice it is obviously intended to be a mother. Same as above, but here what is depicted is a more mundane view of Truman, family, home and neighborhood.     The Morlocks are parents as bad objects, who keep their children from growing up, asserting themselves and being independent. The Talosians are an effete father trying to control Pike, a son. He offers the son the mother as a love object, disguised as a young and beautiful woman. The pharmacological dictator is a father who keeps his children controlled and imprisoned in false ideas.    
What is the depiction of birth   Humanity is held in the womb of mad technology. The protagonist slips outside, above ground, but is dragged back in by the machine.   The city is a womb that contains the child inhabitants, in a mother who refuses to let them be born. Logan's escape from the city re-creates the four stages of birth as described by Grof -- peaceful union, disturbance without an exit, an exit becomes evident; birth into the world. Truman is being born from the womb of dependence, niceness and inconsequential life into the world and adulthood.              
What historic models are used:   There are hints of the middle ages and monasteries in the ordered, controlled world with an interest in cultural pursuits.   Ancient Greece and Rome, as depicted in the movies. (See the essay on the movie for details on this.)       Ancient Greece.        
What from contemporary society (contemporary with the writing of the story) is used as a model or raw material. The movie is a fictionalized depiction of capitalist decadence and the oppression of workers in Germany and elsewhere. The depiction of the workers revolution is undoubtedly affected by Russian revolution. Life in the machine probably embodies perceptions of communism, fascism, dictatorship, mass society; large buildings, ships, hotels, and so on, that can hold many people at once, and universities and intellectuals who are viewed as replacing scholarship for real life. Also the existence of political dissidents. Computers, television, enclosed malls, planned cities and developments, consumer capitalist society. Dissidence. Malls, Disney, singles complexes, the 1960s counterculture and 70s popular culture; dictatorship, manipulative politicians and leaders, propaganda from politicians and corporations. Dissidence. Television, reality programming, theme parks, perhaps Internet voyeurism. This future society embodies the qualities of standardized, corporate "McDonalds" culture, planned developments, political correctness, liberal do-goodism and government as nanny.   The caverns are a fictionalized depiction of factories. The Talosians are a depiction of television addiction. This future society is based in part on ideas about television addiction, drugs, dictatorships, capitalist consumer society.    
What does the story take from ideology and political philosophy The story presents the communist-socialist view of capitalism as based on a rich ruling class oppressing the workers and of workers being enslaved by being incorporated into the process of technological mass production and turned into machines. The story expresses a liberal-democratic view in which the machine society represents communism, fascism and mass society, which are seen as stealing freedom, self-determination, and individuality. The story also embodies the liberal idea that freedom and individuality are essential to humanity and more important than comfort. And it expresses the fear that technology might infantilize and trap us, and separate us from life and nature. Whereas in Metropolis, technology enslaves humanity in its role as worker, turning it into a production machine, here it enslaves humanity in its role as consumer and citizen, turning people into helpless children and monitored conformists. The story also includes the view of ideology as something psychological and cultural, in which people's needs and desires, and their view of themselves, are transformed, so the illusion encompasses their self and mind. The story expresses the idea that technology might infantilize and trap us, and separate us from life and nature. The movie expresses the idea that technology might infantilize and trap us. and separate us from life and nature. It also expresses the following ideas: the view of capitalist society as governed by corporate ruling classes that infantilize the public and distract it with consumer abundance while they steal its freedom; the belief that promiscuous self-oriented lifestyles introduced in the 1960s are based on a failure to grow up; the traditional, Judeo-Christian belief that a good life is based on hard work and marriage and taking responsibility. The movie also expresses the view of ideology as something psychological and cultural that transforms needs and desires and alters people's view of themselves and the world, so the illusion encompasses their self and mind and they live in an invented reality. The view of governing classes as manipulating media to impose a state of false consciousness on people and surround them with an ideology  embodied in a constructed reality, The movie expresses the conservative view of political correctness and liberal do-goodism as new forms of tyranny, and the belief that an overly ordered world is a form of tyranny.   The movies expresses the view that one must assert oneself and fight for one's freedom, to build a better world, or we will be destroyed. It asserts that, behind false paradises, there is usually a darker side. This television story expresses the fear that television addiction will sap our will. The story expresses the fear that television addiction and drugs will destroy our will. It also expresses the view that capitalist society offers a world of consumer abundance in which the goods are really illusions -- images and distractions to cover up the truth. And it offers the view of ideology as something cultural that places people in an invented reality.    
What are the parallels from mythology and more ancient works of imagination? A race of humans who are like mythic demigods live in a heaven of technology, while the rest of humanity is trapped in an underworld of chthonic machines. The Christlike son of the ruler descends to free humanity; and,, in one scene, is symbolically crucified on a machine, as he takes the suffering of the workers on himself. The system is also depicted as Moloch devouring the workers. In the end, he reconciles the upper and lower worlds. A race of people is trapped by a malevolent mythic goddess in a chthonic underworld. The hero briefly escapes to the surface. A race of humans is trapped by a mythic god in a prison decorated as a pleasure palace and paradise. The hero escapes and returns to free his people.... The city is a paradise; Logan and Jessica travel through an underworld to the mundane world of the surface. They are Adam and Eve. as described in the essay.

Logan is a savior figure, who tries to tell his people the truth but is crucified on a "surrogation" (interrogation) chair by the computer..

The computer is a Goddess who devours human beings that are sacrificed to her.

Adam leaves Eden. As in many other works, the message is that he must rebel against God, leave paradise and go into the world to grow up and live. It thus involves a reversal of good and bad in the paradise myth. (Perhaps there are echoes of Blake.) Also -- human beings escape from the underworld and escape the clutches of evil gods.      Images of paradise, a chthonic underground and monsters. The story includes elements of Beauty and the Beast. The beasts die and the blond Eloi get the beasts' assertiveness and ability to build and fight. It also includes elements of Hansel and Gretel -- the Eloi are innocent children menaced by cannibalistic ghouls. The hero is trapped by mythic beings with magic powers of illusion in an underworld. Humanity is trapped by a magician with the power of illusion.    
What more recent imaginative works appear to have influenced this?     Extensive similarities in conception and details to The Machine Stops. Brave New World?                
What ironic reversals are in the stories Human beings become like machines, while a machine (a robot) is mistaken for being human. That obviously captured something about what the future was going to bring. Humanity lives inside a machine. Technology, which is supposed to free humanity, enslaves it.   Technology, which is supposed to free humanity, enslaves it and, in one instances, freezes it for a dinner that never arrives. A life of self-involvement, pleasure, and free sex, which is supposed to free humanity, enslaves it. Television, which is supposed to mirror and add to life, becomes life. Human beings, who are supposed to watch television, end up living inside television. A Hollywood director becomes a dictator.   Niceness isn't so nice.   The ruling class toils and lives in darkness, under the exploited class, which lives a life of leisure in an apparent paradise. Paradise turns out to be a killing field. The air-raid siren, once intended to call people into the safety of shelters, is now used to call human cattle into the underground, where they will be eaten. The Talosians are afflicted by a curse -- their dreams seem to come true. Having wishes fulfilled ends up ruining them. They end up slaves to their own power. Consumer abundance turns out to be television-like images.  

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