When Real Life Becomes a Dystopian Sci-Fi Horror Show

Austin Dragon Writer Musings, Writing 10 Comments

“Where did Austin go?”

Yes, I’m sure many of you have asked that and some may have even rightly guessed it has to do with the new COVID-19 world we’re living in. Well, it is and it isn’t. My problem is not the virus—condolences to all those who have died. My problem is the devastating harm being done to Americans—especially the middle class and working poor—as a direct result of the policies of clueless politicians with delusions of god-hood and so-called “experts.” Those who are the most vulnerable—those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities—are not being protected because politicians are obsessed with the quarantine of entire nations. The virus is killing the elderly, mostly with pre-existing conditions, not the masses. So why are the politicians and the media acting like it’s the Bubonic Plague when it’s not?

 This is not a political post because, as many of you know, my author website and emails are always partisan politics-free. You vote for whoever you want to and I’ll do the same. What I am here to lament about is the collapse of my home city and state of 30 years—Los Angeles and the once-golden state of California.

We’ve been in dire straits for a long time here in the “city of angels.” First it was the public schools for which I had joined the ed reform movement to fix as soon as I first arrived from New York back in the early ‘90s. Then there was the slow decline of civic society—faith communities, philanthropic community, and business community. The homelessness issue was also a part of Los Angeles going back to the ‘70s but exploded into every corner of the city back around 2013/2014 because the rich wanted to develop the neglected Downtown LA and the “homeless industrial complex,” both nonprofits and developers, figured out they could make a lot of money off the “homeless.” Homelessness is not about people without homes, but a mental health and drug abuse crisis that we have still failed to properly address across the country.

Then came COVID-19 and the leaders of my city and state took their madness to levels I always knew they were capable of. But what has shocked me has been the blind compliance of average people, even knowing the policies they were being asked to follow were illogical, arbitrary, and likely illegal. That is what has disturbed me. When the dust settles so many businesses will have shuddered forever in my once-great city of LA and so many people will have fled both the city and state that there will be barely anyone left, and certainly not enough to pay the high taxes to keep city services running properly. These city leaders have already chased the middle class out of the city as they did with San Francisco.

I drive around the filthy streets filled with the “homeless.” I drive around streets will with empty storefronts everywhere with “For Lease” signs and I am not filled with despair. I am filled with anger. This is 2020 in the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Why is it that I find myself in what could easily be mistaken for some post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/cyberpunk, dystopian horror TV series, with or without zombies?

To answer the question, “Where did I go?” and “What have I been up to?” I was thinking—and deciding. My writing is powered by my emotions, and they've been a bit preoccupied with the anger of watching people lose their livelihoods, everything they’ve worked for, and their businesses. So many people living with uncertainty, and held hostage by the “essential” overlords who run our city and state. (Boy, I do sound like the budding Resistance leader of some sci-fi novel.)

I spent a lot of my life in politics to the point I got so sick of it I walked away from it all in 2011. Two years later I’d publish my first book. This year, I published my twenty-fourth. I should have always been writing, but it wasn't a priority then. If you’re born with a gift—use it!

Unlike so many others, including many friends, I will not be “Escaping From LA” for Texas, Arizona, or wherever else Californians—politically left, right, and center–are escaping to. Everyone’s running away, but no one is stopping to fight in a serious way. So… that’s what I’ll do. That's what I've decided. I’m going into politics—or back into politics even though I swore, I was done with it for good. I’ll run for office in the city I’ve called home for 30 years. We all know the Edmund Burke famous quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I’ll either win and pull my city out of its dystopian nightmare into a proverbial sci-fi paradise, or I’ll fail, pack up my bags, move to Sussex, and keep bees just like Sherlock Holmes.

Either way…there’s going to be an avalanche of books coming as my emotions have focus again. My creative mind never stops. The books just wait in the queue of my mind until I sit down at the laptop and write them.

So, what do you think of this post?

Leave your comments below

The following two tabs change content below.

Austin Dragon

Author of over 20 books in science fiction, fantasy, and classic horror. His works include the epic fantasy Fabled Quest Chronicles, the cyberpunk detective Liquid Cool series, the international epic After Eden Series, and the classic Sleepy Hollow Horrors. He is a native New Yorker but has called Los Angeles, California home for more than twenty years. Words to describe him, in no particular order: U.S. Army, English teacher, one-time resident of Paris, political junkie, movie buff, Fortune 500 corporate recruiter, renaissance man, and dreamer.

Comments 10

  1. Great reflections, Good and strong decision, more must actively engage to create change. Makes me reconsider my own actions….
    Wish you best of luck

  2. Such powerful emotions and good intentions. Politics is a dirty game. If you are not ready to play dirty, you shouldn’t even bother to go back. The level of Change you want to achieve can not be done through one person but it has to be a collective effort. Or else, you’ll find out that the people you are breaking your back for will be the ones fightig to get rid tof you.
    In anycase, I wish you good luck in your endeavors

  3. Sir, I wish you luck. I’ve never understood how these people were elected into office to run down the state not for one term but for years. Hopefully you can make the difference that is needed. It will be a sad though understandable day for your readers if you cannot continue writing. Many good thoughts going your way.

  4. Good for you, Austin! Fight for those who do not have a voice any more.

    I totally respect anyone who has the courage of their convictions, and acts upon them. Good luck. I have a feeling you’re going to need it…

  5. As a former Sacramento area resident, now a San Antonio property owner of 2 months, I can relate to your post. We had made plans well before the current “crisis” to move, as my husband’s family and our son,wife and children are here. The rest of my family are in So. Cal. in the Valley, but things were no better there, so close to LA, than they were in Sacto.

    I can’t help thinking that things went awry when we stopped looking to ourselves and, if necessary, to our immediate area for assistance and started turning to the Government, “A Chicken in Every Pot”. Handing over more and more of our money so we would be given dole to “help” us instead of investing in the infrastructure in our own cities and communities. Leading, of course, to the Nanny State CA has become, legislating and acting “for our own good”. When we allow others to think and act for us, we are slaves to *their* idea of what is right, wrong, allowed and prohibited. I would love to say that it is wildly better in Texas, but, unfortunately, while not yet as dire as California, as more and more folks bring their California ideas of what the government should provide, I fear that things here will rapidly decline.

    Do try and make a difference via elected service, but remember that the word politics comes from “Poli, a Latin word meaning ‘many’ and tics meaning ‘bloodsucking parasites’ “. (Robin Williams) The Good-ole-Boy network is intractable, and until term limits and other reforms on those who govern are enacted, little will change no matter how sincere the effort is to break the cycle of the reelected who owe so much to so few. Not that I’m in any way discouraging you, I wish you well, but I hope you are going to keep your sense of outrage when the inevitable wall of “that’s not how it is done” surrounds you.

    Me? I would make the “non-profit” and the “not-for-profit” entities immediately change the official designation wording to “profit-invested-in-us” so that the average person understands that money IS being made, just used for their own needs as much or most likely even MORE than whatever they claim to be doing for others. Whenever I am asked to donate to a cause, the first question I always ask is “what percentage of what is donated goes to administrative cost”? When they are keeping 90-95% of what they collect they are not working to help whatever group or charity, they are making money for themselves and donating a pittance for the inevitable tax write-off against expenses. Religious and other organizations with tax-free status should not be. Show what you collected and what you did with it. Like we have to do every year.

    Oh, and make Income Tax filing due the month before the election of House, Senate, and Federal officials when the amount paid in taxes is fresh in the mind. IS your hired worker spending YOUR money they way YOU want them to? I think it would make for interesting campaigning having to answer to so many folks freshly reminded of what it takes out of each family’s budget to “run things” for them from so far away.

  6. Good to hear from you. I wish you the best of luck in your bid for elected office. God knows that we need more people willing to do the job without playing the normal politics!

  7. So good to hear from you, Austin!
    Every country is in a mess, Europe looks like it’s going downhill, not to mention Spain, where I live. Situation is dire and despairing, jobless, homeless, poverty has increased to historical levels.
    I don’t like politics and politicians less! Lol. But, without wanting to it’s in our lives, so I understand your disinclination towards politics.
    But, if your heart pulls you towards it again, telling you to do it because you can change things, I say, GO FOR IT. I will support you, knowing the decent and kind person you are from your books, which are fabulous and I love them! I hope you never stop writing though! Who knows, you might become a president!

    Be blessed, Austin. Stay safe and be well.

    Love, Light,


  8. Enjoy your writing and masterful use of language, however I am flummoxed that anyone who escaped the political divisive hate machine would jump back in knowing full well how crooked and actually criminal a vast number of them are. Good luck with your future endeavors.

    1. Post

      Hi Pat. I couldn’t agree with you more about the endless “hate machine,” but we really have only three choices–ignore the growing problems, run away (which I did when I left NY for Los Angeles 30 years ago) or fight. If I could save my city from outside of political arena, I would, but all the institutions outside of government–churches/synagogues, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, “honest” nonprofits, etc.–have been weakened over the decades to a point of nothingness. There is no true counterforce to the political madness. The only avenue is to be super-rich, and as we know more often than not they are part of the problem. So I don’t have $250 million dollars in the bank like James Patterson, so I’ll be going into local office.

Leave a Reply