In order to preserve the environment and its precious resources, humans are locked inside of opaque domes and forbidden to know of the outside world. There are no leaders, no poor, no rich, no ill, no sexism, no racism. The tyranny of differential ability has been rendered moot: talent is of no use, since there is nothing that need be accomplished. There is nothing to aspire to, no challenges that could cause disparities to exist.
The Ideal Government has been programmed into an all-powerful, all-seeing computer by (it is assumed) the most brilliant minds. The computer’s software is complete: all human interactions have been rigorously either prescribed or proscribed. All that is not forbidden is mandatory.
There is no love. There is no marriage. All license and vice is allowed, even encouraged. If you can catch it and it doesn’t fight back, you can and should have sex with it. There is no risk of pregnancy or of parenthood. Babies, conceived technologically, with those less than perfect culled, are born in the factory-like Nursery. Curiosity about children is seen as perverted. The words “mother” and “father” are virtually unknown. The State raises the children according to the best scientific principles, instilling from birth the belief the State Knows Best. Some children are allowed to run wild, the world indifferent to their fate, until they reach puberty and thus become attractive (and useful) to the Dome’s citizens.
When a person becomes 30, he is ritually killed so that he might not use up more resources than his “fair share.” The State has become the sole religion. Those undergoing this voluntarily euthanasia (aschimothusia) are told they will be “renewed”, a vague, never wholly explained process wherein it is believed the “essence” of the person will be “input” into the next new baby. This is not a theology derived from a deity: just an unadorned dictate from the State.
Those who refuse renewal and who value their lives and who flee from the State’s butchery are called “runners”. Runners are pursued by “Sandmen” who pitilessly slay the runners. The runners believe in a place where the State does not control every aspect of a person’s life. This place is called Sanctuary.
In the book the people are slain at 21, not 30, but for the same reason: too many people. The book was written when it was feared a “population bomb” was imminent (much as the horrors of global warming are nowadays going to strike soon, always soon). The movie insinuated that the domes were of necessity, that outside the domes the air was toxic. Outside was also free of the watchful eye of the most beneficent government.
But inside was a progressive’s dream, which is to say, a nightmare. Every aspect of life is planned. Freedom is abolished in the name of the fairness and equality. People live only for continual, instantaneous self pleasure. All relationships except those between the Self and the State are viewed with suspicion or are made impossible. The only thing citizens can look forward to is death and “renewal”, wherein the dismal process repeats ad nauseum.
The movie ended by revealing all was a facade, that the State was a fake and a phony.
That was the movie in 1977. One can only guess what they’ll do with it in 2013, if indeed it gets made. Let’s do guess. This being a Hollywood movie, we have to have good and bad guys. Logan will be a good guy, of course, running from whomever controls the domes. He’ll have a more powerful, louder, glitzier gun (which always will aim true for him, but misfire for his enemies). He might even be a she, given we’ve lost our taste for manliness.
Thirty-five years ago the bad guy was the State itself, as proved above. Who will it be now. An evil corporation? Coake Corporation (get it? get it?) enslaves humanity to increase profits? Utterly nonsensical of course, because who will have money and where could anybody spend it if they did?
That leaves only one boogeyman known to the left coast. Religion.
Think about that. They’d have to dump the wanton sex and chemically induced states of “happiness”, since that isn’t very religious. Out goes the Nursery in favor of mandated man-woman-only marriage, a bond created in the goal of raising children. Instead, the dome-dwellers would be made to…what? Pray all day?
Or maybe it’ll be a riff on the environmentalist angle. The people all live outside, strewing trash and using up “resources”, and are forbidden to get inside, where the progressive dream is played out only for a lucky few.