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What is Hopepunk?

We have all heard of Steampunk,  but what is Hopepunk? Empty streets, surveillance, lockdowns, abuse of power, human rights taken away for profit, exploitation of individuals and the environment, persecution and dehumanisation of minorities – all warn of a slide into dystopia. Poor governance in the face of COVID-19 was the final straw that broke the back of optimism for many. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot asks “Is hope here yet?” The current answer to this eternal existential dilemma is Hopepunk, first coined by author Alexandra Rowland. Spontaneously, out of our bleak reality rose this literary movement.

It is distinguished by literary characters that encompass love, kindness and faith in humanity when confronted by incredibly negative and hopeless odds. It is in antithesis to nihilism. Hopepunk is founded on the belief that fighting for a better world and resisting the cynical, omnipresent, and power-hungry rulers is the way forward. Many of the characters in Hopepunk are sensitive and caring. There is a theme of cooperating to achieve better social outcomes for all.

The Hopepunk movement echoes the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, that rose up in the shadow of the Vietnam War. The counterculture became revolutionary for some people. Human sexuality, women’s rights, authority, and capitalism were challenged by people asserting peace and love as the answer. The Punk subculture evolved around the mid-seventies and was striving for individual freedoms. The current Hopepunk movement appears to have influences from both these antecedents. These movements all demonstrate people’s resilience and their subsequent ability to reinvent themselves when the future is immeasurably bleak. Our ability to survive is remarkable.

Hopepunk allows us to disappear into a fantasy world of optimism. If you want to check it out, hopepunk authors include: Alexandra Rowland, Veronica M. Strachan and Becky Chambers.

Australian authors and titles include:

Crew, Gary      The Visions of Ichabod X
Ireland, Julie  Hanging by a Thread and Other Stories
Macdonald, CarolineThe Lake at the End of the World
Millard, Glenda    The Duck and the Darklings
Amsterdam, Steven    Things We Didn’t See
Arnold, Luke   Dead Man in a Ditch
Fraillon, Zana The Lost Soul Atlas
Kaufman, Amie and Spooner, Meagan.The Other Side of the Sky
Murray, Kirsty; Dhar, Payal and Roy, Anita.Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean

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