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A review of new television show The 100

While the new television program The 100 on the CW is certainly fiction it does, as fiction often does, speculate on politics and science in ways perhaps meant to address real problems past, present or future. As ordinarily with professional fiction the resemblance of the characters to real individuals is not clear and generally avoided for legal reasons. Yet general types of real people and their roles in various types of real dramas can be, and often better are, examined in fiction. Many prefer the fantasies that have at least some tenuous connection to reality. The discussion of how well fiction does that is a regular exercise. So it will be here, especially political reality.
The 100 is a sort of science fiction about a future world of nuclear catastrophe, survivors on space stations and quite numerous and very unpredictable twists and turns.
Things Star Trek did and did not foresee
The classic science fiction of the late 60s, Star Trek, did "predict," using the term loosely, cell phones, optical discs and one world government. Several ideas for long range wireless telephone service preceded Star Trek of course, but the "flip phone" when it came along much later was recognized from Star Trek. There also had already been a League of Nations and a United Nations, but the collapse of the Bipolar (Capitalism versus Communism) cold war political era came much later. Only one episode of Star Trek featured data storage on optical discs.
Things Star Trek did not predict are the internet and same sex marriage. Homosexuality was still openly listed as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973. It is still considered a mental illness by some professionals and included with other sexual addictions and disorders, also still not legal. Some members of mainstream media disagree, but they believe a person can have eight marriages, and have a different idea what a marriage is. They do not understand the problem in most of the rest of the world. To the internet, Star Trek had digitized data rather thoroughly but still had much on "tapes," a dominant digital media of the 60s. They did have a sort of "encyclopedia" digitized, but it was not interactive like the internet. The future of a democratized encyclopedia remains to be seen.
The new player in the game
The 100 predicts, or perhaps "confronts" is a better term in these cases, the idea of Zero Population Growth. ZPG was much discussed especially in the late 60s, especially in the book The Population Bomb in 1968. Science fiction of that time was still largely distracted with "colonizing" space, however ridiculous that is with the current science then and now. ZPG does not require a one child policy. Depending on various hazards, a per couple rate of about 2.1 children or more is necessary. Less will reduce, that is fail to maintain, population. Of course 2.1 is an average, no one can have a fraction of a child. If out of ten couples 9 couples have 2 children and one couple has 3 children, 2.1 is the average for all ten couples. Extra children in the average can replace those who do not live to have 2 children themselves. The greater the hazards in an area, the greater the per couple rate must be to maintain a population. Obviously if all the children lived to have 2 children of their own, then 2 would exactly equal the per couple rate for ZPG.
Many others have mentioned already, The 100 does not address any real problem in science or politics well. The people on the space station have a one child policy. While China in real life does have a one child policy for many of its areas, it is not driven by the sort of desperation found in The 100. China is a modern country with many happy citizens. As already explained, 2 children per couple as an approximate average, a sort of ideal worldwide, does not increase or decrease population. The one child policy is temporary then. The notion of mutually assured destruction, the founding premise of the television show, has been dismissed by smart bombs for many years now. Even those are no first resort no matter how smart. The notion of bombing for the sole purpose of population reduction is certifiably insane.
The mathematical necessity of killing that dominates The 100 appears to have been derived from a poor understanding of mathematics -- and worse understanding of history, science and politics. The long recognized solution, accepting personal responsibility, to the real problem, poverty, is not well represented. It hardly appears in the show. Unless they take advice from here, it probably won't later either.
Remarkably still absent from the show is any religion recognizable as one now known. It may shock the writers to learn religion has answers to the sorts of problems encountered. It is religion, not government, that upholds personal responsibility, especially recently.

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