Rebellion against a totalitarian government is an extremely common theme even in stories written by statists. Obviously, being an anarchist, I can't have a government in my story without portraying it as evil. But after both of my current novels do that, I feel like it gets old. But what else can I do?

Obviously government isn't the only kind of evil, just a particular form of many evils combined into a single, deeply depraved idea. But the only apparent option for me besides writing a rebellion story is, of course, setting a story in an anarchy. And I'd even love to do that. There are so many awesome ideas for stories you could tell there, themes and tropes you could explore that just can't really exist in a story set in a ruled country. It could be a great way to show how society could and would work without a violent government. Except... stories depend on conflict.

I feel like to set a story in anarchy, I'd have to have a powerful malevolent force to drive the plot, and no matter what I do with that it would be seen as, "Look, in anarchy you'd have these gangs of villains rising to power all the time, which you don't have in the real world. Obvious anarchy is unworkable".

So I feel like I can't set a story in an anarchy. It would only not be counterproductive to people who are already disabused of statism.

Maybe the solution is to write a story about a less life-threatening conflict. Having the conflict just be about the problems people face that don't involve any crime or things that people should consider criminal. I do believe it's possible for such a story to be interesting and have high "stakes". But unfortunately I don't think I've ever seen such a thing done. I don't have any examples to learn from, and I've kind of been trained (and trained myself) to immediately associate epic stories with traditional (flawed) Western conceptions of what "stakes" require.

There are some stories that manage to sidestep the question entirely, like Doki Doki Literature Club. But that story was still ambiguously set in Japan. A lot of the fanfic for it legitimizes government. Also that requires a fairly narrow range of premises that I don't think I could do well, and even if I could it wouldn't be showing the beauty of anarchy; it'd be at best neutral.


There's no authentication or anything. If you want to authenticate sign your comment with a PGP key or something :) Markdown formatting is supported.