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Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Writing about the Future has always been about taking current trends and assuming they will continue for decades to extreme levels.
One of the current perceived "big problems" in the United States (and the rest of the developed world) is the growing rate of obesity.
Thus, we have the Big Fat Future—assuming that this trend continues. The new dystopian future doesn't have people starving to death. No, the average person in the future is too full of lard to move. They survive entirely on fattening processed foods and move about using some sort of hover technology. Such settings implicitly assume a degree of Modern Stasis, as they rely on technological solutions to obesity neither advancing nor becoming more accessible with the passage of time.
The main character, naturally, has to be attractive. So he will not be one of these future fat people. He'll be unusually thin for his era, or a robot or an alien or an AI or something.
Contrast with We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future.
Anime and Manga
- This happens in the second story arc of the Galaxy Express 999 manga. The new Big Bad basically conquers Earth by giving everyone all the food they can eat & turning everyone who wasn't cyborged in the first story arc into a hideously fat Gonk. The rest of the galaxy's human population, especially the women remain as impossibly waifish as they are in the rest of Leiji Matsumoto's work, though.
- This also happened a few times on the TV series; In the first instance Tetsuo visited a world where robots did all the work and humans had become obese blobs who become so fat they regularly burst out of their own homes. The primary crux of the plot is a woman who wants to escape the planet with her boyfriend (who is already one of the afformentioned blobs).
- The people of the République Venus from Battle Angel Alita: Last Order have developed into "Humpty-Dumpty" forms due to nanotechnology and limitless surgery.
- The grotesque Judge Dredd storyline "The League of Fatties" dealt with over-eaters gone to extremes. Although this was treated as one of the bizarre subcultures that can be found right across Mega-City One, the fatties would not have been able to reach the monstrous extremes they did without the supporting technology of the future setting.
- Mad posited a Zeerust future where Western man, relying more and more on wheeled mobility, ends up round-bottomed with vestigial legs—back in the early '60s.
- Fallout: Nuka Break has the protagonist originating from Vault 10, a Vault that was backed by the sponsorship of the Nuka-Cola corporation and made to test the Eat-O-Matic Food Dispensers made for Vault cafeterias. Combined with a complete lack of exercise equipment installed, the inhabitants grew overweight, with obesity being the social norm. The protagonist, nicknamed "Twig", was the least overweight, and therefore the most picked on prior to leaving the Vault. As a result, he is addicted to Nuka-Cola and takes "fatty" as a compliment.
- WALL-E: Everyone on the Axiom lives in space, in low gravity, and spends all their time in hoverchairs eating fatty foods - like liquid pizza. As they also have extremely stubby limbs and digits and wear one-piece jumpsuits, the overall impression is a combination of obesity and infantilism. However, this is not an example of Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale; as everything on the Axiom was planned by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and this was a result of an absolutely carefree lifestyle gone on for too many centuries.
- It's also implied that the humans lost a lot of bone mass after 700 years in the Axiom's lower gravity, so the pizza may not be entirely to blame.
- Robert Rankin's The Witches Of Chiswick takes place in a dystopian alternate present where everyone is fat. Except, of course, the main character.
- What's more, obesity is considered attractive, so said main character is looked down on by his peers as a freak. Even his parents think he should run off and join a freak show.
- In one of the timelines of The Green Futures Of Tycho, the main character's brother is too obese to move, so he lives in a zero-gravity environment in space.
- Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from the Dune series is an individual example of this, albeit apparently on purpose: he could easily have his fatness corrected medically, he just likes showing off the evidence of his excesses. The prequels retcon this as a non-treatable disease given by Bene Gesserit while raping her. This was a Author's Saving Throw for a case of Did Not Do the Research earlier.
- In Dougal Dixon's Man After Man, some of the early descendents of humanity are the Hitek: humans so sickly and out of shape that they must spend their entire lives sealed into life-sustaining personal vehicles. This isn't due to poor lifestyle choices, so much as massive numbers of genetic flaws, accumulated over hundreds of years in which natural selection against hereditary illness was suppressed by medical intervention.
- Jack Vance's novella Abercrombie Station involves a zero-G space station where almost everyone is fat, and aesthetics favor it. The heroine, so to speak, who's from Earth, isn't fat (and actually a bit amused about being considered too skinny to be attractive). The main antagonist, a native of the station, isn't fat either. And he's bitter as all hell about it.
- Inverted in Rob Grant's Fat, which satirises the current obsession with obesity, rather than the obesity itself. The main characters are a man who is genetically predisposed to put on weight, in a culture that tells him this is his fault, and a woman who the same culture has made dangerously anorexic.
- Most of the proles in Nineteen Eighty-Four are fat.
- Which is surprising, given that one of the most prominent features of the society in that novel is rationing. (In post-war Britain, (of which "1984" is partly a satire), food rationing led to a population of decidedly skinny people.)
- Zigzagged in The Moon Maze Game, in which standards of beauty in 2085 have swung the other way, making plumpness desirable in women. Instead of being unhealthy, however, the ideal zaftig woman adheres to a "Fit/Fat" model, in which well-padded curves overlie toned muscles and a blood chemistry maintained at the peak of physiological health.
- In Dilbert, Dogbert once extrapolated the future of the human race based on three "facts": Obesity was going up, science skills were declining, and young people were getting more egotistical.
First huge guy: I heard that Bobby exploded.