Rumspringa

2000adcc103_thedevilsplayground_1417_cover_medium.jpgMy Judge Dredd: Devil’s Playground is in the shops. Herewith the words I wrote for the bit inside the sleeve that nobody ever reads.

My Judge Dredd: Solo was about the people who lived on the edges of Dredd’s world, in the no-man’s land of Alientown. Judge Dredd: 99 Code Red forced Dredd to confront situations more familiar from our own time – an old fashioned hospital. Trapped on Titan dealt with the rejects from Dredd’s world, a society largely comprising the perps that people like Dredd put away. When producer John Ainsworth announced that the next Dredd releases would be narrated by single individuals, I immediately volunteered to do another story from an outsider’s point of view – someone for whom simply crossing the street in Dredd’s world would be an episode of overwhelming culture shock.

The most surprising thing to me about the Amish people is not their self-imposed isolation from the American mainstream, nor even the consensual time warp that keeps them from adopting modern technologies – let’s call it 122 years in the past, the same distance that separates Dredd’s world from ours. What really surprises me is that they volunteer for it.

Today’s Amish send their teenagers out into our world for a year of self-education called “rumspringa”. They drink, they smoke, they wear jeans, they ride around in cars, and when their time is up, most of them happily leave it all behind, having learned that our modern existence is a hellish torment to be pitied rather than envied. You are already in the Devil’s Playground. Judge not…

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