Thursday, May 13, 2010

Modern Dystopia

Dystopian literature is certainly on the rise today. While certainly one reason for that could be our society, another is because dystopian has changed and shifted with the times.

One of the good things about dystopian literature is that it envisions the future. And the future could hold anything. As we explore the possibilities, newer and more ingenious books are being written.

THE HUNGER GAMES has probably had the most influence on the rise in popularity. It's twist is inventive--in the future, the world is split into different districts, and once a year, the districts must offer children to fight in an arena. The future in this novel is based on survival and politics.

But THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is no less a dystopia--but it's more about zombies than politics. Although many would classify this as just a "zombie novel," it's actually a dystopian--only in this world, instead of district factions and child arenas, the world fell to a zombie plague. It's still survival, but a much different kind.

At the same time, THE CITY OF EMBER is a dystopia. The world isn't overrun by zombies or split into factions--instead, it's tightly contained in a secret underground world, awaiting a time when they can re-emerge on the surface. THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO doesn't even take place on our world, and there's fantasy elements involved in the linguistics of the world, but it's still a dystopia--a future that didn't quite go as planned. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, on the other hand, takes place in a world that could be tomorrow. There's no repressive government, no Big Brother, no monsters or apocalypse. Just the moon--knocked too close to Earth, and the environmental damages that causes. Likeswise, LITTLE BROTHER takes place in a world that could be tomorrow--but one that's reacted in an extreme way to the threat of terrorism.

Dystopian lit encompasses all of these plots: a society on a new planet with talking dogs to a place extraordinarily like the world we live in, with just one element changed or exaggerated. As time moves on, dystopian lit changes, too: we are constantly re-visioning the future and developing new worlds to fit it.

So--what dystopian world do you want to see?

PS: Looking for a great dystopian to read? Check out this comprehensive and amazing list!
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