If you haven’t noticed, dystopian fiction has become the latest mania in young adult fiction. Works such as Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner have helped fuel the current trend. Fans can’t seem to get enough of the futuristic societies gone bad.
So what is dystopian fiction? I’ve seen other bloggers give a dictionary definition, but I’d rather go for a more creative definition. Dystopian fiction is a:
“I would’ve never thought of that”, futuristic world, where the hero intuitively figures out that something has gone terribly wrong in their society, and acts irrationally, risking their own life to change it, all while being distracted by a romantic interest.
(and breathe…) So, why are they so popular? It sounds rather depressing. Bleak even.
I can think of three big reasons:
There’s always a young hero. Teens can relate to the idea of living in a world that they can’t always understand. These types of books always show a young person overcoming impossible obstacles. The endings are almost always hopeful.
The possibility that this could really happen. Dystopian novels present the idea of a possible future. The reader gets to imagine what it would be like if the alternative future really happened. That makes the conflict and adventure of the story all the more real.
They ask the big “life questions” that most teens are in the midst of figuring out. (I have to give credit to Sophie Masson from The Australian for the questions)
What is freedom?, What is love?, What is human?
Suddenly, the reader is walking side-by-side with the hero, trying to figure out what these things mean to them, and how far they would be willing to go for what they believe.
I do have one pet peeve when it comes to these type of books. It’s called the copycat syndrome. The oh so, “this book seems familiar” syndrome. I want to read something completely different, not just a remake. So, I hope you will like my version of something different. I really tried to make sure that all the characters had their own voices, and that the world they lived in offered something new to think about.
In the end, it’s the mixture of the hopelessness mixed with the hopeful in these books that makes them so appealing. And in times like these, can’t we all relate to that?
I’d love to hear what you think. Why do you think dystopian fiction has become so popular?