Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Invasion Of The Dystopia



(Above pictures: Welcome to London (There are more security cameras in the UK than in NYC))

One of the most mindblowingly annoying trends that has emerged in recent years is the Dystopia. We are currently facing an invasion. Every writer is writing about a dystopic world. Or at least they think they are. 

Dystopia has suddenly come from being a genre about being controlled by the government, being threatened by the government and being terrified of the government to being about the government stopping you from living happily ever after with your 16 year old puppy face boyfriend or a paranormal romance disguised as a Dystopia. 
Welcome to what I call Pop Music Dystopia. 

The Hunger Games is a pretty good dystopia series but the books that have followed are not so much. All these dystopias are about the main character moping because she can't be with her one true love or something else that would cause a teen to mope. Stop moping and overthrow the government! Start a revolution for god's sake!

Dystopia is about a repressive government that is feared among the entire population. It's about the horrors of a world where we are controlled and scared into conformity.

I've come across some YA dystopias that are okay but the worlds are shallow and lacking in logic, the world is shown to you to be repressive and terrible and yet doesn't look that bad and many of these YA dystopias are really just YA romances set in a dystopic setting. 

The worlds are unrealistic from what I'm noticing. The worlds look somewhat better than our own and that is worrying. We are currently living in a dystopia. We are experiencing it ourselves and yet we have all these dystopias about people falling in love with their soulmates. 

This is what I would be doing in a full blown dystopic world:
  • Helping to take part in a revolution.
  • Trying to convince people that something needs to be done. 
  • Trying to find a place to run to if everything goes wrong. 
I wouldn't be doing the following:
  • Going to school. 
  • Falling in love with 16 year old boy who has never loved someone apart from me. 
What I've found is that a lot of these books are dull and all over the place. There are so many, I can't seem to find any good ones.

So yeah, I don't really like YA dystopia but this may be because I've never been a huge fan of dystopia in general. It's weird. I do love reading about dystopias that are heavily based on our world and have many parallels to the world as it is today. That's interesting and it makes you more aware of how we aren't living in a free society.

I don't want a dystopia where everyone is the same. I want one where people are aware of their differences, want to be their own person and yet face struggles against the repressive and controlling government. I want a dystopia which will change my perceptions. I don't want a dystopia which makes me cringe. So please, no more insta-love. And a bit more logically sound world-building please. 

I would argue that the best dystopias came out before The Hunger Games. I haven't found anything post-HG that has been somewhat interesting.

If you disagree, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. Do you like dystopia? What are your views on the genre? Know any recent books you think I may like? Just let me know! I give you a hug if you do! :D



  1. Everything in the YA genre seems to be a full-blown romance anymore, not just dystopias. It's unsettling. Nothing against romances--I do enjoy reading them, and even writing them sometimes--but I don't want that to be all that's in the genre.

    I haven't read that many dystopias, to be honest. A couple were for school (which I didn't enjoy), and the other was the Uglies series (which I loved). But yeah, I don't doubt you at all that dystopias have become romantic fluff despite this. I sometimes read summaries for recent dystopias, and they do seem to have a heavy romantic bent. Romance is the last thing to worry about when your very freedom is on the line, IMO, so these books have never really left me with an urge to read them.

    1. Same. I love reading romances but there are times when I want to read something different.

      I read a book recently which I won't name but the summary mentioned nothing about a romance. I felt deceived when the MC fell in 'love'.

      Lol at the last part. Very true. I think it's because love is very emotional and teenagers are the same.

    2. Yeah, it's easier to appreciate romances when non-romantic books are thrown into the mix, too!

      Haha, I know what it's like to be deceived by book summaries. Publishers have a bad habit of describing books in a way they think will appeal to certain readers instead of honestly depicting what's inside.

    3. Publishers are turning evil! DON'T TELL ME WHICH BOOKS I WANT TO READ! You are not controlling me.

      too much romance makes me feel sick personally.

      And a message to publishers: get better editors or better writers. please.

    4. LOL, publishers are like the uber-controlling governments in dystopias! XD

      I agree, there needs to be better editors for some books. Old-school YAs seem to have had tighter editing, IMO. It amazes me how many 200-page books from the 90's feel more fleshed out and consistent than 400+-page ones nowadays....

    5. Lol! Someone should write a dystopia about publishers! WOuld be hilarious!

      I know! I read the Night World books and they weren't too long and were somewhat on the short sight and must have been edited very tightly. And then you look at Twilight which has less character development than NightWorld and is 300 pages longer.

      I don't even know why this is. Maybe publishing companies have been coping with the recession by firing editors!

    6. Haha, maybe they have! I really don't know, but it's such a shame to see regardless. Some long books justify using every last word they do, but a lot of them don't, so I don't get why more effort isn't put into making them tighter, especially since it could save a tree or two....

      I love the Night World books! (The handful I've managed to read already, at least!) L. J. Smith is actually a great example to use for this, 'cause when you compare her books from the 90's to the nonsensical mammoths published today, you definitely get a feel that editing was more important back in the day....

    7. And if it's a trilogy or seven books long, you could save an entire forest. HP 4,5,6and 7 were way too long and should have been edited more. I think editors are reluctant to since people are more likely to pick up a $8 book with 500 pages than a $8 with 200 pages.

      Same here! She's a very skilled writer. But then I've read Cate Tiernan's Wicca/Sweep series which was released after the millennium and the books were rather short. I think Twilight may have something to do with this.

    8. Good point about people being more reluctant to pick up a shorter book because of the price. Perhaps publishers could remedy this by making shorter books cheaper. ;) *wishful thinking*

      I love the Wicca/Sweep series, too! I know of other authors early on in the millennium who published shorties like that. I definitely think Twilight had a part to play in making large books more common....

    9. Or they could combine two short books into two if that makes a difference. That's why I picked up the Night World books since I got the new versions.

      I love them too! I was gutted when it ended. I didn't really love Night's Child though. It was okay but the earlier books were the best! Hated it when Cal died. Loved him even though he was evil. lol.

      Twilight is long and unedited so probably.

    10. That'd be cool if publishers started releasing new books together in a single volume like that, but it seems like they only do it for reprints of old books....

      I enjoyed Night's Child, but it did feel a bit like an add-on, since the previous book had ended things so well. And I remember the shift to third person throwing me off a bit, heh. Ever read anything else by Cate Tiernan? I loved the first two Balefire books of hers (still need to read the last two), and I have Immortal Beloved, one of her latest, in my TBR pile....

    11. I've noticed that. I saw some Sweep books in the bookstore the other day. 3 books in one. I still haven't bought them. I threw my old ones away. The bookshelf had a fungus growing on in and ruined a lot of books.

      I threw Night's Child away. I think I was just annoyed that it was so different. I read it and chucked it. I really regret it though. I was quite young though so I didn't realise I wouldn't get the book back haha!

      I've not but I'm going to be reading the Balefire books soon. I might pick up Immortal Beloved when I have time. I'm going to see if I ever get the time though.

    12. Aw, that sucks about the fungus ruining some of your books! :(

      I know what you mean about time. There hardly ever seems to be any of it to get some proper reading done anymore....

    13. It was rather horrible. I remember crying when I took a book down and saw the entire back of the bookshelf was a disgusting green colour.

      As writers, we spend that time writing also so it leaves even less for reading!

  2. I haven't read much dystopian literature. My understanding of dystopian is a little broader than what you've described. It also includes post-apocalytic worlds (there may be no government at all). I enjoy dystopian movies--Mad Max and The Book of Eli, e.g.--but the original books like Brave New World and 1984 are definitely in line with your definition.

    I enjoy your mature perspective on books.

    1. I had to read Brave New World for college last year and it was my first dystopian so I do expect other dystopians to be similar and include that sort of government.

      I loved the Book of Eli, I don't understand why others hate it so much. It showed a post-apocalyptic world with a dystopic setting much better than the books coming out in this time which show totalitarianism as candyfloss.

  3. Have you read DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth?

    1. Yeah. Wasn't that impressed by it although I think I will read the second just to see what happens.

      Too long. Annoying characters. Weak logic. Poor worldbuilding. And I didn't see the relevance it had to the real world. At least The Hunger Games is a comment on entertainment that we get through reality TV. This seemed somewhat, YA pop-culture-ish. And I got bored at least ten times reading the book. Finishing it was painful.

      I respect Roth for publishing at such a young age though. I would've waited for a couple of years at least.

  4. The Hunger Games is the only dystopian series I've read as of late just for the sheer "flavor of the month" following that recently sprang up everywhere else. This might be a short-sighted way of picking books, but I'm not going to force myself to read something because of a certain element and because "everybody's doing it."

    1. I haven't read the entire first book but from what I've read, it seems like a well built dystopia. I like it somewhat as a series but it isn't something like Harry Potter. It wasn't something that I could relate to. I do know that it is much better than the recent dystopias being released.


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