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2013 Reading Challenge
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D is for…Dystopia

According to dictionary.com a dystopia is a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Or, from Orwell’s articles it’s a fictional society, usually portrayed as existing in a future time (to him 2011 would be a future time), when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. The Orwell article goes on to list common traits of dystopian fiction. Most of which we don’t possess, yet.

Some people don’t like dystopian movies and books. Too bleak. I love a good dystopian story. Though I lean towards the movies. I recently bought The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Can’t wait to dive into that after I finish a few other books on my to be read pile. Three of which are contest entries that have to be read very soon. One of the books I’m writing is a dystopian novel. I love the story and can’t wait to finish it. It will have to wait until May.

Dystopian societies in fiction are often seen as warnings to us. With an underlying message – If you continue on the path you’re on this could happen to you. But I don’t think any of the powers that be got any of the messages. With all of the wars, fighting, terrorism, prejudice, religious persecution our world seems more and more like a dystopia to me even though we’re missing some of those dystopian fiction traits. Can we get it back to being a nice place to live? Maybe. Do I trust the world’s leaders, any of them, do get us there? Sadly, no.

All isn’t lost. We as a society have potential. There are rays of hope. Signs of humanity out there. Not just when disaster strikes but in every day life. When one stranger helps another stranger just because that’s the right thing to do. That’s what gives me hope.

A list of 50 Dystopian movies

A list of Dystopian books

A list of Dystopian YA books

Okay off to work. Tonight I plan on doing some blog hopping. I know there are some great blogs out there on the A – Z Challenge. I haven’t had time to visit many yet. I’m hoping to fix that tonight.

Until next time…

Cindy

4 comments to D is for…Dystopia

  • Erin M. Hartshorn
    April 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Count me among those who don’t like dystopias. I think all too often, they don’t present hope for the human population as a whole, but rather just for one or two characters. I also think that saying people can see our society going downhill so that’s what they expect from fiction if they’re to find it believable (I have seen authors advance this argument) doesn’t give enough credit to any inborn optimism.

    • Cindy
      April 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Erin!

      Thanks for stopping by. They’re definitely not for everyone. A lot of them do only present hope for one or two characters. I like them to have an uplifting ending if it fits the story. I think mine presents hope for more than the two main protagonists. I haven’t seen that argument from authors. I agree about not giving enough credit to inborn optimism.

  • Erin M. Hartshorn
    April 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I was thinking primarily of the discussion in the NY Times magazine, where Paulo Bacigalupi said, “I suspect that young adults crave stories of broken futures because they themselves are uneasily aware that their world is falling apart” and “Teens want to read something that isn’t a lie; we adults wish we could put our heads under the blankets and hide from the scary story we’re writing for our kids.” (http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/12/26/the-dark-side-of-young-adult-fiction/craving-truth-telling)

    • Cindy
      April 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for posting the link to that discussion. It was very interesting. The teenagers I know don’t read dystopian books so no idea if he’s onto something there or not. But I don’t think he’s taking into account that inborn optimism you talked about.

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