Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tiara Talk: Dystopians

It's no secret that ever since the emergence of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, dystopians have rapidly become my genre of choice. I love this genre because, if done right, they make you really think about what is going on around you in your own reality. They make you question choices that have been made and where they might lead to. They make you draw comparisons between their world and your own.

Yesterday I had gone and run some errands with my Mom, attempting to brainstorm a few brilliant topics to host on Tiara Talk for the next few weeks. I was gazing out the window watching the cars drive on by, and of course getting a few weird looks from the drivers of said cars, when suddenly the side mirror caught my eye. Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. That was it! Almost. But not quite. Dystopian worlds make be closer than they appear. I shot the idea off to my Mom and we proceeded to have a debate of epic proportions as to whether or not we were closer to starring in this genre of books than we may have believed.

Okay, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that any day now some insanely perky woman is going to be drawing names of our children to see whose going to duke it out in The Hunger Games...nor am I saying that we're all going to start dying off in our twenties from some scientific/genetic malfunction. But it could happen. Maybe not now, but we could very well be on our way.

If you bother to tune in, and I know a lot of you probably don't, the newscasters will be more than happy to tell you several times throughout the course of the day about how everything is going downhill. We're not quite to the epic spiral but the news is d*** depressing nonetheless. But that's all it takes. A good dystopian feeds off the problems of today, sends them spiralling out of control and VOILA! A dystopian book. These are the kind that make me take pause. These are the books that I set down, look around and get worried as to what sort of world we'll be facing in the future.

Let's take The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson for example. [Slight spoilers ahead if you haven't yet read the book.] This is one of my absolute favorite, hands down, dystopians. It deals with the concept of taking science too far and asks it's reader this question: How far IS too far? The people of our reality ask this question on a daily basis. No one seems to have an answer. How much life does a person need to still be considered a person and not a mutation? Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano also make you question whether or not science has take things too far. Think about it, science is feared in their world. Science has killed off generation after generation. BECAUSE THEY WENT TOO FAR. And the thing is, how is to say how far is too far until we're so far in we can't even stop it?

Another prime example would be XVI and Truth by Julia Karr. These books deal with teen sexuality through the lives of the sex-teens. Boiled down it tells the story of a world where once a girl turns sixteen she is given a tattoo, an XVI, on her wrist letting the general world know she is ready for sex. Prior to this the majority of the teens buy into the sex-teen propaganda. Sex is good. Sex is amazing. You want to have sex. You want to dress in skimpy clothing to get guys' attention. You want to do these special moves that sex-teen magazines tell you to in order to get them to pay attention to you. Girls turn sexual younger and younger. All because of the media. The media has trained them, no, brainwashed them into believing this is how they should act. Sound familiar? Turn on the TV, flip through a magazine, catch a movie...even go take a walk outside and see how girls are acting/dressing...you'll see what I mean.

 I could go on and on, there are tons of dystopian novels that are doing this. They're trying to make you think. These are the questions they want you to bring up. So my question to you is this: Are dystopians purely fictional or are we closer to them than they at first appear?


  1. I sure hope dystopians are not real... I'm not sure I'll survive.. =/

  2. I'm not sure I would either. But it's really a possibility if you think about it. There is a LOT wrong with our world right now, some of these dystopian reads aren't too far off.

  3. I think that's part of the appeal of dystopians. That, possibly, we could end up that way. Like you say, they feed off current problems, warping and exaggerating them so we get this horrific society. I dunno whether we will end up with a dystopian society...but I certainly hope not! I'm fine just reading about them. Great post Ash!

    The Cait Files

  4. I agree completely, Cait. They really make you think, open up your mind to the possibilities. And in a way gives us warning so we can try not to end up that way.

    Thanks! :]