My rambling topic this week is dystopia. Yep, dystopia - you know the kind of thing: Hunger Games, The Running Man, 1984, Divergent, Under the Never Sky. It's particularly popular amongst the YA genre-peoples right now. Well, why? Here are some of my theories (in a handy-dandy 5-point list - yay! Ok, maybe less coffee before I post next week.)
|Church image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
#1 - Things can always get f**king worse.
Ok, so we live in a sh**ty world - pretty much everything is either broken or breaking. But we don't live in any world Suzanne Collins created, so it gives us an opportunity to count our (albeit limited) blessings.
#2 - Young people have a voice when the world goes to hell.
Have you noticed this? Somehow the teenagers and 20-somethings can make an honest-to-goodness difference in these dystopian societies. That means we've got a chance - if Katniss can do it, then we can too. I think we really cling to this because, lets face it, if you're young, you feel pretty powerless with the world as it is - and it's us who'll have to mop up the mess of previous generations.
#3 - Back to basics
We kind of feel like society has its priorities arse-backwards - who cares if you have a f**king new iPod - there's a kid f**king dying over there! This is an attempt to redress the balance. What matters to the poor souls in dystopian novels is their survival, the survival of other people, and fixing the corruption and injustices around them.
#4 - Come the revolution!
These worlds usually have some problem which we see in our own - injustice, inequality, even climate change. This inspires us to do something about it, and consider what these things may lead to if left unchecked. It also allows as to explore deep moral and ethical sh** without having to actually stand there with a knife in our hand.
#5 - Look at all that pain
The characters in these novels have been through utter hell, and, let's face it, at some point in our lives so have we, and so will we again in the future. Dystopian characters offer us hope in a world that seemingly has none (metaphor for modern life anyone?) and inspiration to keep fighting for what we believe in. They also offer us a chance to empathise with people who may be in very extreme situations, and take a look at our own lives and priorities.
See you next week for more Nerd Church. Happy reading!