I read recently on a writer’s discussion forum that the age of dystopian fiction is coming to an end. ‘Been there, read that’ seemed to be the consensus of the majority of posts. However I personally disagree.
Dystopian novels have been around and sold well for a number of years, if we take a look back in recent history, George Orwell’s novel 1984 (written in 1949) is a classic novel telling the story of a big brother style society within a totalitarian state. Another classic Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale (1985) explores themes of women in subjugation in a totalitarian Christian society. More recently YA fiction in the form of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth, both explore themes of conformity, authoritarian state and teenage rebellion.
Yes recurrent themes of political and social shortcomings appear in all novels, however it can be argued that these novels all are substantially different and approach the subject from different viewpoints. To me it is like arguing that romance novels are old news as they all cover the standard boy meets girl format. Yes they do all cover similar themes, however it is the authors clever use of imagination drawing us into a world where our fearful preoccupations about the present are indicated in a possible terrifying future that makes all these dystopian novels worth reading.
For me dystopian fiction will be around for a long time, I have a number of novels under the dystopian genre awaiting my review and I am greatly looking forward to reading them. They allow us to experience our innermost fears about current society and politics in a terrifying and exciting future. The heroines or heroes are usually characters that we can relate to, everyday members of society who become stronger and more independent as the story progresses. Finally creating the downfall of the totalitarian regime, which dictates their society. I for one can’t think of any better way to spend a day than getting lost in such a bleak terrifying landscape, all within the comfort and safety of my own home.