Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They’d love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
This week’s topic is “Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre,” and I’m tweaking it a bit because I’ve already listed my favorite Dystopian novels 😉 Instead, this week I’m going to list the reasons why I love dystopians. The dystopian genre is typically defined as a form “of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’ The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres” (source: questia.com). There are so many things I love about dystopias it was much harder than I thought it would be to narrow to ten.
Ten Things I Love About Dystopians
The Promised Utopia: There is something that is captivating about the promise of a perfect society. Across history politicians have promised a type of utopian society with free healthcare, dividing income across the masses, etc. It’s interesting to me to read about how authors portray these utopias. It’s never as great as it seems it could be. In fact it leads to a whole new set of problems which makes a great read!
Survival Instinct: In dystopias, there is usually a catastrophic event or war going on. The way the authors portray how the human race survives is a big draw for me. I love reading how the characters overcome what is thrown their way. It is one of the best characteristics we have and the authors do a wonderful job of conveying that.
Rebellion: When there’s an oppressive government or in some cases no government, there is usually a group of survivors that rise up against them. I love, LOVE rebellion stories within dystopians. I love reading the lengths a character will go to gain their freedom.
Propaganda: With any utopia/dystopia, there is propaganda promoting what the antagonist wants the character to believe. It’s interesting to read as a lot of the time authors will use current events as a part of the propaganda.
The Protagonist: This character makes the story as it does in any genre, but a strong lead in a dystopian novel can make it great! I love reading a strong protagonist that overcomes the obstacles in their futuristic, bleak world.
Wars: My favorite dystopians are the ones that involve war on any scale. To me it is interesting to read how the characters cope during wartime, whether they are active participants or victims of war.
Government: When I say government in relation to dystopians, I really mean whoever is in control, the antagonist of the story. Sometimes this is government, sometimes it’s a radical group, sometimes it’s a corporation or even just one person. Regardless, I love reading the different interpretations of control by different authors.
Worse-Case Scenario: Sometimes an author will take a scenario like say a threat of war or a solar flare or even an asteroid impact and create an incredible dystopian out of the worst-case that could happen. One of my favorite examples of this is David Estes’s Dwellers and Country Sagas. The author took an asteroid impact and created an entire world surrounded by the events that happened after. Great read!!!
Relation to Current Trends: This is perhaps my favorite dystopian theme. An author’s ability to take current events or trends and create a story where those trends have become the driving force of society. For example, our dependency on technology is a big trend that pops up in a lot of current dystopian fiction. Our drive for entertainment, latest fashion crazes, etc. It could be something simple like an iPhone or as complex as the US’s current racial divide that plagues the media. Authors will take these events and create some amazing, and I do mean AMAZING (and a little scary) stories and futuristic worlds that are believable.
Romance: In a dystopian world where the character’s tomorrow is not guaranteed, the romance can be intense and sometimes subtle all at the same time. These characters rely heavily on one another and love blossoms from their dependence on one another. I love the sweet romances that pop up in YA dystopians like my favorite: Peeta and Katniss.
Your turn! What’s your favorite themes in dystopian novels?