Thursday, April 25, 2013

Random Rant Thursday : The Dystopian Obsession

Lately, I have been reading a lot of Dystopian novels and it has me thinking, why exactly do I like reading them so much? Is it the utter hopelessness of the society that does nothing but make you want a hero to rise from the ashes and fix it all? Maybe. Is it the fact that society has been brought so low that baser instincts for human survival are the only thing we, as a society can focus on? Probably. Is it the fact that the worlds have been developed in such a way that we can see the path our society would have to take in order to get there and all the governing principles seem probable? Definitely!

Its strange. I enjoy reading about a hero who, despite all odds, can rise up and defeat an entire society. It interesting to read about the following they receive along the way, the things they learn about themselves. I love the way that despite whatever happened with the world, the appearance of this one character can eventually make everything okay.

I also like reading about the fights, the fact that society no longer focuses on shopping and partying (though at times those are elements of the stories) but instead it focuses on the acquisition of food, water, air, and just attempting to live. However, those arent the things I like the most about dystopians. It's the fact that the world, despite everything, has been brought to it's knees by the stupid actions of us as a society, and I can see how we could get there. It's the corruption, and greed of people in our world who I can see using destruction as a means to gain more power over us. It's the fact that, in order to keep that power, those governing bodies will do anything to keep society weak and make themselves stronger. I love reading it because it's so horrible, but I can see it happening.

In my opinion, everyone has a bit of bad in them, even if it's just the hate we feel for the truly horrible people. Everyone seeks power in some way, even if it's just seeking the power to overcome obstacles. It's for that reason that we can see society advancing to dystopian levels. We can understand that people have varying levels of power and evil, and sometimes, despite the purest efforts, those people can take something that's perfect and turn it into something horrible, and I love reading about that.

Though dystopians are often lessons taken to the extreme, and thus do not necessarily compare to our world, I like to use the lessons I learn, and the things I read about when forming opinions in my own world, and I hope that enough people read the books that we can eventually prevent something similar happening in the future.

What do you think? Do you like Dystopians? Why? Let me know your thoughts on this topic.


Kat C @ Books and Sensibility said...

I've always said that dystopians are popular because they help people make sense of the bad things going on in the world. I used to say dystopians were my favorite, but I am leaning towards contemporary's more--which is the exact opposite !

Lan said...

It's safe to say that dystopians are my favourite genre. I can't really out a finger on exactly why I enjoy it so much. I think all your points are valid. For me its appeal is mostly to do with the whole David and Goliath dynamic and wanting to see the little guy win over the big oppressive government. I also like the idea of learning what other authors think the dystopian world will look like.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I like them but I think it is harder to make them really good. When they are good, they are really good. When they are bad, they are really bad.

I like them because they create a completely new world but it isn't fantasy because it could truly happen. That works for me.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I'm not a great fan of the current crop of dystopians, with the exception of the wonderful Hunger Games, but there's something oddly optimistic about them, because they ALWAYS have a heroine who saves the world. No YA novel these days - and they're usually YA - is going to end with,"He loved big Brother." ;)

LaMar Nelson said...

I think that we all as a "whole" (most of society) gravitate towards dystopian novels or even dystopian theater, because at the end of the day we are always looking for something that we can relate to. For the most part, unless you are completely oblivious, regardless of your background (especially religiously or non-religiously) people can see that this world, and society in America in general is going to hell, so to speak. While we agree things are horrible, there is also a part of us that find pleasure and comfort in this pre-dystopic society; while at the same time we acknowledge the same things we enjoy or get entertainment from have become, while being "bad", are a part of everday life. So we hate them but at the same time we kind of love them. That's why sometimes we find ourselve rooting for the villian in some instances (or the qoute un-qoute bad guy/girl) or find ourselves attracted to what we know is not good for us; u've mentioned this in a couple of your reviews about why you always fall in love with the broken, dangerous, bad boy in a lot of the novels you read. We see ourselves in these "characters", and a lot of these novels remind us of the times we live in (granted to the extreme) and we find ourselve both liking them for that, and hating them for that same reason.

LaMar Nelson said...

I feel horribly stupid for spelling "qoute" wrong twice in my comment. Lol

Sherre said...

Kat C: Yea I can see why. I find that if I read too much of one genre, I get generally bored with the whole thing and will start migrating to other ones.

Lan: Mine too!!! Even the book I wrote is dystopian. I like to see all the ways society will fail, and I like seeing the little fish in the big pond drink up all the water, grow wings, and fly. (I hope that made sense)

Sue: Awww. Welp! It's things like that that lead me to believe my male character in my novel isnt the norm ike I'm lead to believe.

LaMar: I completely agree. The worse the villain, the better in come cases. It's fun to see how fast people/society falls and how far (though I'm sure it isnt fun to experience it) if only to see how easily it can rise back up again

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