Does humanity tend toward pessimism whenever it looks toward the future? When watching and reading dystopian fiction, the answer appears to be yes. These futuristic worlds take place after a disaster of gigantic proportions—an invasion, a plague, a natural disaster. Most of these worlds are atheistic in design and pit their protagonist against overwhelming odds, in a bid for their own survival. Which begs the question, from where do these ideas come? Why does humanity look forward with trepidation? Dystopian is never about an improved world; always, something sinister forces people into survival-mode, where they turn on each other. Prehistoric creatures unleashed from a cave, aliens, robots, etc. Whatever the cause, it becomes a survivalist story.Continue reading
Would you live your life differently if you knew the time of your death?
For Parvin Blackwater, the heroine of A Time to Die, the answer is ‘not really.’Continue reading
For the uninformed, The Maze Runner is a dystopian film about a community of boys trapped in a Glade located in the middle of a Maze where the walls change their configuration during the night. In the night, evil creatures called Grievers hunt in the Maze, and woe be to any Glader caught outside the Glade when the doors close at sunset.Continue reading
I’ve read a lot of dystopias; I enjoy reading the authors’ “what if” speculations, and I value the repeated reminder of the power of the individual, the value of the individual. Maybe it helps to empower me? Or value others? The Giver was my first and favorite dystopia. I’ll always treasure the story’s value to not only me as a person but also as a reader. However, Matched by Allie Condie took a perspective on dystopias I hadn’t yet seen in other similar books: It harped on the importance of history, poetry, and just plain old words. Condie used Cassia’s character to remind me of the value of written words by personifying books and using Cassia to show someone starved of the written word.Continue reading
In 1516, Thomas More published Utopia, and the world learned a new word to describe a perfect society. Of course, the converse also had to emerge, so audiences have also enjoyed fictional accounts of when a society becomes the worst version of itself: the dystopia. This narrative is fertile ground for examining many themes. One recent popular and successful example is The Hunger Games trilogy. The world of Panem in The Hunger Games offers a profound commentary on the culture we live in as all good dystopian stories do because of the ways it bears a resemblance to our reality.Continue reading