by Shirley Drew
When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the earth, nothing will ever be the same. World tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that’s just the beginning.
I love dystopian novels, so I bought it. In the following months, I read the sequels to what is often referred to as the Moon series. Before long, I was reading The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies. Most recently I finished the first two installments of The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin.
At some point I became curious about why people like to read novels about environmental destruction, oppression, and totalitarian governments. Seems kind of depressing, but this genre has been around for a long time. I think my first dystopian novel was probably Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Anyway, I started surfing the Internet for answers. I found a post by blogger Josh Corman. This is what he says:
“The simple answer (which probably, I know, also means the incomplete answer) is fear. Fear is the root of every dystopia, and it’s the glue that keeps the reader stuck to its characters and conflicts for the book’s duration. If you harbor any distrust of your government (or governments in general)…if you’re concerned about climate change and corporate power…And if you suspect that our reliance on technological devices is doing at least as much harm as good…” then dystopian novels will lure you in.
These stories are clearly metaphors for today’s problems—both large and small, and they serve an important function for us as readers. They validate our worries and the way we view our world while allowing us to immerse ourselves in them from a safe distance. And of course they provide us with brave protagonists that take the necessary risks to fight against the dangers and dehumanization of a dystopian society. Most of all, though, through the protagonists, we are allowed to hope for something better. And that makes reading dystopian stories, problems and all, worthwhile.
“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.” ~The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Do you read dystopian novels? What are your favorites?