From The Giver to the Hunger Games, to Divergent, it seems as if Dystopian novels have become the new Paranormal. Where Twilight had filled book store shelves, now we see novels like, The Maze Runner, and The 100, filling those shelves. But, what if this genre has become too predictable, too generic? Will they die out like the Westerns? Or is safe to say that, Dystopian novels will forever be a staple in book genres.
As an outsider to the dystopian genre, having only read 1984, it seems like a lot of these series are becoming cookie-cutter rebellion against the power. Whoever writes this should look at novels and series that define the genre, especially 1984, Farenheit 451, and The Giver. Hunger Games seems like one of the first recently popular series to fit into the dystopian genre. Look at bestsellers, and look at how dystopian authors are being influenced. – John8 years ago
Dystopian novels are the new literary fad, proving to be very popular and profitable. I think that there are certainly authors that are simply trying to jump on the bandwagon, but some are really trying to get a genuine message and story out. Stories about the future are often meant to remind us that what we do now affects the world in years to come. I think, similar to the track vampire novels went, there are classics as John pointed out, newer stories that really pack a punch, and predictable, cookie-cutter novels. Perhaps discuss one example from each of those categories. Interesting topic, you would definitely have a lot to discuss in any direction you went.
Maybe look at pop culture as a driving force for this phenomenon. – MichelleAjodah8 years ago
Dystopian novels are not going anywhere. The hype may die down, but they have been around a long time and will continue to be around until we somehow stumble upon the perfect society. Good luck to that. Dystopian books are generally used to take a "good idea in theory," and then show us that it's not going to work. Also see Brave New World and basically anything by Ayn Rand. – Tatijana8 years ago
You've only mentioned YA titles. Popular dystopias should be distanced from their more literary offspring, though some middle ground can be found in-between. – JekoJeko8 years ago
Perhaps it would be helpful to note that maybe it's not necessarily the Dystopian novel itself that is thought by some people as too common, but the Dystopian YA novel. The writer on this topic should try to research what other novels and works are out there to see if they follow similar arcs. – Jaye Freeland8 years ago
I mean, dystopians have been a genre for quite some time. I think the one you're interested in specifically is young adult dystopia. Interestingly, I just saw a review about Divergent by Veronica Roth that argued it was basically a knock-off of The Hunger Games. I didn't agree at all - while they share similarities (namely, that they're both set in post apocalyptic America and have female protagonists) everything else about them is different. I think part of the problem is that the YA genre is taken less seriously as a literary genre to begin with - so even if the books in question aren't actually the same, they're assumed to be because the genre is taken so lightly. (Note how no one criticizes how the "classic" dystopian novels share similar characteristics.) I think because it's a popular fad (and, let's be honest, mostly loved by teenage girls, especially books like THG and Divergent) it's easy to mock it or pretend that it's somehow less original or interesting. I wouldn't agree with that at all. In any case - when writing this, focusing on the entirety of the dystopian genre might be fun. Like thinking about the popularity (or non-popularity?) or novels like 1984 or Brave New World in their own time, compared the popularity of dystopian novels now. – kcecka8 years ago
Dystopian novels are definitely becoming popular. The vampire craze went around when Twilight came out, so why not now with a dystopian future? I think it's safe to say that the first major dystopian future novel/movie to come out was the Hunger Games. The amount of popularity it gained world wide is insane. From there, so many more movies of the same genre were made. I agree with what kcecka said. It's definitely big in the YA world. – diehlsam8 years ago
Part of what makes a lot of dystopian fiction seem alike, especially YA dystopian fiction, is that the movie adaptations are all made to to be similar. After the smash success that was The Hunger Games movie, there seemed to be a surge in following years with Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver, and others I'm probably forgetting.
I think that movie studios tried to make all subsequent YA dystopia movies fit the mold created by The Hunger Games, and it worked better for some (Divergent) than for others (The Giver). – chrischan8 years ago
I recently reviewed the film Equals, a dystopian film about a post-apocalyptic society where emotion has been totally stamped out. I wasn't very positive, and my main argument was that the dystopian vision felt shallow. There was no causal logic to it, no substantive explanation of the psychology that allows people to accept the terrible new conditions and no external cause that imposed it either. As a result, it wasn't so much "Here's what happens when society goes too far this way" as it was "wouldn't it be horrible if society was like this?" Of course it would be. But without bringing us from here to there, what's the nightmarish fantasy got to do with anything? – TKing8 years ago
Great topic. Perhaps a broad collective concern for out-of-control social and political events has encouraged modern dystopian works, making them appear less unique. – Tigey8 years ago
I think dystopian novels will probably be around for as long as we are. It relates strongly to the issue of our own mortality, albeit on a societal scale. What happens if our supposedly civilized, well-organized, and morally sound society goes off the rails? Deep down, all of us are capable of cruelty and so dystopian novels often expose the aspects we fear most about ourselves. The genre is likely meant to shock us into realizing our own culpability. However, I do feel the genre has gotten a bit oversaturated and generic lately. Fahrenheit 451 is probably my favorite as far as dystopian novels go. It's filled with great lines of prose and remarkable insights. – aprosaicpintofpisces8 years ago