The rise of dystopian books- the classics and the formula

Two authors with stunning dystopian books available, chat here about their books, the rise in dystopian novels, and more.

Right now I have two authors I will be keeping a look out for- Lauren Oliver(Delirium)
and Veronica Roth(Divergent). Their books are filled with raw scenes and believable characters. But what is up with the rise of dystopian books? What makes them a bestseller?  Are some too far fetched- does it matter?

Dystopia and classic stories.

Dystopin is an” idea of a repressed society by the government, made to look utopian.” [Source ] Dystopian Novels
did not begin with The Hunger Games. Books  like Brave New World, Animal Farm, Atlas Shrugged, and The Clockwork Orange, and many of Octavia Butler’s novels-have been out for years and are still considered wonderful classic reads. In each of these stories, the government/society has changed somehow, and utopia is gone.

The rise of dystopian fiction.

Truth be told, we are not even in utopia now. We are in some semblance of it. That is what make Delirium, Hunger Games, and Divergent  suchgreat books to tear through and make movies from. In the real world, there are still classes of people, prejudice, racism, and economic distres;s the novels exaggerate the truth, that’s all.

What makes a dystopian fiction work? What is the formula?

After reading  Animal Farm(Years ago), Butler’s novels and Roth and Oliver’s novels, it seems there is a format each author follows in a dystopian work:

  • Protagonist(usually female) lives in a society she considers safe, utopian.
  • She meets someone, fall in love and realizes her world is completely unsafe.
  • She begins to face physical trials and internal conflicts within herself which can build her up or eventually tear her down.
  • There are action scenes, gory scenes, and emotions are raw.
  • Usually the book belongs in a series to continue the protagonist’s journey.

These are just from my own observations. I hear there is another book out called The Selection
about girls who are selected to be paired with someone of royalty and one girl finds it quite the nightmare. Interesting novel and I am sure it follows the “dystopian” formula somehow.

What can go wrong with dystopian books?

After crawling around Goodreads and other blogs, some people find dystopian novels to be “copy cats” of each other. Every author is now grabbing the computers and creating far-fetched worlds of the future. Eventually would they even be believable or read worthy? Why must they all lead to a film?

On the upside, Roth and Oliver have written pretty good books with romance, strength, courage, and with a rawness any audience would respect. The world has grown tired of vamps, want to shed the wolf fur, and zombies have somehow risen  from the pages- now we have dystopian.

What’s next?

If you found this post helpful to you, please reblog it, or share it on your social networks. I also welcome comments as the feedback helps me know what I am doing right and wrong. 🙂


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