Was the title of a panel on al things dystopian at the wonderful inaugural YALC last Saturday. Three YA writers: Malorie Blackman, Sarah Crossan and Patrick Ness talked about the ‘trend’ and dropped such gems as their fave dystopian novel (MB-1984, PN-I was raised by fundamentalist Christians so I lived in a dystopia until I was 16) and wrestled with the nitty-gritty of what dystopian fiction is all about and why it’s so darn popular with these pesky teens.
Sarah Crossan felt dystopian fiction brought up powerful questions of how one can live and survive when the world is falling apart. Malorie said ‘we are living in a powerless world,’ and made the point that in dystopian fiction one person or group of people do effect change in society, something which young people may be inspired by. All of them made the point that they were telling a story rather than writing specifically ‘dystopian’ fiction (MB story first, genre later) and that utopian fiction is rare because it would be ‘boring, right?’ (PN).
My favourite quotes:
‘Every book set in the future is about right now,’ PN
‘If someone, somewhere isn’t being upset by one of my books I’ve failed as a writer. If you tell the truth, you’re going to upset people.’ MB
Dystopia may be so, like over in the YA market but new novels are still being released and the film of The Giver based on the Lois Lowry classic is a coming (which I am VERY excited about) as well as further Divergent and Hunger Games sequels.
Happy Dystopian Tuesday! I’m off to do my Hugo-voting homework!