Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dystopia

the challenge

D is for Dystopia

Dystopian literature holds a special place in my heart. Dystopia is almost synonymous with Utopia since it is impossible to have a utopia without corruption sneaking into the seat of power and turning everything ugly. (See Stephenie Meyer's THE HOST: benevolent alien race still manages to create all kinds of dissonance or the Avatars from WB's CHARMED: supernatural rulers who create utopia by disappearing anybody who causes conflict.)

I think that's the message I get time after time in these books. There is no utopia on Earth. That doesn't mean we should stop being kind. Kindness to strangers is the only thing we can control, can achieve.

Personal charity for the win!

But we can't count on some institution to make everything rosy. Any institution with that much power ends up taking power from somewhere. And where do they get that power? From the people. From taking away individual choice.

I think it's part of the great hubris of mankind that we continue to believe we can construct utopia. That's why these stories come out in so many different stripes and colors. Every author remakes the world with his or her own moral preferences, and utopia turns dystopia with his or her own mortal fears.

Here is a list (not comprehensive) of some dystopias you should definitely check out if you haven't already:

Ender's Game

Memento Nora


The Hunger Games

The Maze Runner


The Host

(see my sidebar for links: Dystopias to Devour)

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