Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dystopian, Plutonic/Scorpionic and Teenaged.

The other day I came accross a mention of the growth in recent years of a new sub-genre in the Young Adult Fiction category: Young Adult dystopian novels. A selection of such novels, with mini-synopses, is included in a list at Bart's Bookshelf.

What all these have in common, of course, is that the novels' main characters are all teenagers, struggling to live and survive in worlds filled with difficulty and oppressive elements of one sort or another. These assorted difficulties and challenges possibly stand as metaphors for problems teenage readers are experiencing in their own lives, in (relatively) non-dystopian surroundings.

I'd guess that today's young people, growing up in a world of Facebook, Twitter, wall-to-wall internet, video games, laptops, smartphones, i-pads etc.etc. would not be content to read the kinds of books my generation was reading at their age. Although.....actually, thinking back, my favourite reading theme at that age was about escape from prisoner-of-war camps during World War 2 - the basic feel of a need to escape, from something, was still there.

The recent crop of YA dystopian novels are, presumably, written by adults. Adult authors would seem to be tapping into some communal need to exhale some of the crappy stuff going on all around them, every day, as well as filling a desire of young readers who need an escape valve for their own "issues".

We shouldn't be surprised to see some of these novels adapted for the cinema soon, following today's current leader, The Hunger Games. Teenage dystopia is, in fashionista-speak, "the new black".

Astrologically - anything to be said? Hmmmmm - Pluto (things dark and scary) transited its sign of rulership, Scorpio (dark and scary) roughly 1984 to 1995, those years, or at least the middle to end of the span, cover the birth years of the generation now among the targeted readers of Young Adult dystopian novels. A young readership probably already satiated and bored of Twilight's (no relation) tales of vampires or werewolves, has moved on now to Dark Dystopia.


anyjazz said...

There seems very little art for art's sake lately. It’s all about money. Creative writing is for hire. Publishers want books that sell. If there is not trend, they make one. When there is a trend, they stuff it until it can’t walk. Then it’s remade and sold to another generation. Tell them it’s what everyone is buying and they will buy it again. What good is a classic that can’t be sold over and over again? Where’s the money in that? What good is a book that can’t be made into a movie and/or a television series? Where’s the money in that?

The old pulp magazine hacks could tell you how it is. They believed that there is only seven basic plots (maybe only three) to fiction. They could pick one plot at dartboard random and build a hair-raising adventure or a weepy romance in a few hours. For money. It was a job.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm a firm believer in getting the young to read. Anything. I find these trends excellent indeed. If my granddaughter, an avaricious reader of such YA fiction, achieved 2 scholarships to university (I attribute this to her reading habit) I say go for it, rather than slackjawed in front of the tube.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ I understand your points, and agree. Yet bloggers are out there, creating in their own fashion, mainly for art's (or blogging's) sake, making little or nothing from their efforts.

Writing for $$$$$$ is a thing apart, but it's interesting to watch how tastes and styles change, or are manipulated.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ Oh yes - I'm with you there - get them reading !
They might then, seeing words in print, come to realise that "I would of gone with him" is WRONG! Maybe not the WHY of its being wrong, but that's another story. ;-)

I've nothing at all against any of it WWW - I'm merely interested in how tastes change. We had a spate of Lord of t'Rings, then H. Potter, then Twilight (no relation), now Dystopia. Fascinating!

Gian Paul said...

GP: To ANYJAZZ. So right you are - and it will get worse. Publishers, real bookstores are being wiped out, and original writers soon with them.

What will prevail is what Facebook/Google/Amazon detect being `a sellable interest, fad`. All distributed over the (their) net of course, even first the movie, then the `book` etc.

To TWILIGHT: Poor bloggers (not because they are not being paid). Their `world` is rapidly shrinking - the reign of quantity over quality is roaming even in their own (thinking) circles. Repeating themselves, copying from others, even to obtain some doctorates.

But that`s how `the cookie crumbles` also during these days, no escape other than by getting out of Plato`s legendary Cavern by some extra effort of imagination. And Plato wrote that some 2500 years ago. So what`s new, he certainly would ask us today!

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ I think we'll have to settle for the conclusion that "this is the 21st century and this is how it is and is going to be", for the foreseeable future, anyway.

Many of us who were born before the technological age dawned have managed to clamber upon the bandwagon of progress and have ridden a ways along: computers, blogs, surfing the net, etc.

But recently I'm getting the feeling that I, for one, have reached my likely farthest point of travel on the old technological bandwagon.

I intend to mark time from now on: no Facebook, no apps, no fancy i-anythings, no Kindle, no GPS thingie. Just me, a desktop computer, an internet connection, a blog, a car and some books, cds and dvds.

I'll spend any spare time finding a way out of that cavern. ;-)