Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Dystopia

My latest novel is YA dystopian, I think. Wikipedia defines dystopia as the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian.


Question: Are all dystopia's science fiction? At first glance, I would say no, since you certainly don't need to have sci-fi elements to create a repressive society. BUT, an instructor at a class I attended at a recent writers conference says he thinks all dystopia's ARE science fiction, since they are an experiment on SOCIAL science (not necessarily natural science). Hmm. What do you think?

My WIP is definitely dystopian, but it also has elements of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and romance. I hate labeling. I just write the story I want to tell with no thought to how it will be shelved, and my books are usually a blend of many genres. Don't you wish there was a section in B&N labeled "really awesome books"? Sigh.

Hunger Games is in the limelight at the moment as a classic dystopian story. What other dystopian stories do you like? Do you think the YA market is drowning in dystopias right now?

13 comments:

Clare said...

Hunger Games is the first and only dystopian story I've read. I'm still warming up to the genre.

I don't know enough about it to say if all dystopian stories need to be science fiction, but I don't think so. To me Sci-fi is different from social science, but maybe I'm misunderstanding things ...

Em-Musing said...

I love the word dystopian and like to say it to people and see them go, "Huh?" Ha! Great "d" word.

Morgan said...

I think there will always be a place for dystopian, even though it may be over saturated right now ;) Oh the joys of trends... :D

Robin said...

I do think every Dystopian is Sci-Fi.

And yes, a lot of dystopians out there, but having just finished yours (did I make anyone jealous just now?) there is room enough for one more:)

Angela Cothran said...

I don't think is HAS to be sci-fi. I consider 1984 and The Giver to be dystopian and I wouldn't qualify either of those as sci-fi.

Pin And Tack said...

Does it matter if it's social or natural science? I think a dystopia could live outside of sci-fi.

T. Z. Wallace said...

Dystopian seems to be the new vampire/werewolf right now. (My current MS is also dystopian, and I am hoping it doesn't get lost in the shuffle now that dystopian works are the new Big Thing.)

I can see the idea of the social sciences aspect making it have elements of science fiction. Consider Lord of the Flies...

ilima said...

Clare-Did you like HG? It definitely spurred the dystopia rage today like Twilight did for paranormal romance.

Em-Musing-it does feel like an insider-type thing, yes? :)

Morgan-I wish I could write what will attract an agent (not so much dystopia right now) instead of the story that is screaming inside of me. Oh well, at least it makes me happy.

Robin-YOU FINISHED?!!!???!! *gasp*

Angie-The sci-fi elements in mine are pretty subtle, I have a hard enough time saying it has anything sci-fi in it at all.

Pin and Tack-Agreed.

T.Z.-I'm with you, hoping I can slip this through the slush pile.

The Muse said...

I don't think dystopian is necessarily sci-fi.

Jenny S. Morris said...

There are a lot out there, but I love them!! I don't really think of most of the ones out their as Sci-Fi. But what do I know.

Kittie Howard said...

From what I know about dystopian, I think it is sic-fi. Yes, I think the market's super saturated. It seems like there's this massive shift after a new genre makes the Bigs.

ilima said...

The Muse-I agree, based on what most people think of as sci-fi.

Jenny-I've noticed people have different opinions on whether a book fits a certain genre or not. So interesting.

Kittie-I know. I think it can be good or bad.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I am a total sucker for dystopians. I love The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Hunger Games, Matched, and if you haven't read Wither, it was excellent. The sequel is out now too. Keep 'em coming, I say.