You know that one book where society has crumbled into nothingness, dark forces rule the world in a totalitarian mess where people are almost universally oppressed, and it’s up to the very, very few special people to change the world into something better?
That ONE book?
What’s the title again?
Oh, yeah. It’s called “The Prevailing Trend In YA and Sci-Fi Fiction.” And you can purchase it EVERYWHERE.
Oh, my friends. My dear friends. Please stop writing dystopian fiction.
I understand that the best sci-fi and YA novels are about the present in the guise of the future. They can serve as cautionary tales or parables on how the author thinks the world should be or the terror of what the author thinks the world is turning to.
I get that. Really, I do.
But dystopian novels are so black and white. It is plainly obvious who the bad and the good people are. That makes the novel easy to write, but not necessarily easy to read.
It’s what I find boring about most dystopian fiction. The protagonist is very, very good and the antagonist is very obviously evil. That works for a fairy tale like “Star Wars,” but when it seems like every dystopian novel has these ideas, it’s time to hop off the merry-go-round.
Please keep in mind: I AM NOT TELLING ANYONE WHAT TO WRITE OR NOT TO WRITE. Follow your passion, yeah? Write the novel you want to read and all that.
I’m just saying that I’m going to vote with my dollars on this one. And I know many other people who are getting bored with it too. The trend is filled to bursting. I’m not going to read another zombie novel, and I’m not going to read about another dystopia.
For my tastes, I like fiction that isn’t relentlessly bleak. I’m not for novels that are sunshine and daffodils shining and the double rainbow coming out of a unicorn butt shooting sparkles into the eyes of children everywhere while the little lame balloonman whistles far and wee. Give me conflict, certainly.
But the backdrop need not always be black and shades of burnt umber. I don’t want to read a book that needs a trigger warning for the clinically depressed. I don’t need to enter a goth fantasy world where the best outcome is “everything sucks.”
And if you must write dystopian fiction, have a clean exit strategy; because screw you, “The Stand.” I wanted to slap that book in the face and say “THAT’S for making me care about you for most of the novel, only to end it like this!”
Challenge me, please! Lead me through your world with your characters, and make me give a damn.
Just don’t give me a book that all but starts with a basso voice saying “in a world…”