I saw an entertainment news headline this morning on IMDb that got me thinking... Is Dystopia a trend that has passed in literature? Or is it, instead, at its peak? I've been planning my next book series (a NA Dystopia, for those of you who don't know) for about two years, and for the last year or so, I've run into people who have told me in no uncertain terms, "That ship has sailed!" Over! Done! What need is there for another Dystopian novel? People have moved on...
I disagree, and I think the facts are on my side.
The headline I saw stated that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay has just set a 2014 record for first-day pre-sales. And what was the previous record-holder for this year? Oh yes, that would be Divergent. (You can read the article here.) Unless you've been living on another planet, you are probably well aware that both of these movies are based off bestselling Dystopian book series.
As with any trend, at some point the market will become saturated with imitation novels, with all sorts of people who want a piece of the pie, and I think people who tell me the trend has passed believe the Dystopian market is already saturated. Do I want a piece of the Dystopian pie? Sure. But is that why I wrote BREEDER? No. I think Dystopian is a crucially important genre right now. The world is rapidly changing. My children are growing up with the sort of technology I watched on The Jetsons as a child, and I can only imagine what will become normal in the next ten years. But with all sorts of fun technology come questions of ethics and morality, questions that effect the human race and our stewardship of the earth itself. Throughout history, periods such as this have always led to great expression in literature, and I think many authors of Dystopia today see the world heading in directions that warrant warning. Isn't that - beneath the adventures, beneath the heroes and heroines, beneath the love triangles, beneath all the surface trappings of the story - what Dystopia is really all about?
So no, I don't think the Dystopian trend has passed. Far from it - I think it's at its peak, and I don't see it passing any time soon. People are hungry for stories that look forward to the future, especially in an era of rapid technological increase, terrible world conflicts, and threats of ebola epidemics. There may be a lot of Dystopian books out there right now, but I don't think the market is saturated, not yet. And I promise to deliver something in BREEDER that I think has been notably absent from most of the other Dystopias: hope.
Book 1 of The Breeder Cycle: BREEDER coming December 11, 2014!