Monday, April 11, 2011

Round Robin Conversation #1 - Dystopia

Let's start with dystopia.

There was a fairly recent blog post about dystopia (at Literary Friction) which got me interested in how it's being defined currently. Why currently? Because the current definition's a little different from the one I remember.

I grew up in the later stages of the Cold War (in the US) and we had our prime example of dystopia right over there in the USSR: paranoia, surveillance, people disappearing, fear and violence, all under the pretense of being a "worker's paradise." Sure, there were a few people accusing our government of the same, but we were obviously nothing like the Soviets. Maybe there was some concern that we were heading toward a better-living-through-pharmacology dystopia as seen in Brave New World and THX 1138, but at least we weren't heading for a violent, fascist state like 1984.

Then the Berlin Wall fell, the internet brought the world to our desktops, 9/11 blindsided us and it's ten years of war and counting.

What does dystopia look like now? What does it look like in urban fantasy, high fantasy, horror? I think this is a great place to start a conversation among the six of us. We'll be blogging our thoughts and letting the conversation stray where it wills (which is what's so great about conversations after all) as long as we keep it relevant to our genres and/or creative writing.


  1. Glad my post was useful :)

    The more I ruminate on this, the more I think there are several breeds of dystopia:

    1) High concept. What if we stopped being able to reproduce? What if we called love a disease and could cure it?
    2) Contemporary novels where the sentiments and characters are, in an undertone, dystopian.

    I kind of think the second is my favourite.

  2. Mine too. There's a strong dystopian flavor to a lot of what I choose to read and write. One of the first books I remember reading and just being completely reshaped by was The Giver, and the impact of that book still resounds with me in a major way.