CSFF Blog Tour: Dystopia

Today the CSFF blog tour begins its tour of Outcasts, the second book in Jill Williamson’s dystopian Safe Lands series.

Dystopian is in now; you don’t need to look any further than The Hunger Games to know it, and if you look anyway, you’ll see Divergent. YA dystopian is especially in. This has naturally led to all sorts of rumination about dystopias, trends, literary darkness, and teenagers.

Some people attribute the increasing darkness of YA fiction to the increasing darkness of the world around us. In our era of terrorism, school shootings, economic decline and political dysfunction, dystopia is either a dark mirror or a dark comfort. (“Well, America might be unraveling into a social, political, and economic mess – but hey, it could be worse.”)

I wonder about this explanation. The images we swim in might be darker and darker – and someone out there must like it, when you consider how much of the darkness is manufactured in Hollywood for our entertainment – but is the world itself darker? Is our modern experience so much grimmer that it darkens our imagined worlds to match?

At the end of the 1930s, Americans were marking a decade and counting of economic depression, while watching other nations topple into the second world war in twenty-five years. Somehow it didn’t set off lucrative trends into dark stories.

I have no firm theory or settled opinion on the matter, and surely the real explanation is complex and multifactored. And whatever the precise reasons behind the current popularity of dystopias, the essential idea is an old one and is still a compelling way to examine ideas. On that thought, here are the links to

Outcasts on Amazon;

Jill Williamson’s website;

and the blog tour:

Red Bissell
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
April Erwin

Victor Gentile

Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner

Julie Bihn
Carol Keen
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jacque Stengl

Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

3 thoughts on “CSFF Blog Tour: Dystopia

  1. I like dystopian fiction, mainly because I find it to be realistic. I think the main potential in it is that characters are faced with MAJOR challenges that make the horrors of everyday life look tame. I got Captives when it was temporarily free on Kindle and my Kindle broke down in the middle of reading it— oh, the agony! And then I had to wait for the 7th of this month for Outcasts to come out. But they were well worth it.

  2. Great thoughts! Dystopian fiction can be really interesting to read, but I miss the old-fashioned optimism that the future would bring good things. As recently as the 1980s (maybe even later) people thought genetically-engineered produce would be wonderful and now many people say it’ll be the death of us.

    One wonderful thing in this series (so far) is that the technology itself is not shown as necessarily being the problem…in Captives, Mason dreams of FIXING everything, which got me to thinking that if you just had a moral backbone in that world, it wouldn’t be a bad place, really. They just need a Savior…

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Nissa and Julie. Dystopian isn’t one of my dislikes; occasionally I read it and like it. But after two or three dystopians in a row, I feel the need to break to something brighter.

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