Friday, February 24, 2012

Let the Games Begin— a Post about Dystopian Novels

Hello all!  Thanks for all the tips on avoiding boredom!

In the comments of my last post, I was talking to Scarlett about fanfiction, and the short piece I wrote for my group of teenage writers on NaNoWriMo.  We're all huge Hunger Games fans, and yesterday, we were talking about what it would be like if we were in the Hunger Games.  So, here's this short little fic I wrote (195 words) based on us (the Purple Elephants) in the Hunger Games.

“Let the Games begin!” shouted a voice, coming from seemingly nowhere.
Rosie stepped calmly off her plate, and looked around.  She began to walk calmly toward the Cornucopia.  This was their plan.  No fighting, no murder.  This was how they would do it.
All twenty-four tributes were walking slowly and purposefully towards the Cornucopia.  She could practically hear the Capitol’s outrage.
She reached the Cornucopia, and stood in the steadily-forming ring of tributes.
She nodded to the two tributes on either side of her—Brody and Eva.
It was Lady.
They all nodded.  Carefully, they began rifling through the items in the Cornucopia.
“Anyone want a knife?” Lady asked.
“I suppose I’ll take it,” said Brody, after a moment, and it was passed along from Lady to Brody.
“Bow and arrow?” Lady called out.
“I’ll take that,” Lauri said, holding out her hand for it.  She nodded in appreciation for its fine craftsmanship, and slung it across her back.  Food was passed out, and the little medicine in the Cornucopia was spread evenly among them.  Weapons were distributed, and, for the first time ever, there wasn’t a single death within ten minutes of starting.

So, what do you think?  We all decided (shortly before I wrote this little guy) that we wouldn't be able to kill each other, and would all be allies, which is where the point of the fic stems from.  If you're wondering why it's based around Rosie, that's because on the NaNoWriMo forums, I generally go by Rosie.  I had fun with it, but there has been very little editing, so it's not very polished.

Have any of you guys read the Hunger Games?  If so, thoughts?  If not, why not?  The fact that I like the Hunger Games is actually quite surprising.  I am really not a fan of dystopian novels, which, considering that recently the YA genre has been flooded with them is rather unfortunate.  I much prefer regular fantasy.

Dystopia.  What do you guys think of it?  Generally, I can’t really stand it.  The only two dystopian series/novels I've ever really liked, are The Hunger Games, and the Uglies series (though I've only read book one).  My friend and I were walking home from school one day a couple months ago, and came up for this formula for most dystopian novels.

Bad history of a society + government taking over + a random girl a hundred years after the government has taken over, who meets a guy + guy explaining about some form of rebellion + guy gets between girl and her long-time guy best friend + eventually girl joins rebellion + girl figuring out how to stop the government in some way= a dystopian novel

Do you guys have anything to add (or subtract) to my dystopian formula?

The Dandy Lioness


  1. LOL. Your formula made me laugh because the second novel I finished followed it to a T. :P I really have to go back and revise it to make it more original, since you're right, that sequence of events really does seem to be staple of the genre.

    Great piece! :)

  2. Thanks! And see, that just proves my point. ;) I think I wouldn't really have an issue with dystopian novels, if people looked at that formula (or a similar one) and made sure to change a few things, make it original and interesting, and fun to read.

    -The Dandy Lioness

  3. Hmm, dystopian novels. I like the idea behind them--the whole governmental control, idealistic society thing--but I feel like a lot of them are really just clones of each other. I can definitely think of more than a couple dystopian novels I love--The Hunger Games, The Giver--though. Perhaps the excellency of a given dystopian novel has more to do with the author's writing than the plot. I'm not sure about that, though, because predictable plots can definitely be the downfall of an otherwise wonderful book.

    On the subject of The Hunger Games, slightly more specifically, I loved the first book. But the second and third books in the series definitely didn't live up to my expectations. I couldn't even finish Mockingjay and I don't really know why; it just didn't interest me anymore. That didn't spoil the awesomeness of the first book at all, but I don't really love The Hunger Games as a series. [end rant]

    Just wondering, but where do steampunk books fit into the equation? (Your equation made me laugh a lot; it's very accurate!) I've read some steampunk novels that do follow that formula, but I've read other ones that count as dystopian, I would think, even if it is an alternate history dystopia sort of thing, and are rather original in terms of plot. So perhaps there are some exceptions.

    I love the fanfiction, by the way! :)

  4. ARG. Had a whole comment written out, but then accidentally refreshed the page. :/

    Anyways. As for steampunk, I really quite love the genre. I find it fascinating. I haven't read too many of them, but among the ones I have read are the Airborn series by Kenneth Oppel, and the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. I do my best to avoid dystopian-themed ones, though, as I tend to just get really annoyed by them. I don't actually consider steampunk to be dystopia, in my mind, it's its own genre.

    In my mind, the steampunk genre is set in an alternate past, with Victorian England, and airships. Maybe that's really narrow minded, but that's how I think of it.

    And thanks about both my formula, and fanfiction!

    -The Dandy Lioness

  5. Ah. I am, as well, in love with steampunk. I don't consider steampunk to be dystopia, either--should have specified that, sorry--although I do think there are some steampunk novels that are dystopian. (Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher, is one that comes to mind.)

    I haven't read the Airborn series; is it good? I know the Leviathan series is amazing...

  6. Love your fanfiction, Sofia! I had to ask my son to give me a quickie tutorial on The Hunger Games. Haven't read it. Your plot sounds like an all out uprising! I like it!

    I haven't read many dystopian novels. Though, Brave New World is still one of my all time favorite novels! I was just explaining my fascination with the whole concept to my kids the other night! Also tried to sell them on watching the movie, Logan's Run. Fun! Back in the day.

    I guess I liked Lord of the Flies okay. I mean, interesting in a microscope on our humanity sort of way. But, SO very depressing. As far as anything recent, perhaps The Host, by Stephanie Meyer? Haven't gotten very far in it yet, but the premise is intriguing.

    *guy gets between girl and her long time guy best friend* Your formula is a riot!