Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.


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Dystopia is not a disease

Is it just me or has there been an increase in the number of books set “in a dystopian world”? I’ve been browsing the YA offerings for my older son, and the dystopian setting seems ubiquitous.

To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure I knew what dystopian meant, so I looked it up. It was pretty much what I imagined based on the prefix dys/dis and Utopia, but in case you’re curious, according to the Mac Dictionary:

dystopia |disˈtōpēə| noun an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. The opposite of Utopia.

Movies like Mad Max, Total Recall, Minority Report, and Terminator (the future depicted in it) are examples of dystopian settings. I think the new genre called Steampunk (think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) is feeding the trend, so we’ll probably be seeing more dystopian books as the genre grows in popularity.

I’ve enjoyed some of the aforementioned movies, and my son is reading Leviathan right now, but the bleak, hopeless world really isn’t my thing. It’s just not the type of setting I want to write about. The required world-building would be similar to that of a sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal, I think. Again, not really my thing, but I do find the trends interesting.

What about you? Is a dystopian future (or past) in your future?

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