Many bloggers and critics say the dystopian genre has passed its stride. I’ve heard it compared to the time vampires jumped into fame through the Twilight series. Now The Hunger Games series has come and gone, along with Divergent. They’ll carry their popularity until the end of the movie series. Only a few successors have carried enough weight for notice, like James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series.
So is dystopian dead? Dying?
As an author of a dystopian series that’s launching in just over a week, I have to ask this question. My conclusion?
NO, it’s not dead. It is, however, back to a normal level of attention that any decent genre receives. Back when Hunger Games launched dystopia into the spotlight, hardly anyone even knew the term dystopian. And then, when we figured it out, we mixed it up with all sorts of other subgenres — post-apocalyptic, apocalyptic, science-fiction, etc. Not just that, but the wave of dystopian books that followed the HG typhoon mostly shadowed the same plot line. Female character, a “decision day”, rebellion against the system, giant governmental defeat. Old hat.
The genre drowned a little under some mediocre books and poor plot lines (I won’t name names, though I have a long list.) But it’s on the upswing again. I expect it to level out and the better writers will come out, not relying on the popularity of the genre to carry their stories to the bookshelves, but relying on good writing.
This takes me to another bend in the dystopian road: Christian dystopian books, or whatever other label you want to put on it — spiritual speculative fiction, inspiring, spirit-led, whatever. What I mean is dystopian fiction that is built on the values of Christ, faith, and led by God.
That is what I write and that genre is on the upswing. Sure, we’re behind the trend. Who cares? There are only a handful of these books out there, and there’s a demand for more. That demand is growing…and so is the supply.
When I first went to a Christian writer’s conference, no one was looking for anything sci-fi or fantasy. Then the Hunger Games came out, I grew up a bit (as a person and an author), and the next time I went to the same conference almost every publisher there asked for those genres, specifically dystopian.
This genre captures a hunger in readers — a hunger to fight for something great, to be strong, to resist the control of the world. It’s powerful. It’s meant to inspire us. That’s what I hope to do with my book, A Time to Die.
And this is just the beginning.
Dystopian fiction isn’t dead. It’s just starting to sprout the inspiration it was meant to grow all along.
Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel.
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?
Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.
But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.
This is book one in the Out of Time trilogy (subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016)
You can pre-order A Time To Die through Amazon right now. Click here.