Literature, like fashion, seems to go in trends. The recent vampire trend is just a reboot from the late 80s and early 90s when we were graced with such awesome movies and books like The Lost Boys and Interview with a Vampire. When we had enough of bloodsucking, it went away, only to be resurrected (ha ha!) 10+ years later. As vamps are slowly making their way back out (although I still think they’ll be around for a while), a new trend has been creeping onto the shelves.
If YA lit is your thing, you’d have to be blind not to notice the immense amount of dystopian books that have hit the scene recently. While I’m sure there were books out before it, the Hunger Games trilogy seems to have really brought notice to and possibly encouraged other authors to write this specific genre.
What’s the draw of these bleak dark stories? Do people notice things going on in real life: war, natural disasters, morally corrupt people, and think that these may really be a reflection our future to come? A premonition of sorts? Or is it more the strong main characters (often female) who have suffered but haven’t given up, who have a change of heart and don’t blindly follow what their new governments deem as right, who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their loved ones and their communities?
Personally, I think it may be a combination of all of the above. Like many, I have been sucked into these stories: Hunger Games, Wither, Divergent, Delirium, Matched, Enclave, The Maze Runner, even Inside Out and Outside In, while having the sci-fi twist, I’d still call it a dystopian. Yes, there are definitely depressing aspects to these stories and I often try to put myself in the main character’s shoes. Would I have been able to continue on in those situations? Would I have conformed or fought for a better life? They make me stop and think. I spend a lot of time wondering if our world could really mimic some of these disaster wrought lands.
I do enjoy them and I think, because it’s something that hasn’t been touched on recently, that the trend will continue to grow and stick around for quite some time. That being said, authors may want to start thinking of writing utopian type stories to pick people back up after they’ve had their fill of decimated populations, uber corrupt governments and barren wastelands.