At the end of 2016, I was suddenly gripped with the idea that I wanted to read more dystopian fiction. No, I needed to read in that genre, if not for entertainment, then possibly for instruction. In the seven months since I decided to read one dystopian novel a month, real life has gotten more surreal than I could imagine even half a year ago. Don’t worry, no political ranting from me is to follow, but regardless of political affiliation, I know I’m in the company of many, many folks who are surprised on a daily basis at current affairs. How does dystopian fiction relate?
Dystopian literature’s aim is to explore the social and political aspects of life after some sort of significant change to society as we know it. Think governmental collapse, planet-scale war, environmental disaster, that sort of loveliness. Despair is a common theme, not necessarily the biggest draw for potential readers, but so is human resiliency, compassion, and connection. At a time when unprecedented political stories become old news, I can’t help but be drawn to stories of resistance, even if they don’t necessarily have happy endings.