Prepare yourself, for I shall ramble a bit over the next few posts. I’ve been thinking about zombies and dragons and post-apocalyptic dystopias. This all started with a post by Charles Yallowitz, so you can blame him. And do check out his blog, Legends of Windemere.
Charles asked for thoughts on dystopian fiction, and this was my reply to him. “I would observe that in some ways dystopian storytelling is a developmental phase for youth. Calling it a phase makes it sound trivial, but really I think the process is important. As kids, most of us view our families and the world as safe places with benevolent rulers in the form of our parents. A utopia, if you will. However, as we move into our teens, we begin to see flaws in our parents and the world. Beloved parents now are seen as despots. We question, demand, bicker, depending on family dynamics.
“Dystopian fiction reflects this process of questioning as children move toward adulthood. Although the dystopian story setting is often bleak, in fact the youth usually ‘solve’ many issues. So, though questioning the values of their world, they also accept responsibility for changing what they don’t like.”
Charles replied, in part, “I keep thinking about Brave New World and 1984. Those are more adult, so do you think the genre has shifted to a younger demographic?”
And I said, in part, “In the era of the books you mention, there was little or no writing specifically directed to children. But I do think young readers have really claimed dystopian fiction as their own. Although there’s some overlap, more overtly horrific material, such as zombies and conspiracy theories, are more the domain of adults because those reflect adult fears.”
But what does this have to do with dragons? Come back Wednesday and I shall ramble farther on.