Dystopian societies popular genre among teens

Commentary by Mary Daniel Cheek
Times-News correspondent

Twenty-four teens are put in an arena and forced to battle each other until just one remains. Society is rigidly divided into five factions who take priority over one’s family. Citizens who do not conform to their society are euthanized without a choice.

Not only are these plots sinister, they are among those found in the wildly popular genre of fiction about dystopian societies. Novels such as “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “The Giver” have taken the world of young-adult fiction by storm. These days, it seems that teens cannot get enough of these storylines, and this has some wondering, why are these stories so popular?

Perhaps it is the importance of making decisions that captivates readers and moviegoers who also are at the point in their lives where they must make critical decisions. Maybe it is because teens savor the opportunity to be immersed in a world so much different than their own.

It is not only the book-selling industry that has benefited from this craze. Hollywood also has decided to hop on the dystopian bandwagon, turning books in “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Mortal Instruments” series into highly-anticipated movies complete with midnight premieres and record-breaking sales. Further proving that this genre has struck a chord with teens, “The Giver,” which was written 21 years ago, has been made into a movie that will come out in August of this year.

Whatever the reason for this genre’s explosive success in the past few years, it seems here to stay. For all you budding novelists who think you might have what it takes to develop an enticing plot about a dystopian society that includes elements of survival, violence and romance, you just may have book publishers and Hollywood filmmakers knocking on your door. And if you do so, may the odds be in ever in your favor.

Mary Daniel Cheek is a junior at Williams High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


This entry was posted in Entertainment, frontpage, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.