What’s so great about Dystopia?

   In my previous post I referred to the world of The Hunger Games as Dystopian, meaning a place that is terrifying, evil and generally not nice. It’s not the only franchise that uses such a setting, see the Maze Runner and the Divergent series to name but two. But why are we so fascinated by such a dark vision of society?

The standard answer is that while Utopia (a good and safe world) might be a nice place to bring up the kids it is actually pretty dull. We want excitement from stories and that requires danger. Our heroes and heroines need to overcome peril and defeat their enemies, preferably against the odds and in the nick of time. Fair enough.

But maybe there is more sinister reason.

Perhaps there is something in human nature that wants chaos, because chaos brings opportunity. Maybe we value ‘winning’ more than happiness, maybe what we all really want is a little bit of mayhem. I realise this is a cynical point of view but look around the world at the moment. War in Syria, terror in Europe, you’ve got to admit I’ve got a point.

Personally the thing I fear most is boredom.

Although being torn apart by a bunch of flesh eating mutants comes a close second.

Either way the message for a writer is this. Give your characters a hard time. Keep them on their toes. Put them in danger. Make your story exciting.

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