Well that’s what I’m going to be discussing when I go to Singapore later this year.
Yes I’m excited to have been invited to be part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in June and I’ll be hopping on a (not Qantas) plane to see the beautiful garden city.
I’m doing a panel on June 2 with fellow authors Payal Dhal and Sally Gardner talking about the ins and outs of writing science fiction for young adults. We will probably also discuss the future of YA and trends over the past decades.
It’s a topic that’s close to my heart because I’ve been hearing around the traps that dystopia is dead and ‘sick lit’ is the new big thing ; as in ill teens and broken hearted love, think John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars which has (and quite rightly) been a massive best seller. Well done John on your beautiful book
But…… much of the talk of the death of dystopia is coming from publishers and agents – and some book sellers – and I’m wondering what readers think.
Are you over the dystopia? Have the likes of the Hunger Games and Divergent and the movie franchises sucked the life out of the genre and you hunger now for different world?
I’m not convinced, but perhaps I’m grasping at straws because Rosie Black is dystopian and I don’t want to see a genre I love so much die. There are so many wonderful stories that are dystopian.
Perhaps it is the too familiar setting of a totalitarian futuristic world where a group of teens must overturn the status quo that has become too common place that it no longer holds interest. Maybe we need fewer female warriors with the token boy love interest to be replaced by a more complicated relationship where girl and boy are equal in their struggle. I’m sure there are books out there with that. Julianna Baggott’s books for example.
I think a big part of it could be that agents, and editors, are just sick to death of reading pile after pile of dystopian YA and can no longer see the wood for the trees, and possible don’t want to. I mean if you’re forced to eat nothing but chocolate cake day in and out for eons, then even if you love it you’re going to get very, very sick of it after a while. I’m not surprised many of them have dystopian fatigue – but does that mean readers do as well?
I still think that what readers want is a good story and characters they can love, people they want to know and cheer for. What we need is just to work harder on that and wring out our hearts and blood and tears creating stories that resonate and connect regardless of which world they are in.