Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Would Your Dystopian World Be Like?

Being a lover of dystopian fiction, all the way back to William Hope Hodgson's
The Night Land, I've been fascinated with all the darkly grim scenarios talented writers manage to dream up.

And, it seems, that for whatever psychological reason, readers and viewers have been attracted to dystopian fare for a very, very long time - and eagerly await the next serving of future doom & gloom.

One of the best, if you can get past the stilted, archaic dialogue, as mentioned above is The Night Land, and where we are presented with the idea of a redoubt (enclave, pod, last stand, final bastion, etc). If I had the talent, as well as the ability to focus on one thing for longer than 5 minutes, that is the world I would build - The Night Land revisited or some such. I imagine this has already been done about a zillion times, it's that read-worthy.

But anyhoo, for some insane reason it's actually very cozy to curl up with an epic dystopian wherein the world building is brutally amazing. And sometimes I'm left feeling inspired and wondering how I'd go about building my own little slice of heaven (okay, hell if you want to be technical). What would it look like, what would be the obstacle(s) to be overcome and so forth?

H.P.Lovecraft is another favorite of mine, and if you've never read At The Mountains of Madness please flog yourself with a damp shoestring until I tell you to quit. H.P.L. was a master at building suspense, sustaining it, and then never quite revealing the horrors in the entirety. All I know after having read every single one of his available works, is to stay the h*ll away from the Antarctic even if someday they discover mountains made of solid gold free for the taking, and also to avoid quaint but out-of-the-way seaside villages where the local residents have taken inbreeding to Olympic-competition levels.

I think though, that out of the modern day dystopians, The Maze Runner, The Passage and The Hunger Games are tops. Of course, if you're reading this post chances are you are all ready well familiar with these amazing novels. An utterly fantastic vampire/dystopian I recently finished was The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda! And now I know to avoid desert-like areas, as well. Nothing good ever seems to come from areas that are inhospitable to human life as we know it.

Yet, getting back to the whole world building thing, there is something gripping about the idea of these generally bleak worlds/inhospitable landscapes. Or night. Imagine a world without sunlight (for some reason, I'm now thinking back to the movie Pitch Black - which rocked big time!).

I think if I were to sit down and attempt to script out my own dystopian novel, it would be a dim, murky world, lots of flat land & arid conditions, and either caverns or tunnels - because that's where the action is, baby. There's just something about spooky dark caves that screams "AVOID" heh heh ...

So, I wondered. What are some of your favorite dystopian books and what do you envision if you were to do some grim world-building of your own? And what would be the primary obstacle your characters must face/overcome?


  1. Oooh, God YES!!! I can barely stand the wait to get my sweaty little hands on Outpost ;D