Though we very much enjoyed Elana Johnson's guest blog about her favorite dystopian novels on Wednesday, we almost didn't include a review of "Possession" in Dystopian Week because we didn't want to tease you—the book isn't out until June 7. But then we got a pleasant surprise: Publisher Simon and Schuster posted the first two chapters online this week! So if you do suspect this complex vision of a future ruled by mind control is for you, you can go see for yourself now (and then suffer the wait for the rest!).
Evil Empire: The Goodgrounds, the Badlands that border them and a few other territories ruled by the Thinkers who have decided that most people are stupid and need someone else to think for them for their own health and safety.
Main Form of Oppression: They rule by brainwashing citizens via nightly audio transmissions, high-tech tracking devices and, when that doesn't work, some very talented Thinkers can just control others' thoughts directly. Not many can disobey this control, but those who do could find themselves banished from the Goodgrounds and living in the low-tech, poorer Badlands.
As any fan of a beloved book that's being made into a movie can tell you: expectations are high. Remember how you felt before "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" hit the big screen?! But imagine the anxiety you'd feel if it was a book you wrote getting the Tinseltown treatment?
That's exactly what happened to author Emily Giffin, who penned the 2005 best-seller "Something Borrowed." With an all-star cast (Kate Hudson, John Krasinski, Ginnifer Goodwin, Colin Egglesfield) and a top-notch producer (Hilary Swank), the rom-com adaptation hits theaters today!
Hollywood Crush caught up with Emily to discuss what it felt like to see the characters she'd created come to life on the big screen, why fans won't be disappointed with the flick and how guys will love it too (and it's not just because of Kate and Ginnifer!).
Ally Condie basically needs no introduction since last year's release of her novel "Matched." And yeah, we're pretty honored that she agreed to write for us about the genre she's partially responsible for making the next big thing. So, as Dystopian Week comes to a close, here's her very enthusiastic two cents:
When MTV.com first asked me to write for them on this subject, I thought, "Easiest post ever!" All I have to do is write the words:
THE HUNGER GAMES
But then I decided to delve a little deeper. Here are a few more reasons why I, both as a reader and a writer, think dystopian rocks, and why it resonates with us:
The novels we've been reviewing for Dystopian Week have been remarkably varied—from the cruel arena of "The Hunger Games" to the outer-space isolation of "Across the Universe," no two of these dark visions of the future are alike. But what makes all of these authors decide to enter this dangerous genre? We asked Lauren DeStefano, whose book "Wither"—depicting a world in which men live only until age 25 and women until 20, thanks to a failed genetic experiment—just came out in March. Here's her take:
The dystopian trend is definitely taking the YA market by storm, but it's hardly a new thing. Before "The Hunger Games" and "Matched," there was "1984," "Handmaid's Tale" and even the song "In the Year 2525." Every generation has a macabre notion that wars, government prohibition, natural disasters or mankind itself could be the downfall of society and the world as a whole.
Most dystopian, classic and contemporary, paints a future world that puts a twist on present society—a future world that could plausibly happen. It's not that the characters in a dystopian society have magical powers or can read minds or routinely walk their pet dragons. It's that they're living in a shell of Earth that would be vaguely recognizable to us.
We're nearing the homestretch of our week-long love affair with dystopia. (Well, I mean, we always have and will love dystopia, but we've been giving it some extra-special attention during our first-ever Dystopian Week.) Anyway...over the past few days we've taken a look at several fine examples of the genre, from the already classic "Hunger Games" to the just-released "Divergent," and today we're drawing a big red heart around one of the newest entries: Lauren Oliver's "Delirium." Is it the dystopian novel for you? Read on!
Evil Empire: More than 60 years ago, the president, in conjunction with the Consortium, deemed love a disease, amor deliria nervosa, and have been working to eradicate it ever since. Of course, they haven't been wholly successful, meaning "Invalids" exist beyond the realms of formal society.
Main Form of Oppression: Following their 18th birthday, each citizen undergoes a lobotomy-like procedure to cure themselves of the dreaded disease. Spouses (and vocations) are assigned by the government and rules of hygiene are communicated through the laughable "Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook" (also known as "The Book of Shhh").
It's not often we get to say this and mean it...but, we're just like Kate Hudson! No, we haven't suddenly become movie stars, and we aren't going to marry Muse lead singer Matthew Bellamy, but, just like her, we are definitely fans of best-selling author Emily Giffin.
We recently caught up with the "Something Borrowed" (which is getting the big screen treatment courtesy of Kate, Colin Egglesfield, Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski) and "Something Blue" scribe who shared with us that the Oscar-nominated actress wants more books from her. But, in particular, Kate wants novels that have to do with the exploits of her character Darcy and cohorts Dex, Rachel and Ethan.
Emily divulged to us that during a recent chat with Kate at a "SoBo" press junket, the actress asked, "Are you gonna write a third book?! Would you ever consider writing a third book?" Can't you just picture it now Crushers, "Something Old" and "Something New"?!
All week long we've been examining, dissecting and discussing the trend de jour in YA literature: dystopia. Happily, in addition to our own insights, we've wrangled several friends in the literary world to weigh-in with their thoughts on all things futuristic. Today, "Hunger Games" Examiner Sara Gundell shares her pick for a worthy follow-up to Suzanne Collins' dystopian masterpiece.
Anyone who's read "The Hunger Games" knows how amazing these books are. They are addictive, and they will consume you as you read each one. And, inevitably, when you’ve finished "Mockingjay," you’ll most likely find yourself suffering from something the folks over at Novel Novice call "Post-Panem Depression." That is to say, it’s fairly impossible for a short while to read anything else. Instead, you will find yourself mulling over the events that transpired over the course of all three books, the relationships between the characters, what they said and what they did.
And when you have finally laid "Mockingjay" to rest and are ready to pick up something else to read, the thirst for something similar is still there. That's what's so great about the explosion of dystopian fiction in YA right now—every day, new titles are coming out to satisfy the cravings of "Hunger Games" fans.
Of course, not all dystopian fiction is created equal—and that's where "Blood Red Road" by Moira Young comes in. Set to hit store shelves on June 7, this book raises the bar when it comes to the genre. Not only will it satisfy the cravings of "Hunger Games" fans, but it is—dare I say—better than "The Hunger Games." Yes, blasphemy for a "Hunger Games" fan to say so, but it’s undeniable. This book will blow you away.
This Tuesday's release of "Divergent" is what prompted us to hold Dystopian Week now. Mostly because we don't want novels like this to get lost in the shuffle as just another title in a hot new trend. This is one fast-paced read that sticks in your head for days after you put it down, both because of its video-game-like scenes and its thought-provoking premise. Read our interview with author Veronica Roth for more about the idea behind its creation, and read on to find out if it's the dystopian book for you. (Hint, "Hunger Games" fans: yes.)
Evil Empire: Chicago, which is now divided into five factions, Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity and Candor, whose members all live according to the human trait they value most. Because their selflessness would logically make them more fair to the rest of the people, Abnegation members controls the central government. At 16, children take a virtual-reality test to determine which faction they're best wired for.
Main Form of Oppression: Once the kids choose their factions, they're stuck with them. If they choose one away from their family, they can only see them on visiting days. And if they then fail the initiation of their faction, they risk winding up factionless—forced to live in poverty on the outskirts of town.
As we roll out reviews, interviews and recommendations here during Dystopian Week, it occurred to us that we'd be too much like Big Brother/the Society/the Capitol if we just gave you our own opinions. So, to show we aren't afraid of a little free thinking around here, we invited author and blogger Elana Johnson, whose own dystopian novel "Possession" comes out next month, to give you her list of favorites. (Come back later today, when we'll dissect "Possession" too!)
It's no secret that I love me some dystopian novels. I believe post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels are getting a lot of attention because they make readers think. The possibilities for the future are endless, and it's interesting to see how an author takes our society and shapes it into a (sometimes scary) world that could really exist.
Here are some of my dystopian faves, in no particular order:
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry: A lot of people don't like how this novel ends, but to me, this is the reason why it's so great. I like a novel that makes me think, and "The Giver" certainly does that.
"The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary E. Pearson: I love this novel because of the lyrical style of writing. I thought it was a brilliant story, told brilliantly.
"Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld: This is actually the first dystopian novel I read. As soon as I finished it, I thought, "I want to write a book like this." I love the idea of making the future into whatever I want. Mostly, I love the way Scott Westerfeld wove together such a perfect example of a dystopian novel, rich with conflict and character.
She was the woman who once told us "If You Have To Cry, Go Outside." And, this week, Kelly Cutrone drops her advice book, "Normal Gets You Nowhere."
The book not only has pearls of wisdom from the People's Rev founder, but also includes anecdotes from her life that are humorous, heartfelt and honest. But as it turns out, her publisher had a different idea of what she should do this time around.
"They wanted me to rewrite the Ten Commandments… like 'Kelly's Commandments.' [But] I did do a really fun chapter in the book called 'If You're Not Getting F---ed By Midnight, Go Home.' And I think that that’s worth $14.99," she laughed. "Just knowing that as a young woman when you're out at a club if you just remember at 11:59 [p.m.] if you're game ain't happening, it's time to go.