Thursday, April 21, 2016

Discussion: Why I Read Dystopias


Today I’m teaming up with Cornerfolds and Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My for the 2016 dystopia reading challenge. This month’s discussion prompt is “Five reasons why I read dystopias.”

Dystopias—especially YA dystopias—often get hate from book reviewers. The genre can be formulaic and full of tropes. The books are rife with love triangles, insta-love, melodrama, and badass girls with serious cases of special snowflake syndrome. Most dystopias are pretty far-fetched and definitely require some suspension of disbelief.

I agree with a lot of the criticism that reviewers hurl at the genre, but I still read (and obsess over) dystopias. Here’s why.



1. They’re intensely readable. I can usually get through a dystopia faster than most other genres. I’m not a fast reader, but I finished The Hunger Games in one night. Some dystopias have so much action that the pages fly by. Also, dystopias tend to be dark and weird, and that's exactly how I like my books. If a book is dark and weird, I don't want to put it down. 





2. They have depth. Action-packed books can sometimes feel like the literary equivalent of those movies that have cool explosions, but you forget the main character’s name halfway through because the story has no depth. The dystopian books I’ve read have action and depth. You get the cool explosions, but you also get characters to care about and issues to think about.





3. I’ll be dead in the future, and I don’t want to feel left out. I read dystopias for the same reason that I read historical fiction. The world existed for a long time before I was born, and it will continue existing after I’m dead. Most of the dystopias I’ve read are set in a science-fiction future. Maybe I’m morbid, but I like to read about different futures that I won’t be around to see. (In the case of dystopias, maybe it’s good that I won’t be around to see them.)





4. They’re not really about the future. Even though many dystopias are set in the future, they’re not about the future. They focus on modern-day issues, which is interesting. I like to see authors’ fictional takes on current events.





5. Who needs rules? Characters in contemporary and literary fiction are bound by modern laws, morals, and technology. Some authors go to great lengths to get their characters around modern limitations. In futuristic or fantasy dystopias, the limitations of our modern world don’t exist. That makes for an entertaining reading experience.





Do you read dystopias? What is your favorite thing about the genre?





20 comments:

  1. I love dystopian books. I love seeing the crazy future societies that authors dream up. And I love the action and life-threatening, intense circumstances the characters are in. And of course there's usually a love story, which I can't resist.

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    1. The intensity is one of the things that I love most about dystopias. I can read them so fast.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I don't read a ton of dystopian books but I do love them now and then. I totally agree with all of your reasons but really like your #4. I think this is so true and like that part of it.

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    1. I took a break from reading dystopias, but I’m getting back into them this year. I’ve loved most of the dystopias I’ve read so far.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. It's actually been a while since I read a dystopia but I do love them :) when it doesn't revolve around tropes and only the tropes, they're quick reads that also make you pause to think because it is a reflection of the present more so than the future. You have some great points! Awesome post
    Enchanted by YA

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  4. Yes I also love dystopias, society imagined differently will always be interesting to me. I just wish more writers wouldn't use themes we seen before and be more creative
    Tori @InToriLex

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  5. It seems that most of the criticisms of the dystopian genre are actually criticisms of the YA dystopian genre.

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    1. Agreed. It’s probably because YA dystopias are insanely popular.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. Dystopian novels do have depth. Well, they're kind of obliged to, otherwise no one will be interested by them or they would lack grandly in world-building. Wonderful post!

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  7. One of my favorites in YA literature is dystopia, and you definitely explained the reasons why perfectly! I think the greatest thing I love about it is because it almost always puts me on edge. Most of them are action-packed so I'm usually hooked into the story every time, and I always love it when books excite me. :) Great post!

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    1. Yes, the dystopian genre is definitely one of the most readable genres. I love that so many of them are unpredictable.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. Fantastic post!! I totally agree with all of your reasoning. I also have a morbid curiosity with the end of the world and dystopian/post-apocalyptic societies by extension. I do see how some people could be irritated by common tropes, but overall I have found much more enjoyment in dystopian fiction than many other genres!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    1. Some of my favorite books ever are dystopias. Morbid curiosity does have a lot to do with my love of them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. I ADORE dystopians for pretty much all the same reasons that you mention here. I really love books that make me think about the world we live in and the what-ifs!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  10. Great post! I'm a dystopian junkie at heart and I think the reason why I am fervently devoted to this genre is because of your reason #2, I love books that provoke my thoughts and emotions :D

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  11. Wonderful list! Ah, but while #3 gave me a laugh, it made me feel so sad. I relate to that so stinkin' much. In hindsight, I probably should have included something along those lines in my top 5 reasons for reading dystopian fiction. A missed opportunity, for sure.

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  12. This post is my FAVORITEEEEE! I am such a sucker for a good dystopian! And I totally agree with your reasons, too! (Number 3 made me laugh bwhahha) I think what I love the most is that it is all plausible. Like, with fantasy, we KNOW that like, dragons aren't a thing, and no one has magical powers and such, but with dystopian, it walks that line between contemporary and fantasy/sci fi SO well!

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