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Dystopia: It's Like The Darkness is the Liiiiight


posted by Lucy V Morgan on ,

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Sorry to quote Rihanna at you -- the pun was too good to resist. Calm down now. Have a cookie?

I never imagined I'd write a dystopian novel. I've had a crack at enough fantasy stories in recent years to realise that with my nit-pickery tendencies, sci-fi is definitely more my thing, but dystopian sci-fi always seemed so...well. Trendy.

I mean, look at me. I'm wearing a frickin' lace collar. Do I look trendy to you?

But there was a girl's name I wanted to use that would so suit that kind of world. There was a yummy half-Japanese scientist getting more tortured and delicious, the more he brewed in my brain (think Tekken's Jin Kazama, but in glasses. This is him => Tell me you don't want to be injected with synthetic dreams of this young man, like my new heroine). There was even some wonderfully smug Latin terminology developing. So I've given in, and I'm writing the damn thing (sorry, Requiette. If it helps, I'm going to turn you into a script).


I've been thinking, as I write my synopsis, about what makes dystopia tick. If "the darkness is the light," then what does that mean? There's no hope? Or there's always hope in strange shapes and places? What does good dystopian fiction need to work?

It needs characters who have suffered. It needs characters who are willing to fight, even if it's a loosing battle. Dystopia is all about people on the edge who are grasping at straws, and that's where the psychology gets interesting to me: when you're pushed to your limits and there is nothing left in the world worthy of love, will you go down screaming? Will you rot away slowly as a foot soldier, absent and void?

Or will you never stop searching for something -- somebody -- to love, even if it means you start doing strange things? Bad things? Unforgivable things...? How do you get around that without bowing out on a crappy-ever-after?

I'd love to read your thoughts on writing good dystopia. I think I currently write dystopian characters in contemporary England, but I suck at worldbuilding...it's the lazy way out. Help me!

10 comments

  1. Deviant Dreamer

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