The Oxford dictionary says that dystopia is: an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. The opposite of Utopia.
That sounds like a perfect place to set a novel. And it seems lots of other people agree too. I’ve been reading blog posts and reports for a couple of years now about how agents and publishers are sick of getting dystopian novels landing on their desks. Since The Hunger Games, we’ve gone dystopia crazy.
I hate to burst that bubble, guys, but we’ve been dystopia crazy for years. Think The Time Machine (it’s in there, honest), think Nineteen Eighty-Four, think Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid’s Tale.
We’ve always loved dysptopia. And from what people tell me whenever I mention that I’ve written a dystopian novel, we’re still hungry for more. Of all the upcoming books I’ve publicised, Runners is the one that has caused the most excitement. Yet the niggling doubt is still there that nobody will be interested when the book comes out. What if the blogs and reports are right? What if we’ve all moved on to magical flying monkeys or vampiric were-donkeys? Then I guess I’ll just climb back into my box and spend my days reading it to myself. I can at least pretend that I made it to the party, right?
Like Harry Hill says (it’s an English thing, stick with me) there’s only one way to find out…