March 03, 2016

Bookish Diary ~ 7 Signs You Are Reading a Dystopian Novel

There's been a lot of books based on dystopian-ish type of setting. For those who doesn't know, a dystopian novel is a story where all matter of things are wrong, from the society, to the government. Usually this is a vision of the future where everything is worse. Dystopian novels are very popular these days what with the movie adaptations of the Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner

photo from:

There's something about a world where all manner of evil is acceptable and where a hero comes along to make a stand against all odds that seem to intrigue readers. Me, I just like how the characters kick ass.

If you're unaware that what you're reading is a dystopian, then here are some elements that are consistent in this genre.

1. Ruins. Old buildings. Torn down or weathered with age. Sometimes there's a whole abandoned city where the hero must go or investigate. Sometimes he or she comes from that said place, surviving on the trash that society has forgotten. These ruins are usually destroyed by war, famine, or just cordoned by the government (labeling it as 'dangerous') where the hero is usually the only guy stupid enough to go there.

2. Zombies or other mutants. Usually dystopians that are set after a world-wide catastrophe have a few of these one way or the other. Zombies are common trend like with Rot and Ruin Jonathan Maberry or World War Zwhich had been turned into a movie starring Brad Pitt. Mutants and monsters are fun things to throw at the hero, who usually by this time has either learned serious ninja moves, has a bad-ass sidekick or a tank. 

3. Robots. I would have put this in the zombie and mutant categories but I think they deserve to have a part on their on. Robots aren't often use in a dystopian novel primarily because they are super tough bastards that often has too many upgrades. Read The 5th Wave, although they aren't the kind of robots like in The Terminator, those drones are something the main character should look out for.

4. Missing Adults. What is it with dystopian and adults? Either they are the enemy, (turned into zombies, mutant eating children) or they have an almost non-existent role. More often than not, they are the bad guys to be avoided. If you read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, you'll be terrified of a world where your parents can get rid of you for eating one cookie too many. 

5. Evil Governments. If it's a dystopian, rest assured that the government is ruled by one evil dude who for some reason has it real bad for the main character. President Snow is an example of this.

6. Advanced Tech or Stone Age setting. Usually dystopian falls into two categories: a real advance world where futuristic technology is in everyday use OR a world where survival lies on how hard you can punch the next guy.

7. Weapons. Whether it is a makeshift axe, or a sub-machine gun, a good ole', dystopian isn't complete without weapons. The larger variety, the better. From assault rifles, hand grenades, rocket launcher, and hand gun to swords, throwing stars, or even a plain old baseball bat weapons are the core, the reason, the main stars of every dystopian ever.

~ Djan


Post a Comment