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SDCC 2012: Hungry for Dystopia Panel Coverage

YA LiteratureWith the popularity of YA dystopia literature like The Hunger Games taking the world by storm, the Fanboy Comics crew attended Hungry for Dystopia, a panel discussing what attracts today’s authors to totalitarian futures, the inspirations behind dystopian themes, and the possible solutions offered within their stories.  The panel featured authors Neal Shusterman (Unwind trilogy), Lissa Price (Starters), Paolo Bacigalupi (The Drowned Cities), Michael Grant (BZRK), Daniel H. Wilson (Amped), Gennifer Albin (Crewel), and Marie Lu (Legend trilogy), and it was moderated by Anna North (America Pacifica). 

In a candid discussion that offered a deeper look into the minds of today’s dystopian authors, moderator North encouraged the panelists to share their inspirations for writing about our hypothetical futures.  Despite the various subject matter covered in the panelists’ books, the authors seemed to agree that they wanted to move away from the dystopian stories that featured society in the aftermath of nuclear devastation.  Today’s dystopian literature has taken on the idea of things that could happen based on where our society is now.  These stories force us to focus on the issues that we face today, whether they be social (gender politics, economic disparity, and reproductive rights) or environmental (global warming), and allow these issues to function as a warning of would could happen, if taken to the extreme.  

While many dystopian stories are targeted towards Young Adult audiences, this commonality may be purposeful.  A majority of the panelists found that using teenage protagonists permitted the characters to remain hopeful for a better future, motivating their actions towards “fighting the good fight” without being jaded by years of misfortune.  Despite the young target audience, the authors have found that their stories transcend age groups, as hope is not lost on humanity as a whole. 

Overall, the panel was an interesting companion to the dystopian craze that has overtaken YA literature, and I can only hope that the authors continue to use their writing to inspire hope in readers of all ages.


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