On this last day of Dystopian November, here’s some really interesting data (below) compiled by Goodreads on what’s gone before in this fascinating sub genre. I love how they’ve separated it into ‘waves’ and on whom likes what:
- Fear of The State. Men tend to favour these types of books and it’s not difficult to see why when we consider titles like 1984, A Clockwork Orange and Brave New World. These are literary, political and ‘cold’ fare, often with male protagonists. This obviously doesn’t exclude female readers – I’ve read them all, for starters, plus we can only deal in generations – but I don’t feel the emotional connection I do to some of the others on this graphic.
- Anxiety of the body. I think it is really interesting that Goodreads finds there’s a gender split on these books. If someone asked me to bet, I would have put actual money on women preferring books like The Handmaid’s Tale, but then I would have assumed more men prefer V for Vendetta, too. Shows you never can tell!
- Young Adult. This ‘wave’ immediately comes to mind whenever anyone says ‘dystopian’ – with the huge success of the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner, it’s not surprising that women like this kind of dystopian literature best.
As already stated, we can only deal in generalisations when it comes to audiences and their preferences. That said, as someone who grew up reading dystopian fare like Clive Barker’s Imajica and Stephen King’s The Stand, I believe the next big trend in dystopian literature will be post-apocalyptic adult.
These stories will deal with some elements of the supernatural (whatever that means), but will otherwise take place in worlds where society has fallen, but some elements of technology remain. They will be violent and full of threat and menace, containing both male and female leads. In other words, they will be like G X Todd’s DEFENDER, or movies like MAD MAX FURY ROAD. Can’t wait!