Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Words: Done With Dystopian (For Now)?

Even if you have no particular aspirations to become a published writer yourself, it can still be really interesting and beneficial to follow the blogs and Twitter accounts of publishers, agents, and editors. Writers are of course fabulous to follow for more obvious reasons - they give agonizing peeks at what they're working on (or thinking about working on) and are often times quite colorful characters themselves. But publishers, agents, and editors are fascinating too and can provide an interesting perspective on the publishing world.

Namely, they let the world know what they are looking for, which many times can give the rest of us some kind of indication of what the next trends may be.

In a recent #askagent chat on Twitter, a number of agents, many of whom represent YA, answered questions about what they are looking for or what the next "big thing" is going to be. The gist of it, at least to me, seemed to be that they are dystopians are on the way out (at least for now).

The dystopian trend has had a tremendously successful run. I loved The Hunger Games. I'm a huge fan of other dystopian series such as Divergent, Delirium, and Matched and cannot wait to read their finales when they come out next year. But if I'm honest, I often find myself needing to read something considerably lighter in tone and mood following these stories to give myself a pick-me-up.

But on the other hand, I guess I'll believe that the trend has run its course when I see it. The lines between genres blur so much these days which makes fresh, new stories possible. Dystopians are part people, part science fiction. Debut novels such as Struck and Monument 14 are definitely books with an end of the world theme to them, and I believe they have strong futures ahead. Vampire novels and fallen angels seem to still be doing well, and these sort of go with the growing resurgence of the fantasy trend (though it's taken on a decidedly less magic-oriented theme as far as many of the blurbs I've been reading for the most part).

So what are your thoughts? Are you ready for dystopians to take the back seat for a while, or is this something you want to stay front and center for a while longer? Personally I think that variety is good, but this was an interesting trend to me because it's one that I didn't expect to like as much as I did and was pleasantly surprised. I think this has become a new staple for our bookshelves and while the big rush for these books may be beginning to wane, I highly doubt they will disappear from "new titles" lists all together.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!


  1. I think Dystopians are here to stay.

    I do like the genre but more in film. In books, I tend to be picky about what dysopian novels I go for because sometimes I feel like they resemble each other a little too much for comfort. The plotline really has to stand out for me, so I can go for it.

    And I already read too much philosophy in my spare time so I usually need a break from books with a heavy tone and dystopians have that quality to them.

    1. I completely agree that dystopians as a sub-genre are here to stay, but I think that maybe the hype will start to decline a bit about it, too. And I agree that it can feel like a lot of them have a similar premise (evil government, society thrown completely out of whack) but the key to each book/series being successful is taking that idea on in a NEW way. I've also been on a bit of a break from them myself and am having fun rereading The Princess Diaries for the first time since I was in junior high =)