Ecc. 1: 9-10
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Sometimes I’m disillusioned by the extreme volume of text that has already been generated by millions of talented writers before me. They have told stories that are different from mine, yet the same. Tales that, in their opinion, are as interesting as mine and as important to mankind as mine.
What makes me think that my novel will generate discussion, misalign the stars—stop the earth turning on its axis—when there is a mass of dystopian mayhem already out there that no one is talking about?
Authors greater than me have imagined and reimagined dystopia—“a place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad”; “a totalitarian or environmentally degraded society which is the opposite of Utopia”; ”an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly”.
“The Running Man” written by Stephen King, originally under the pen name Richard Bachman, (1982) was set in a totalitarian dystopian United States during the year 2025. Ben Richards, the novel’s protagonist is unable to find work, having been blacklisted from his trade, and he needs money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter Cathy.
King’s idea of the collapse of American society was preceded by “A Brave New World” written by Aldous Huxley, in 1932. This was a story so controversial that in 2010 the American Library Association placed it on their “Most Challenged Books” list.
“A Brave New World” was followed by Orwells’, “1984” (1949) and
Bradbury’s “Farenheit 451” (1953). Still, in the face of these great stories, Stephen King wanted to try his hand with a story he felt needed to be told.
Since then Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series (2011) has caused an international sensation as has Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” series (2008).
So, 2015 finds me following in the imprint of these great stories with a little book of my own. It tells the struggles of my characters—people like me—who find themselves living in a distressed society. These characters have allowed me to envision their plight and explain how this new—yet the same—collapse of America will impact their lives.
In “A Brave New World”, Huxley’s society has been through the Nine Years War and the Great Economic Collapse. I am still creating a reasonable cause for the dystopia that causes my characters to end up as they have. It will be a challenge, but thanks to Stephen King, Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins, it’s one that I will have an interestingly, great time imagining!