Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Hidden Positive Power of Dystopian Fiction

One of my favorite questions to ask people when I am getting to know them is what genre of books they enjoy reading. You can learn a lot about a person from the types of books they gravitate toward!

As a sci-fi fan myself, one of my favorite sub-genres is that of dystopian fiction - you know, those stories set in the sometimes near, sometimes distant future where everything is a 'mess'?

What do I mean by 'mess'? Many of the dystopian novels I've read deal with a society that's fallen in some way, be it due to economic crises of population issues, advances in technology, climate change, politics, genetics, disease, you name it - there's probably a book about it.

Dreary though it may seem, one of the reasons I love this genre is because it actually puts me in the frame of mind to ask "What if..."?

"What if...we could no longer see color?"
"What if...we could be present in infinite realities without moving an inch?"
"What if...we separated people by personality to live in silos of specialization?"
"What if...we lost our ability to read?"

Imagine all of the ways we as humans would need to adapt to a society like these. The positive power that lies in these scenarios is how they force us to dig deep into our interpretation of the world around us and find new ways to approach everyday life. By throwing us into a situation we have not yet encountered, we go outside our comfort zone as readers to accept the possibility of a new reality in which things we currently take for granted might not exist.

If you are looking for a book that will broaden your perspective, I challenge you to investigate this genre to find a story with an overall theme sparks your interest. Don't let any Young Adult labels dissuade you - sometimes a story that allows you to step outside your daily routine and imagine a society very much unlike our own can be a valuable experience in exercising those creative muscles and maybe even inspiring you to take on your own "What if...?"

Do you have a favorite book, in this genre or otherwise, that greatly changed your perspective or sparked an idea?

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