Because I will be publishing a new book soon, a young adult dystopia novel, the question has been asked why I’m switching from fantasy to dystopia, and what’s the difference between the two genres?
First, I want to let my readers know I’m not switching. I’m adding. There are still at least three more books of The Ian’s Realm Saga currently at different stages of publication right now, and that is besides the original trilogy. (Deception Peak, Dragon Shield and Rubies and Robbers which the out-of-print books are all available on my website ). PDMI will be republishing a new edition of Dragon Shield and Rubies and Robbers in the future.
Secondly the dystopia novel that I’ve written comes from an urgency I feel deep within.
For those of you who don’t know what dystopia is Wikipedia has a great discourse on the concept. I personally like to explain it as a novel placed in a dysfunctional utopia. There are many sub genres that include dystopia novels. Wikipedia lists a few with links to the descriptions.
- Alternate history
- Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
- Failed state
- New world order (politics)
- New World Order (conspiracy theory)
- Self-fulfilling prophecy
- Social science fiction
- Soft science fiction
- Utopian and dystopian fiction
The society in The Hunger Games is a dystopia as are such classics as Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell which was written in 1949, and The First Men in the Moon written by H.G.Wells written in 1901.
Why do older dystopia novels seem prophetic? I attribute this to the fact that fiction authors have the ability to think in the abstract. By that I mean they not only have imagination and can create worlds that no one has seen before, but an author can stand away from his or her circumstances and look at life with a bird’s eye view. They see cause and effect more clearly. If you do this, than this happens so to speak. And oftentimes their assumptions are correct because those assumptions are based on current scientific discoveries, history and/or natural laws and processes that have proven themselves already. Combine that with a keen imagination and you have a wonderful dystopia novel.
So the difference between a dystopia story and a fantasy story is that the former may have a darker more urgent element. Just the word itself implies an oppressive and undesirable environment (though some fantasies are also dark, still dystopia is defined by its oppressive element and is the theme of the story).
In my own work, the difference is that the Realm is a beautiful and peaceful place but there are dangers and evil residing in its countryside that need to be conquered. In Altered, my new book soon to be launched, the world I’m building is the danger.