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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Messy vs Sterile- Why I like Post-Apocalyptic slightly better than Dystopian

Okay, let me begin by saying I quite enjoy a good Dystopian book. The Giver is the only Middle Grade book on my list of all time favorite books. I love that Book. I love Jonas, and Gabe, and Asher who gets a smack instead of a And the Handmaid's Tale is also on my list of top books. The first time I read The Handmaid's Tale, I was underwhelmed. I was in college, and taking a break from reading through the collected works of Robert Jordan, I think there were like 8 of them then, and I was sort of enthralled by epically epic fantasy. The second time I read the book I had a daughter, and I cried through a big part of the book. I LOVED it.

So, I do love that YA is embracing Dystopian Literature. In the last month I read both Matched and Delirium, and enjoyed both.

But at the end of Matched, the thing that stood out to me was that I prefer the messiness of Post-Apocalyptic fiction to the sterility of Dystopian.  That I wanted a book that takes place at that crossroads, at the point where things have gotten so bad that a Dystopian government would seem like a good thing! And then I realized that I sort of had. :) But I'd like to read a futuristic one. It's one of the reasons I love the first Hunger Games so much more than the sequels. Though Panem is, of course, Dystopian, the Seam, and the arena in the Hunger Games have that grim element that seems more Post-Apocalyptic...not so grim as say, The Road, which is the grimmest of the grim, and beautiful in a haunting (and grim) way. But definitely (I refuse to say grim again) dark.

Both types of literature embody my favorite motifs...being trapped, and the essence of what makes us human.

But Dystopian is just so much messier, and the messiness of humanity fascinates me. The highs and the lows. The atrocities and the acts of selflessness...the things that make life worthwhile, even when the status symbols that define worth in modern life have been stripped away. Like Larry in Stephen King's The Stand. Larry is a songwriter who has just released his first single...days before a superflu wipes out the population of the earth. So he has to figure out the new rules and how to survive like everyone else. Of course he also blew all of his money on partying and drugs, but, the thing is...he got the thing that every musician dreams of...and then the world ended. That Stephen King knows how to torture his characters. Another Stephen King example is the world of The Gunslinger in the Dark Tower series. The world has "moved on" and the old rules no longer apply. There are slow mutants who have been radiated, and machines that are running down...and a society that is likewise running down. Fascinating.

So, now I think I want to read some post-apocalyptic YA books...I recently read Life As We Knew It, and wasn't in love with it, but I ordered the sequel because it sounded more appealing to me. Anyone have any other post-apocalyptic YA titles to recommend to me? It seems I've seen quite a few on PM, but not so many are on least not mine!

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Saturday, March 5, 2011


This is going to be a short post. Cause really, this says everything I want to say.

Young Adult
Bethany Griffin's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, a post-Apocalyptic reimagining of Poe's gothic horror story of the same name, in which a girl trying to escape everything holds not only her own life in her hands, but also those of two boys warring for her heart...and the fate of her crumbling society, to Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow Books, in a three-book deal, for publication in Summer 2012, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).

I am so excited! I love this book. I loved writing this book. I can't wait to jump into the sequel (though the revisions seem likely to come before I've done more than write a few scenes). But, I also can't wait to revise and see the improvements unfold!

Here is a much longer description!

Death is impossible and living is impossibly hard for seventeen-year-old Araby Worth inBethany Griffin‘s The Masque of the Red Death, a sexy, post-Apocalyptic reimagining of Poe’s gothic horror story of the same name. The year is 1870 and a deadly virus has decimated the population of North America. Masked corpse-collectors travel the streets, removing the bodies before the contagion can spread. Though Araby tries to escape it all with drugs and parties, even at her most intoxicated she can’t forget her brother’s death-or her guilt for causing it. But things begin to change when William, the fascinating proprietor of the club where she searches for oblivion, and Elliott, nephew of the insane dictator, enter her life. One wants her heart, the other her name. Convinced that he has won over his uncle’s army, Elliott believes that having Araby on his arm will charm the populace into supporting a new government. After all, her father is the inventor of the mask which prevents the spread of the plague-for those who can afford it. In return, Araby asks that he make protective masks available to all citizens, which could save the lives of Will’s young siblings, whom she has come to care about. But nothing is what it seems. A new contagion called the Red Death is sweeping the city. The revelation that Araby’s father may have created the new virus in his laboratory puts Araby’s life in danger. The mob wants her. The rebels want her. And both boys want her. In this two-book series, what and who Araby chooses may just decide the fate of humanity. 

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