Join me in welcoming Jesse on Amaterasu Reads!
Was Star Trek the last optimistic view of the future that really captured the popular imagination? Certainly, it’s the only one that’s really still with us. I think that says something integral about our shift into the darker, more disturbing world of dystopian fiction.
Once upon a time, we as a culture tended to see the future as a great expansion out into space, growing ever upwards into a limitless expanse of stars that was a reflection of our potential. Our science and technology, our popular imagination was very much directed to the pursuit of space travel. That future we once saw for ourselves has, in fact, played out in almost exactly the opposite direction. Instead of expanding outwards, we have moved inwards, exploring the innerspace of computers and the Internet. We have gone from seeing what technology can do for us as an entire species (help us grow and survive) to what technology can do for us individually (propagate our personalities and opinions – much as I’m doing right now).
|Published March 21, 2011 by Harcourt|
At any rate, this more internal view of the future lends itself to narratives that tend to focus on the cracks and seams in our society. Given that those cracks and seams are so much more apparent to us now then they ever have been before (thanks, ubiquitous media coverage), it becomes all the easier to imagine that we might be headed into trouble. That’s what I’ve been mulling over and that’s what I wrote about in Those That Wake.
On the bright side, something else you might have noticed about all this dystopian fiction is that the characters at the centers of the stories don’t tend to be bureaucrats or dictators or torturers. The protagonists are teens fighting these soul-crushing systems, looking for a way out of the seams and cracks. This points to something very promising in us that has always come out in our stories: no matter how bad things get, not matter how dark things look, we are always capable of using our hope to fight back.
Jesse Karp is the author of the YA novel Those That Wake and its forthcoming sequel. He is a school librarian at LREI in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.-----
Please visit him at beyondwhereyoustand.com
Jesse has generously provided a FINISHED COPY of his book, THOSE THAT WAKE which a lucky follower/commenter will win! Check out my review if you are curious to know what I had to say about the book.
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ENDS June 1, 2011
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