Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Passion For Pain

I absolutely love dystopian stories. Always have. Always will. It started with The Handmaid's Tale, and progressed from there through Fahrenheit 451 and the tales of Philip K Dick, through Dreamers In Time and 1984 to the recent glut of YA dystopias.

And I'll admit, I've been eating them up like nothing else. Hunger Games, Divergence, Delirium, Matched, Wither, The Forest of Hands and Teeth...I can't get enough of them. Which is understandable. They're filling a void in me for a certain type of book that adult fiction just hasn't been doing, and I love them.

What's less understandable is why I love dystopian fiction in the first place. What draws me to these terrible future worlds - both in books, and in film? What is it I love so much about them? I'm not entirely sure, though I think I can narrow it down to three main reasons:

1. In these books, the worst has already happened, in one way. I don't have to hold my breath, waiting for a terrible apocalypse to come. I don't have to wonder if awful is just around the corner. It's already arrived, and if I can face it, I'll be okay.

2. The stakes are immediatly raised. Everything and anything can be a crime, or an issue of some type, or a thing you've been denied - as Lisabet's outline neatly showed (fantastic idea and story, BTW, Lisabet!). And when this is already the foundation of the story, the drama is heightened. The tension is greater. And the rewards are far sweeter.

3. The boundaries are higher. I've spoken before about how much I love boundaries of some type around sex, and how hard that it is to achieve in modern settings. But in dystopian settings, the boundaries can be so high they practically touch Mars. You can have worlds where sex doesn't exist, worlds where sex with the wrong person gets you killed, worlds where sex makes you ill. Which is why I one day hope to write some of my own dystopian tales, complete with forbidden bonking.

As for any other, deeper reasons as to why I love dystopias...I don't know. I think that's as deep as I go.

P.S. If you're interested, my first novel from new imprint Mischief is out on Thursday. It's called Power Play, and it's about a woman who loves being dominated by her kinky boss...until she becomes the boss herself, and discovers the kinds of things her equally kinky assisstant is into...

You can find it here:


And here:


And here:



  1. Hi Charlotte!

    I love dystopian novels too. Fahrenheit 451 I think comes the closest to matching the world we actually find ourselves in at this time. Good stories are where you find them.


  2. Ooh, congratulations, Charlotte!

    Adrienne at ERWA just started a thread about Mischief, and you've already got a book out!

    As for why you love dystopias - does there really have to be a reason? I do think that the high stakes are a major factor. Consider Garce's post - have oral sex and be stoned to death!

    Great topic!

  3. Garce - I always think 1984 is the closest. Or Handmaid's Tale - especially considered the recent discussions about birth control and women's reproductive rights.

    Lisabet - thanks! Am really thrilled. It happened in a bit of a whirlwind. And you're right, too, about dystopias. I just like what I like!


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