Guest Blog: Leti Del Mar – Is Dystopian fiction a fad?

Please welcome guest, author Leti Del Mar, to the blog! Leti is a long time member of the Smart Girls Love SciFi community and  she is celebrating her debut novel. We are her last stop on her Land of the Unaltered blog tour, so be sure to go back and catch any posts you  missed. You can find the links here: blog tour schedule. Also, look for info on her giveaway below!

Is Dystopian fiction a fad?
by Leti Del Mar

The Dystopian gene has hit the scene hard in the last couple of years.  Franchises like the Hunger Games have captured the imagination of millions and many critics believe it is the next big thing.  Good-bye teenage vampires.  Hello unhappy populace.  Now it seems like everyone (myself included) is jumping on the Dystopian bandwagon. But is it really just another fad

Let’s first examine what dystopian is exactly.  If we take a look at the word dystopia, the prefix dis means not and topia is a shortened form of the word utopia, which means an idyllic place with perfect laws, government and social conditions.  Thus a dystopian setting would include any society that is not perfect.  By this etymology, just about any story, excluding perhaps James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, could be classified as Dystopian.

Yet in the fictional world, a dystopian society has a few important elements like:

  • Those in power are to some extent corrupt and frightening.
  • The general populace is unhappy with their government, but are often afraid to rise up against it.
  • These stories are often set in some sort of speculative futuristic society.
  • These societies are characterized by a decline in civilization, often after some sort of cataclysmic event.
  • The world that is created can include issues like politics, economics, religion, technology, and the environment.

When you consider these elements, it is easy to see that the Dystopian genre has been around for long time.  Consider George Orwell’s 1984.  Published in 1959, it involves a totalitarian government.  Alodus Huxley’s Brave New World, deals with an imposed psychological caste system and was written in 1932.  Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 951 was published in 1953 and involves a government that burns its books because they are afraid of what they might incite amongst the people.  Notice a trend?  All these books were written decades ago and by Sci-Fi authors.

LandOfUnalteredFINAL (med)

So here is what I think.  When you get down to it, the Dystopian genre has been around for quite some time and is really just an offshoot of Science Fiction.  In fact, some of my favorite Sci-Fi features could be classified as Dystopian.  Doesn’t Star Wars deal with a totalitarian regime set in a speculative future?  The cult TV show, Firefly has an unhappy populace who are too afraid to rise against the central planets. Even Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, my sisters favorite guilty pleasure, deals with the aftermath of the decline of civilization and ends with a huge demolition derby scene over the last oil supplies.

What are your thoughts?  Can you think of a favorite Sci-Fi feature that is also Dystopian?  I would love to hear what you think! 
The dystopian genre isn’t a fad, but has been with for some time.

((a Rafflecopter giveaway))

Leti’s debut book, Land of the Unaltered, is out today! It is a Dystopian Romance and is the first installment of the The Confederation Chronicles.

Rose comes from the capital of the Confederation of Cities where its citizens live in luxury and the greatest fashion statement of all is being Altered. People change everything about the way they look as often as they do their hairstyle but Rose is different. Her position of privilege has made her an outcast and led her to suspect that something sinister is happening to the citizens and flees the capital along with a past that imprisons her in search of a fresh start in the Land of the Unaltered.

Flynn lives in the Land of the Unaltered and hates the capital and everything it stands for. So when a spoiled capital girl is assigned to work with him, he wants nothing to do with her and is prepared to make her life miserable. But Flynn was not prepared for someone like Rose. She doesn’t fit the mold he expected and finds himself strongly attracted to her. As she continues to surprise and outwit him, they begin to forge a bond that is tested when they discover a secret that could change everything they know about Land of the Unaltered.

Get it at:

Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

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12 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Leti Del Mar – Is Dystopian fiction a fad?

  1. Congratulations on your new release, Leti! I really enjoy dystopian fiction, and I’m glad it’s becoming more popular. I don’t think it’s a fad, just more in the spotlight than it used to be. I used to watch a lot of The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, which were often set in dystopian worlds.

    • Thanks so much. I love Dystopian too and am equally glad it is seeing an upswing. You’re absolutely right. Much of those TV show’s episodes could very well be considered Dystopian.

  2. Congratulations on your debut! That’s wonderful. Dystopian fiction is more than a fad. It’s a staple, I think. Even the works you mention 1984, Fahrenheit 451 still hold up amazingly well because the messages are timeless. I was listening to an audio download of the original Brave New World radio play and it held up really well. Good dystopian fiction questions humanity and society in a way that is accessible.

    • Thanks. I agree, when Dystopian is done well and asks the really important questions, it is timeless and can be read and re-read in years to come.

  3. Congrats and good luck with your debut! I don’t think it is a fad. It does seem to have lulls and peaks of popularity, but it has been a genre for as long as there has been a populous unhappy with the current social and government structure – it just wasn’t labeled Dystopian until the 19th century. The messages it conveys are universally understood and timeless.

  4. I had a remarkable success with a YA dystopian book that had over six offers, won a grand prize in a contest and pulled a film option. I swear, these editors were all over it. If anything, it restored my faith that dystopian stories are not going away any time soon.

  5. Congrats on your release, Leti!

    When I was reading your post the first thing that popped into my head was Brave New World. It’s one of my favorite novels of all time.

  6. I love good dystopian fiction, but often it seems like authors and publishers treat it like a fad – throwing out absolutely anything dystopian and assuming it will do well b/c it’s dystopian. When I was in high school there was a fun and interesting dystopian series called DeathLands. It was mostly action-adventure, but had some unexpected depths. My all time favorite dystopian has to be Lois Lowry’s trilogy that starts with The Giver

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