Christine Marie Vinciquarra writes for Bleeding Cool:
The How to Survive in a Dystopian World panel started with a ton of laughter as moderator Scott Westerfield started off by saying “so many dystopias, so little time.” Isn’t that the truth! The panel of seven authors consiting of James Dashner, Margaret Stohl, Pierce Brown, Rachel Cohn, Alex London, Maya Rock, and Joshua David Bellin, quickly chimed in with tid bits about their own books. The conversation began to lean towards, whether or not the age of dystopian fiction is coming to a close. The consensus was people aren’t tired of dystopia, they’re tired of bad dystopia. Westerfield argued that he had just been on a book tour and met tons of YA readers that didn’t voice any hatred towards the genre continuing. He then joked, “we are just going to read books about cancer from now on.” (A friendly nod to John Green.)
As the panel continued Margaret Stohl proved to be the most energetic out of the seven authors, and egged the crowd on to cheer as loud as we could keeping the energy in the room high. Westerfield continued with a discussion about control in the dystopian societies. They usually fall into two categories, some with too much control, and some with too little control. Going down the panel, the balance was pretty even. About half claimed that their societies had too much control, and the other half stated the opposite.
One of the highlights for this panel for me was the discussion about why kids love dystopian books so much. Alex London talked about how being a teenager is a lot like being in a dystopia. You struggle with power, and you learn how to exercise it, and of course you make some mistakes. Stohl continued that teenagers are hyper aware of the marketplace, and they are empowered to make decisions about what’s a trend and what’s not. Dashner chimed in about how trends have changed over the years. After Harry Potter took over the world, vampires came, then dystopian came. Dystopian has an added layer of fascination because these things could happen. “What if this really did happen to us?”
Dashner’s point led into discussion about the real world, and how it is very possible that we will face things that these characters are facing in the future. He spoke about his own predictions by saying, “Viruses terrify me. There is no doubt in my mind that when the world starts to crumble it will be because of a virus.” I have to agree with him on that one.
Overall, the panel was a lively memorable discussion. One final note that I want to mention is, when the panel was asked what they would miss if they lived in a Dystopian world most said toilet paper, and others joked Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a writer and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. Some of her favorite things include: Batgirl, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Saga, Game of Thrones (the books and the show), Johnny Depp, and all things Disney. She spends her weekends feeding her competitive side while she plays tabletop and/or video games with her husband and friends. She is currently working on a series of young adult fantasy novels. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.