It’s a rather strange thing to see so many readers and writers develop a morbid taste for books that have to deal with social disintegration or manmade totalitarianism.
I imagine the popularity of this genre beginning in the 20th century is owed to the unprecedentedented rise of ideological “creativity”–if we can call it that. The 20th century seems to have been a laboratory for utopia, of mankind itself endeavoring to create a perfect society in a dark time rife with war. Perhaps the rise of the Soviet Union and the Nazi Party began as altruistic, that the leaders and followers of these radical movements though they could better their fellow man by some forced and artificial order.
Such political madness seems to have been predicted by Nietzsche who saw the beginning of a secular movement among scholars and politicians. Religious conviction among elite and common society dwindled. Religion and the stories, traditions, and wisdom it brought –even if it was pagan–was the bedrock of all great civilizations of old. These socities had an aim at something higher and more powerful than humanity, even if many times those highly aimed principles could be misguided. But the age of Industrialization was far different than that of the Rennaisance. No longer did the great artists and thinkers of the age think to draw water from their wise roots, but to remake society on their own terms, to regard themselves as genius’ with their new discoveries and inventions. Society no longer looked back in history or up to the heavens, but rather at itself in the mirror, regarding man as god, as the proper dictators of new nations.
Looking back at the 20th century, we can see the pitfalls of this human hubris, and I believe we find so many authors writing on the subject both prophetically and retrospectively. We should be grateful for the genre of dystopian literature, that our artists have their attention on the greatest tragedy, the tragedy of human hubris becoming a self-reliant autocrat, the pitfall that occurs when our eyes are so set on that which is forward and progressive instead of contemplating on the self-restraint and wisdom of the past.
I was blessed to be invited to contemplate on the genre of dystopian literature as Shepherd invited me to write on my most beloved books and genre. Although my current series, Masks, is not inherently dystopian, elements of the genre exist. Not only do the corrupt authorities create a criminal state through their own selfish hubris, but a band of anonymous Masks called the Den see themselves as the new gods of their era, of being capable to usher in a new age of progress wherein individuals shed off their old names and mortality to adopt for themselves new names, new myths.
I pray you’ll consider reading my review of my top 5 favorite dystopian books.
I also hope you’ll find yourself a copy of my book, Masks: The Unmercenaries, as it is a proper read for this upcoming autumn, being based itself around the holiday of Halloween. This novel begins with everyone’s favorite holiday of costumes and takes you all the way after Thanksgiving, just into Black Friday.
You can buy your copy of Masks: The Unmercenaries today so that you have your Halloween read in your hands!