The Next Big Thing…?
The publishing industry, due to popular demand and profitability, are finally becoming less snobby about sci-fi and fantasy, according to The Bookseller. The genre has become hugely popular in the last decade with authors such as Terry Pratchett, J K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, George R R Martin and Charlaine Harris pushing the genre into the mainstream. So what’s hot right now?
Bram Stoker is responsible for catapulting the Vampire to stardom and since then it’s had a few revivals helped along by Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton and of course Ms. Stephanie Meyer with Twilight romanticising the blood-sucking creatures. Movies such as Blade and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as those influenced by books such as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries have flooded the market with all things vampire but perhaps we’ve reached our limit for now?
Just another form of undead, but far less glamorous. I don’t see any sparkling zombies seducing silly under-aged girls any time soon but there have been a few zombie romances -eww! Zombie movies have been around since the 1930s, many of which were made by George Romero. More recently we’ve seen Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Resident Evil, 28 Days, Shaun of the Dead, on TV now were watching The Walking Dead and next year we’ll see Brad Pitt starring in Max Brooks’ World War Z.
John Landis says “So many of these zombie movies are about the collapse of social order. Chaos. Anarchy.” At what better time would we have this on our minds than when we’re experiencing a global recession, the toppling of dictators, political protests are on the rise, and the potential collapse of the Euro and even the European Union with the worryingly impending resource scarcity, are on the horizon. Fearing the end of world as we know it is the perfect atmosphere for zombies to feed on our
flesh fear of what’s to come. It’s zombipocalypse time!
Although The Hunger Games wasn’t the first, it is most likely responsible for the recent explosion in the number of available books in the genre, especially in YA. What attracts teen readers to dystopian fiction?
Moira Young, author of Blood Red Road, says:
There are a number of opinions, but the main drift seems to be that books set in either chaotic or strictly controlled societies mirror a teenager’s life; at school, at home, with their peers and in the wider world. Let’s call it the “my own private dystopia” theory.
I’m going to offer a much simpler explanation. Teenagers like to read dystopian fiction because it’s exciting. It all comes down to the story. The story comes first, and the setting – extraordinary though it may be – is of secondary importance.
For the most part, dystopian fiction owes more to myth and fairytale than science fiction. These are essentially heroes’ journeys – they just happen to be set in an imagined future world. The hero, reluctant or willing, is just as likely to be female as male. Something happens – an event, or a messenger arrives bearing news – and the teenage protagonist is catapulted out of their normal existence into the unknown. They cross the threshold into a world of darkness and danger, of allies and enemies, and begin a journey towards their own destiny that will change their world. They will be tested, often to the very edge of death. The stakes are high. The adults are the oppressors. The children are the liberators. It’s heady stuff, far removed from the routine of everyday life.
The outer, global journey of the characters is matched by an inner, emotional and psychological journey. These are no cartoon superheroes. They, like their teen readers, have to deal with recognisable concerns and problems, including friendship, family, betrayal, loss, love, death and sexual awakening.
A new wave of dystopian fiction at this particular time shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s the zeitgeist. Adults write books for teenagers. So anxious adults – worried about the planet, the degradation of civil society and the bitter inheritance we’re leaving for the young – write dystopian books.
We create harsh, violent worlds. These are dark, sometimes bleak stories, but that doesn’t mean they are hopeless. Those of us who write for young people are reluctant to leave our readers without hope. It wouldn’t be right. We always leave a candle burning in the darkness.
No doubt the movies of The Hunger Games, the first of four (Mockingjay will be a two-parter) will be out next year, will elongate the Dystopia trend. There are a fair few books to be released in 2012:
…to Science Fiction?
I’m talking aliens, outer space, time travel, steampunk and other science-y themes. It’s been gathering steam (haha!) quietly in the background for a while now. But will sci-fi go supernova? In recent times we’ve had both a book and a movie of I Am Number Four, bestselling author Kathy Reichs has moved both into YA and sci-fi with a new series beginning with Virals, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis -have all done incredibly well.
Some 2012 releases:
Books like Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey and those by all ready big author’s like Patricia Briggs and Richelle Mead have given the fae a high profile but I think they’re on the decline. I can only think of a couple of new series based on the fae which have so far received a positive responses: The Shadow Reader (McKenzie Lewis #1) by Sandy Williams, The Iron Witch (The Iron Witch #1) by Karen Mahoney, and A Brush of Darkness (Abby Sinclair, #1) by Allison Pang.
Ever watch The Little Mermaid, sing “Under the Sea” and wish you could live under the sea? Then this is for you!
In 2012 we’ll be see the following released:
Although not waning as of yet, the popular angel trend driven by Hush, Hush and Fallen is fast-becoming over-saturated. If you’re not affected by it now then I predict most of us will be suffering angel-fatigue by 2013 at the latest. There are a good many angel books due out in 2012:
Staying within the biblical, religious and mythological realm but moving the focus onto everything surrounding death i.e. reapers, resurrection and reincarnation. There are a fair few due out in 2012.
Books on Fairy Tales have always been popular but that popularity has recently been reflected in TV with Once Upon A Time and Grimm both debuting this year. In the movies we’ve had Red Riding Hood and Beastly, both based on books of the same name, and next year there will be not one but two Snow White movies: Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Hunstman! There will also be movies like Jack the Giant Killer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Pan (based on Peter Pan) and Enchanted 2 to name but a few. Is 2012 the year of the fairy tale movie or what?!
What do you think will be the next big thing?