Dark Societies – Dystopian Fiction at Waterstones

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Earlier this week I went to a book event discussing the popularity of dystopian fiction in Waterstones Piccadilly. The event featured a truly brilliant panel including M. C. Carey, Tom Pollock, and Samantha Shannon and was led by Post Apocalyptic Book Club’s Leila.

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The the truth is that dystopian fiction isn’t really my thing mainly because I have only ever encounter it in a YA setting where the female protagonist only reaches her full potential after encountering a more clever, more brilliant man/boy. I know this is a huge brush to tar all dystopian fiction with and this even definitely made me see the error of my ways. The genre (there are issues surrounding this word – see below) is far more complicated, more exciting, and more absorbing than I have ever given it credit.

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All three authors discussed the importance of setting in their novels – how creating a familiar but twisted world makes it easier for the reader to identify and anchor themselves with what they are reading. London has the twists and turns and history that many other, more modern cities don’t have. This linked to the language they used – the languages they created – and the importance this plays on adding more realism to these fantastical worlds.

It was also really interesting to listen to all three authors discuss the limitations of genres and categorizing books into genres. I have never read a book which only fits into one genre (if you have let me know) and while it’s easy to shelve books based on genres doing this really limits their scope and audience potential. I had always has a slight issue with genres but this discussion made me think about it a whole load more.

I also loved hearing about their personal experiences with the work. And listening to them talk made me want to read their work – so much. So I left the event with a lot of signed books – something I don’t regret at all.

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