“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
There’s many a blog / talking head making the claim that the public has grown weary of dystopian novels and movies. Supposedly the market is as saturated with that genre as it is with vampires.
My own dystopian world building ideas remain alive and well, wriggling like larvae in my cobweb riddled, half-full brain. Hey, I’m an optimist, and my mind is still half full, even if society appears to have gone completely out of its.
I’ve not posted in weeks, mostly because I don’t want to write dystopia when I feel like we’re living in a dystopia. Not that I’m widely read, or even narrowly read, but I’m reluctant to get on society’s last nerve. Besides, I’ve been too agitated by current events to overflow with love, joy, and creativity. My mask has cut off the oxygen to my brain. Oy Vey.
One excellent source of dystopian world building ideas are the prepper podcasts that abound on the Internet. Some prepper podcasts are practical, exhorting listeners to prepare for an emergency likely to happen in one’s community, like securing a shelter if one lives in Tornado Alley. Other preppers froth at the mouth about EMPs, asteroid strikes, and intergalactic robo-soldiers establishing martial law in a quiet, law-abiding suburbia.
It’s pretty obvious which writers used prepper information as a world building aid.
Writers often joke among themselves that their internet searches might summon the FBI, like, expect an unmarked van to park across the street from your house after you google about how to hide the murder victim. The infamous YouTube algorithm probably has flagged me as someone who’s gone out of her half full mind. Those of us who make our imaginations work can sometimes get carried away. So sue us, it’s for a good cause. Who doesn’t like a good novel or screenplay?
If you’ve already heard the tidbit about prepper videos for dystopian world-building, then SIAP and for making the Internet more redundant than it already is. I tend to think I’m so original and clever, only to discover it’s been thought of before. Like the Bible says, there’s nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
As an update, I’ve finished Novel Number Two that I started over Christmas 2019. While I’m mightily pleased with myself, I simply don’t have the mental and emotional bandwidth to finish editing it into something I’m not embarrassed to post onto Scribophile. Instead, I’m turning the third draft of Novel Number One into its fourth draft. And critting someone else’s YA novel.
May God be thanked for the kind and intelligent critiquers who gave me feedback last spring just as the coronavirus (poop) was hitting the fan.