Friday, May 23, 2014

Megan Thomason

I'm a huge fan of the dystopian genre and love to spend a lot of time thinking about societal extremes. The themes indaynight, many of which are very dark, are all designed to have readers think about parallels to our own society and where we need to draw lines.
The dystopia category is pretty broad these days. By definition a dystopian world must have  deprivation,oppression, or terror. I prefer dystopias that explore interesting societal and moral dilemmas to catastrophic conditions/survival stories.
The very best dystopias most often have a well formed government enforcing extremes. I’m fascinated by these entities, and in particular:
- What events drove them to shift the way they governed? For example, in The Hunger Games the government instituted the games to punish and remind the districts of their former rebellion (and failure to succeed).
Hunger Games
- What results are they looking to achieve? In 1984, the desired result was control over every action and thought. In Brave New World the government desired peaceful coexistence and happiness for its citizens.
- What methods do the governments use to achieve the desired result? The Capital in Hunger Games uses the games to terrorize its citizens into subservience, and tightly controls resources by segregating districts and limiting what each could produce. In 1984 the Inner Party uses surveillance (telescreens, microphones everywhere), controls information (rewriting history to support claims is the ultimate form of censorship), and all citizens are indoctrinated to be whistle-blowers on those committing ‘thought crimes’ (any thought contrary to the governmen). In Brave New World, the government breeds and then conditions (through their sleep) citizens to be in (and only desire to be in) a certain caste, to be sexually promiscuous, hate solitude, and to take the drug ‘soma’ if any contrary thought occurs.
1984 v Brave New World
Equally interesting is how the characters in the novel react to the dystopian government. Do they acquiesce? Do they rebel and in what ways? Outwardly? Inwardly? Each well done dystopia will have characters that question the status quo. Their actions will cause us to reflect upon our own, and how we would act in a similar situation. Katniss in The Hunger Games defies authority by bringing out a handful of berries and threatening to deprive the Capital of a winner and ultimately forcing them to back down and lose face. Winston and Julia in 1984 both commit thought crimes and engage in an illicit affair, but are outed by an informant and tortured into both subservience to Big Brother and betraying each other. John (the Savage) in Brave New World is so disgusted when he caves to societal immorality that he takes extreme measures to escape.
daynight came about as I hiked the canyons of San Diego on a particularly hot day and pondered what would happen if temperatures were so extreme that days and nights had to be switched. This became the impetus for Thera, the main setting for daynight. I mentally brewed the concepts of dark and light, and what kind of government would rule the dark, and The Second Chance Institute (SCI) was born.


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