Guest Editor Jeff Hirsch re: Dare I Dream “Dystopia” in This Market?

in Guest Editors/Publishing Biz by

Dear Editor…

My current novel is post-apocalyptic, and I was going to market it as dystopian. One of my critiquers said it’s not depressing and dark enough to be dystopian. Is that a necessary criteria for this genre?

Sincerely,

Carol

Hi Carol…

This is a great question. The short answer is, absolutely not. The slightly longer answer is that I think we’re at the beginning of the second wave of this dystopian trend and that’s a great time to start playing with the form and having fun with it. I personally would love to see a writer who figures out how to do a very funny dystopian book.  A tough trick maybe, but if someone could pull it off I think it would feel very fresh and could be a lot of fun.

Above all, write your dystopian book, not anyone else’s.

Good luck!

Guest Editor Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch is the author of the best-selling post-apocalyptic YA novel The Eleventh Plague. His second novel will be Magisterium. Read the grabber opening chapter of The Eleventh Plague on his website, then click this link by mid-Thursday for a chance to win a free Advance Reading Copy of it—complete with fab cover blurb by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games.

8 Comments

  1. That’s great news about dystopian! I have several friends who have good dystopian ms’s, but have been discouraged by agents saying the ‘trend is over’. It’s definitely time for a second wave.

  2. Thanks so much, Jeff, for answering this! A FUNNY dystopian–that’s so great. I think some wry and slightly twisted humor could easily be worked in, actually. Thanks for the encouragement to write dystopian as I see it, my own book. 🙂

  3. Post-apocalyptic and dystopian are not the same thing. A post-apocalyptic society can be dystopian, but not necessarily. IMHO the term “dystopian” is much overused these days to cash in on the bandwagon, and not everything that’s being labeled dystopian is. A dystopian society usually involves some sort of totalitarian or repressive government, often disguised as a utopian society.

  4. Wild Child Publishing just released my dystopian thriller Against Nature. My novel is about a global pandemic caused by an extraterrestrial dust mite introduced to earth by a shuttle astronaut.
    I think the dystopian genre is still quite vital and necessary especially if it is peppered with social commentary and has social value.

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