I question the work’s originalityPublished 6:00am Wednesday, March 14, 2012
A dystopian novel is a book that shows how human transgressions have altered the world in some way to the detriment of mankind.
This genre had many works that take place in post-apocalyptic settings. Some of the major works of the genre, especially the ones I have read and will mention, are based on one aspect of society that has taken over the world.
1984 by George Orwell is possibly the greatest example of work in this genre. In this book an autocratic government controls people’s lives. The book shows totalitarian, oppressive governments in a bad light.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley tells of a world where people are not born, they are grown in test tubes referred to as “bottles.” The genetics of those born are tampered with to make the person fit into a social caste. This book shows a world run by society and standing.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood portrays a society oppressed by extreme religion.
Each work shows how a different aspect of life can be used to dim the lives of the ordinary peoples.
My favorite dystopian movie is V for Vendetta, which again shows totalitarian government oppressing constituents.
If you are wondering why I have mentioned these, it will all become clear soon.
There is a short story by Shirley Jackson I read in school called “The Lottery.” In it a group of people seem to be making a harmless fuss over a name-drawing event. That is, until it is revealed that the “winner” of the lottery is stoned to death.
There is a 2007 movie called The Condemned staring a former WWE wrestler named Steve Austin. His character is trapped on an island with other death row prison inmates in order to stage a TV show in which everyone tries to kill each other until one is left. I’m almost there.
That movie may take some inspiration from a short story by Richard Connell called “The Most Dangerous Game,” which is my favorite short story. In the work a big game hunter tired of killing animals captures people on an island and turns them out to be hunted as his prey. Now for the grand finale.
If you take the totalitarian government of 1984 and V for Vendetta, the renamed post-war U.S. from The Handmaid’s Tale, the island survival of “The Most Dangerous Game” and The Condemned and the lottery from, you guessed it, “The Lottery,” mix it all in one pot and gear it towards teenagers, you get The Hunger Games.
Now I know many people have read and love the books, and I’m sure lines are forming for the movie premiere as I type this, but just keep this in mind; the book is not exactly original. It simply takes used ideas and changes them about a bit with a new coat of paint.
Of course, most new movies and books nowadays borrow or flat out steal ideas from some earlier work, so no one should expect to find originality in anything anymore.