Popularity of dystopic fiction
by Eric Walters
Dystopic fiction has recently become very popular . . . well, recently if you consider 3000 years, give or take a few decades, as recent. Go back to the beginning of recorded time and story – think of Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the parting of the Red Sea. This type of writing is the foundation of our civilization, the beginning of who we are and what we think. Some sociologists see it becoming stronger and more pronounced when there are questions about civilization and our survival. I’m just assuming that we’ve always had these doubts.
I’ve been reading about the end of the world since the beginning of my world. From 1984 to War of the Worlds to Brave New World, to so much of Isaac Assimov and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., these incredible stories have always drawn me in. It was not, however, until I’d written over 50 novels that I felt I had the necessary background to try writing one. Imagine the writing necessary in not only creating characters but having to craft the entire world those characters inhabit.
In writing The Rule of Three I wanted to create a world that was our world, but wasn’t really our world. I took what was around me – and it is my actual neighborhood in the story right down to Adam living in my house – and portrayed it as to how I believe it would be if suddenly everything went dark and all the computers became inoperative.
This is one of the things that separates my novel from many others. This isn’t sometime in the future, on another planet or because of some strange phenomenon or set of circumstances. If the power went down today I believe this is how it would all be, what would happen, what would evolve – or devolve, and how we would, as individuals and a society, react.
As with all genres of writing, there is good and bad sci-fi. Bad sci-fi, in my opinion, often spends so much time on the science that it fails to capture the magic of the fiction. It’s that balance, of creating a credible world and credible situations, without losing track of the story that needs to be told. I believe that people are people – regardless of when or where they are. My background is in education, social work and psychology. I worked to have my characters react as they would, given the circumstances that they faced.
The greatest compliment somebody can give me after reading this story is how disturbed they felt by it, that they had an urge to stockpile water, peanut butter or considered getting a gun. It’s rather strange that I’m pleased when my story provokes the need to obtain weapons but that shows how the story seemed real enough to them to want to do something about it.
About the book:
After sixty-six days of a catastrophic global blackout, life in the suburbs is not what it used to be for Adam and his fortified neighborhood of Eden Mills. Although an explosive clash has minimized one threat from outside the walls, Adam’s battle-hardened mentor, Herb, continues to make decisions in the name of security that are increasingly wrenching and questionable. Like his police chief mom and others, Adam will follow Herb’s lead. But when the next threat comes from an unexpected direction, nobody is ready for it. And someone is going to pay the price—because of Adam’s mistakes and mistaken trust.