Good science fiction asks intriguing ethical questions, and Neal Shusterman’s Scythe certainly has those. The answers it gives, however, are in need of more secure ethical and philosophical grounding.
This book has made quite the splash over the past several years, and has even heavily influenced the ideology of some Christians when discussing societal issues. But is it the kind of influence we want?
The YA dystopian genre isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s going to become more and more difficult to be heard in the noise. With The Hunger Games topping box office charts and Divergent producing more than its fair share of fans (this writer included), moviegoers will eventually demand more than the generic teenagers rebelling against an overly structured society. The Maze Runner attempts to meet that challenge before it starts, mostly by “Bournifying” its property with memory loss.
In our current trend of dystopian stories, it would be easy to think that young adult literature and films have always dominated the genre, or that the genre itself is a new invention. But long before Katniss ever pulled back her bow or Tris joined Dauntless, Orwell’s Winston challenged Big Brother and Guy Montag hid books from the Fire Chief. The genre hasn’t always been about young adults. But it has always been about simultaneously warning us of the consequences of our ill-advised decisions in the present and showing what sacrifice will be required to undo those societal consequences in the future. Snowpiercer, in like manner, is more about those two things than it is anything.
The Hunger Games trilogy deals with some very serious themes: abuse of power, a culture entertained by and celebrating death, and the true cost of selfless sacrifice, just to name a few. The serious topics of the first part of Mockingjay are narrower and more focused, perhaps even to a fault, but still comes around with a resounding message: fight those who bring death.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20
There’s something about our American mindset that makes us expect corruption to come from authority members. If some evil exists, it must come from the government, federal agents, or executive CEOs. If it comes from within, it must be the elders of the church or the boss in the office. We never think to look within. We never think that it might be us, the individual members of society, who are contributing to and creating the evil. That it’s those that walk beside us day in and day out who are creating the evils of society. That’s the difference between 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.
I write a lot about entertainment. I write about books, movies, TV shows, comic books, and anything else that piques my interest. I suppose it’s not a great surprise, then, that I’m interested in making it as well.
As of yesterday, I have become a published author. My novel, Finding Sage, is available on Kindle here. It’s a dystopian story about a future where some people, known as rogues, exhibit supernatural abilities. That’s not a good thing, however, because the global government hunts them down and executes them, imprisons them, or forces them to become assassins. Silas is such a rogue. He lives day by day constantly paranoid about his chances of survival. However, when his life is saved by crazy-eyed hobo ranting about a powerful liberator, he listens, because it might be his only chance to find meaning in a life that’s only about surviving.
You can also check out my author website at www.loganjudy.com. Be warned – the website is far from finished, but that will be where I’ll post information regarding book things, because I don’t want this to become my marketing website. I will be keeping it separate after this post (believe it or not). Also, you can check out my Facebook page and my twitter.