So…what is it about this dystopian stuff that I find so appealing? Well, maybe appealing isn’t the right word…hmmm, not sure what is come to think of it. Maybe it’s the watching-a-trainwreck-kinda-thing: you can believe you’re actually still looking, but you don’t want to look away because you really can’t believe what you’re seeing. Or maybe that’s part of it: that you’re afraid what you’re seeing (or reading) is not too far away from reality and it just scares the bejesus out of you.
For me, Unwind topped my “required” reads this semester. I really couldn’t put it down. And I read and re-read (that watching-a-trainwreck-thing) certain parts because I had such a visceral reaction to them: most significantly when Roland is unwound. Shivers. Really and truly. And you know I didn’t spend a lot of time considering why parents would do this, but I was completely prepared to suspend my disbelief and go along with Connor and Risa. Funny about that, my willing suspension of disbelief: so much easier for me here, then say “Weetzie Bat” where I struggled to buy into even the name of “My-Secret-Agent-Lover-Man”. Hmmm…(again).
I also read through Life As We Knew It, and while it was actually more “realistic”, certainly in characterization, I didn’t feel quite as invested. I was thinking that maybe the more plot-driven story (more action-based) had more appeal for me. (Though, I did consider starting to gather non-perishables and water for the basement. Water in particular as we have a well, and without power, we don’t have water. Actually, when the weather gets stormy and there’s a possibility of power outages, I run around filling up empty containers with water, including the bathtub–you also can’t flush the toilet without water and even after a day that can be nasty!)
But then, and here I have a confession to make, I didn’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go: as soon as I read the first page, and was introduced to Manchee, I knew he was going to die and I couldn’t read it. I know. Ridiculous. And actually, I did flip through the book, just to double check; you know, in case I was wrong. And then I found the spot where he was killed. And I cried. Yes-ridiculous. But for me, I was willing to buy in to the fact that Manchee could “talk”, and the way it was described, that single-focus, repetitiveness loyal dog-ness of it. I thought, yeah, a dog might “talk” like that. And I looked at Jersey (my dog), and thought, yeah: when I say “squirrel”, her ears go up, and her focus on my face, because she knows, and then she’s at the window or door, ready to go. I can see her thinking: “squirrel-where?, squirrel-let’s go, squirrel-let’s go”…Anyway, I didn’t finish it.
I got both Unwind, and Life As We Knew It, out of my local public libraries and they’re both labelled with “Science Fiction” stickers. I’m kinda curious about that: so, what is science fiction? I guess I’ve always thought of it as, well, like space-type stuff–apparently, I’m not the only one as the stickers actually have little spaceships on them–so, I don’t naturally put them into sci-fi, but I guess that’s what they are…are they?
I think I’ve always like this genre though. I read John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids in, maybe grade 9 (for class), and have read it several times since then. Most recently this past summer. I also remember seeking out Day of the Triffids just because it was another John Wyndham. I was thinking that I might like to try 1984 again, just to see what my adult-self thinks of it. Some reading for over the break maybe.
Finally, on a very light dog-centered note, and in keeping with the single-focussedness of a dog on a mission, check out Fenton: “Get the deer, Get the deer, Get the deer!”
(That being said, his poor owner is somewhat single-focussed in his vocabulary as well!)