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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Author Guest Post: Becca Smith

A while back, I made a discussion post on Dystopian novels being the new "IT" in YA. Today we have Becca Smith, author of the dystopian novel Riser, weighing in on why dystopians are so popular right now.

Why do we love the Dystopian genre so much?

From “Hunger Games” to “City of Embers” to “The Giver” there are so many amazing Dystopian novels! Why do we like them so much? Because it’s fun (in a very twisted way) to think of all the most horrible futures imaginable. What’s scary is how close we are to living those futures if the human race keeps going down the path it’s going down. I guess that’s why we can connect to these novels because there’s an element of truth to them all.

In my novel, “Riser,” I tried a different kind of spin. I created a world where on the surface everything seems like the perfect Utopia. It takes place three hundred years in the future where a little pill called Age-pro was invented that stops the aging process completely, making the world immortal. There are other aspects of the world that make it seem like a Utopia: Paper is illegal, only fuel cell hover cars exist, tree laws (where every ten feet a tree has to be planted) etc.

But with immortality comes overpopulation and that’s where the Dystopia comes into play.

There is a branch of the government called Population Control that secretly exterminates the poor and unwanted. My main character, Chelsan, has to deal with the fact that everyone in her trailer park was killed, including her mother. But what’s interesting about Chelsan is that she was born with a power. She sees swirling black holes in anything that’s dead (plants, animals, people). Chelsan learned early on that she could connect to the black holes and control them anyway she wants to. When she finds out who is responsible for her mother’s murder she vows to take him down with her power.

But Chelsan is still a teenage girl with teenage girl problems. Her schoolmate Jill Forester makes her life a living hell at high school, and she has an impossible crush on Ryan Vaughn who doesn’t know she exists.

It was a lot of fun coming up with this world that seems so perfect on the surface. No pollution, peace (because no one wants to risk dying when they can live forever!) and immortality. Everything we’ve ever wanted, right?

That’s what I love about the Dystopian genre! There are so many paths we as humans can go down and even when we think we’re doing the right thing sometimes it ends up even darker than we ever imagined.
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About the Author
Becca received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life. Becca wrote the comic series "Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted" based on the hit television show. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two cats Jack and Duke.

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