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  1.  
    I'm still not sure what I should call the you-know-the-thing-where a theme becomes popular in the literary marketplace and spawns ostensibly original followers.
    I'll just throw my two cents here anyway:
    The deluge of vampire paranormal romances--why they don't have a seperate shelf for it in bookstores is still beyond me--has finally recceded, only to be replaced by angels and a plethora of other mythical creatures who just happen to look like supermodels--faeries, shapeshifters, you name it. Fallen angels, and those who brood over their lack of humanity, are particularly popular. The dystopian setting with a rigidly enforced caste/faction/whatever theme did not diminish in popularity either. I'm not as well-read as I'd like to be, but this is what I was able to glean from what I have read and Amazon.com, so please tear into any of the baseless assumptions that I have made.

    What are your thoughts?

    P.S. Kinda relevant: Here at Impishidea, what are your thoughts on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? What effects do you think it will have on YA novel trends? Any at all?
    • CommentAuthorCrunchy
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     

    My local bookstore has a teen paranormal romance section that spans 80% of the YA books and spills over into YA nonfiction. They literally could not find enough shelf space for the deluge of brooding, inhuman love interests. The one or two shelves NOT dedicated to paranormal romance are mostly full of dystopias of varying severity. So I’d say you are being quite accurate. From what I’ve seen.

  2.  

    It’s all just follow-the-leader bullshit, and it all cycles out of the spotlight eventually, replaced by whatever the Next Big Thing is.

    Here at Impishidea, what are your thoughts on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? What effects do you think it will have on YA novel trends? Any at all?

    I know it was originally Twilight fan fiction, but isn’t that thing pretty much porn for middle-aged women? I’d be surprised if it had any effect on YA fiction.

    •  
      CommentAuthorWiseWillow
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     

    isn’t that thing pretty much porn for middle-aged women

    Yipes! DO NOT WANT. And there seems to be a revamped fairy tales trend right now. It annoys me.

  3.  

    And there seems to be a revamped fairy tales trend right now.

    I like the idea of this, but it tends not to be executed very well.

  4.  

    And there seems to be a revamped fairy tales trend right now.

    Should be better than the rest, since originality is a part, if not all, of the premise.

    •  
      CommentAuthorWiseWillow
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012 edited
     

    Ehhhhhh. The revamping seems to be in turning a classic fairy tale into either a DARK! BROODING! GRIM! HORROR! type of book, or throwing in a love triangle. Somehow.

    Facepalm

  5.  

    All romance novels are porn for middle-aged women. Lady Willow does not want to acknowledge her mature place in life.

    There are always lots of brooding Novels by earnest young MFAs (or MFA candidates) popping up. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of them all.

    •  
      CommentAuthorBlueMask
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     

    I would definitely agree with the YA dystopia trend. I’m of the opinion that it started a little before the Hunger Games came out, and HG was what made it really popular. I’m a huge, huge fan of contemporary dystopian fiction, but unfortunately the YA stuff, like most YA fiction nowadays, is badly researched, has a terrible love story woven in, and cliched female protagonists that rely on a man to save them. rant rant

    And the fairytale trend is interesting too, because it’s showing in the film world. I’m thinking that it’s more popular in Hollywood than other trends because they’re retelling stories that people already know. I mean, even Disney’s doing it, to great success [Tangled, Princess and the Frog, and Gnomeo and Juliet. Although I don’t know if that was Disney or not?]

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     

    Here’s my $0.02: I don’t have a problem with a particular genre becoming big and taking over. I don’t even have a problem with most of it being bad. That’s just how literary trends always go. And not all of it is terrible. As an example, the dystopian thing is very popular. But the Hunger Games books are an example where it was done well. So the good stuff is still out there.

    What does annoy/disturb me is people (even people who should know better, like people who work in bookstores or educators) who hold up all this stuff as the BEST THANG EVAR, to the detriment of other, more original/out of the mainstream stuff. Or, worse yet, actively discourage other stuff because it’s not the big thing. What was that writing book somebody was sporking before, where the writer essentially counseled the people following his plan to only write novels that fit into genres already out there and popular? That’s a dangerous and annoying attitude, IMO.

    •  
      CommentAuthorKyllorac
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    What was that writing book somebody was sporking before, where the writer essentially counseled the people following his plan to only write novels that fit into genres already out there and popular? That’s a dangerous and annoying attitude, IMO.

    It is because most people can’t crap out entire publishable novels in a week, especially if its their first foray into the market, and by the time most people reach the point where their work is salable, the trend is dead and disowned.

  6.  

    P.S. Kinda relevant: Here at Impishidea, what are your thoughts on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy?

    Apparently the BDSM community is really up in arms about it because it doesn’t depict an ethical BDSM relationship — the sub is meant to have all the power (safe words, etc), but in the book he as the dominant tells her what to do about everything. I think it’s a sad reflection of the morals and attitudes we idolise and internalise as a society. And I wish these women would be honest and call it porn, because it is. And then I wish they’d realise that they’re telling the world at large what turns them on. Loudly (the telling, I mean).

    As an example, the dystopian thing is very popular. But the Hunger Games books are an example where it was done well. So the good stuff is still out there.

    I’m sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree. You can say you liked it, and I won’t disagree with you liking something. Hell, I like Artemis Fowl. I like the idea behind Hunger Games, but I really can’t get behind Hunger Games in terms of its execution.

    As for me, I’m not a dystopia fan (the only one I’ve ever really liked was the Uglies trilogy, and I’m not sure it counts as hardcord dystopia), but the latest trend for it only mildly irritates me because when it comes to what I read I mostly ignore the literary trends. I’m still catching up on Discworld and LOTR etc.

    • CommentAuthorDarkes
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     
    For me, a major problem with dystopian books like the Hunger Games is the lack of world building.
  7.  

    I just think that dystopic fiction has become trite and played out. Would be more interesting to see someone write a story that actively set out to be utopic instead.

    • CommentAuthorDarkes
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     
    And then utopic novels will get trite and we'll move back to dystopic and the cycle repeats again.

    Personally I think what we need is something inbetween Where we're given a little leeway to go one way or the other. At least then we'll have more types of stories.
    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012 edited
     

    And then utopic novels will get trite and we’ll move back to dystopic and the cycle repeats again.

    I personally doubt that utopic fiction will ever be popular. In my experience, the term ‘utopia’ is too subjective to have a real mass appeal. And because the world is supposed to be perfect, there’s no real possibility for conflict, and thus no real plot. That’s my 2 cents.

    •  
      CommentAuthorInkblot
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    Since everyone expects a utopia to be somehow corrupt/violent/evil, I would love to see a novel subvert that. Nope, everything is actually as it seems.

    It would be either slice of life lit fic or a very very well done novel, of course, but it would be cool to see.

  8.  

    I’m pretty sure it’s possible to write a good story about a utopia, but it’d take a great writer to make it work. The setting wouldn’t give you any built-in crutches, and you’d have to make it stand up entirely on your own skill.

    •  
      CommentAuthorInkblot
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    That’s what I was trying to say.

    •  
      CommentAuthorSoupnazi
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    Alternatively, a city/country/world/whatever that looks like everything is falling to pieces but is actually working quite well. It would be significantly harder to do since, you know, when things look bad it’s typically because they’re bad, but I think it would be interesting.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    Since everyone expects a utopia to be somehow corrupt/violent/evil, I would love to see a novel subvert that. Nope, everything is actually as it seems.

    That actually could work – crazy conspiracy nut convinces someone that the perfect world is really corrupt/violent/evil, but it really isn’t. The problem with that is proving that it actually is a utopia, rather than just a really nice place to live.

    And there’s always the lingering doubt that the crazy guy actually is crazy…

    •  
      CommentAuthorKyllorac
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    On a side note, “utopia” literally means “(most definitely) not a place” if you look at just the Greek roots. The Latin -ia changes “utopia”‘s meaning to “the pathological state of a nonexistent place”.

    Well, maybe not really, except -ia is used to describe pathological states.

    •  
      CommentAuthorInkblot
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    Which was Thomas More’s intent, if you ask me.

  9.  

    Since you have shades of dystopias, and dystopias where there are still good people, etc—why can’t you have a utopia where the setting was not the main point of it—some event happening in it, a theme, or the characters are.

    Alternately you could have the utopia be threatened by something, and explore the morality of the measures taken to ensure that it is no longer threatened.

    Alternatively, a city/country/world/whatever that looks like everything is falling to pieces but is actually working quite well. It would be significantly harder to do since, you know, when things look bad it’s typically because they’re bad, but I think it would be interesting.

    This would be cool. Tough, but cool.

  10.  

    I think Futurama did a good mix of a utopia and a dystopia. Sure, there’s evil people like Mom and Zapp ruling things, and some are in enough despair that suicide booths have been invented, but humanity’s managed to become unified galactic power that can act peacefully to most aliens (except for the Omicronians). Not to mention that immortality got made (though only for the head).

    •  
      CommentAuthorKyllorac
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     

    Which was Thomas More’s intent, if you ask me.

    Which most people are completely unaware of. It’s a bit ironic how far removed the majority of people’s concepts of what a utopia is compared to the word root and intentions have become.

  11.  

    I urge you all to read Never Let Me Go, but not to spoil the ending, and if you have not read the book, to not participate in any discussion of it. I had the ending ruined for me, and while I enjoyed it very much, it would have been better if I hadn’t known what was coming. There is a fine model for a dystopia.

    •  
      CommentAuthorNorthmark
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2012
     

    Personally, I want to see a capitalist utopia. Literary utopias are so frequently just upgraded versions of socialist hippie communes.

  12.  

    The LaNague Chronicles did that. But most authors tend toward socialist/liberal ideologies, so why would they write about something they don’t want to happen? Not trying to be political.

    •  
      CommentAuthorNorthmark
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2012
     

    Well, a lot of socialist principles are reactions to failed or imperfectly-applied capitalism. If the world truly is a utopia, there really wouldn’t be a need for them. I wouldn’t want to see it out of any personal ideology, I just think it would be different and interesting. Might have to read those books you mentioned.