Dystopia Rules: The Hunger Games

March 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm (Uncategorized)

I fear mass culture is driving my reading tastes. I’m working my way through the Southern Vampire mysteries. I’ve just finished A Game of Thrones, and now onto The Hunger Games.  (for the record, I haven’t read any of the Twilight series).

To tell you the truth, I didn’t have much interest in reading the book until a week back. I saw Battle Royale and assumed it was a version of that (I have no opinion as to whether or not Ms. Collins lifted the plot). But with the hype around the film, and especially all of the good press it received, I thought, well maybe.

I ordered a copy from the public library and found myself behind 2,100 people who had the same idea. Then the library workers went on strike. Happily, I got a copy from a school library (it always helps to have school age children), and read the first few chapters last night. And so far, yeah, it’s good.

When I first started watching or reading science fiction, the vision that was offered was the Star Trek utopia. A futuristic paradise where most human social problems had been abolished and the USS Enterprise sailed through space as a thinly veiled apologia for US imperialism in Vietnam. Next Generation was more radical and abolished capitalism for humans (although the Ferengi appeared as its characateur).

Even dystopias had this flavour. Orwell’s 1984, though loved by conservatives, was downplayed in favour of Brave New world. Now, it seems Orwell’s vision of scarcity is back. Is this a reflection of capitalism’s industrial and environmental decline?

Something to explore after I’ve finished the book and seen the film. Below is a lighter take from Holley Maher’s blog; many of the points are well taken.

And I love the graphic.

 
http://holleymaher.wordpress.com/

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The Embarrassing Side Effects of Having Recently Read “The Hunger Games”

Yes. I did it. I finally read the first Hunger Games book, in exactly one day. I had an 8 am flight from Pittsburgh to Memphis to Nashville, so around 6:30 or so after making my way through security in Pittsburgh, I wandered into one of the airport bookstores. About 20 hours later, I’d finished reading it. Actually, I don’t think what I did was “read” that book, it was something more akin to ravenously devouring it, only stopping occasionally to eat, drink, and pee. And I usually did those three things either at a break-neck pace or while clinging to the book with my unoccupied hand. I read it while going through the drive through (because, clearly, I couldn’t waste time cooking myself a square meal.)

Now that I’m finished, I’ve gotta say, guys, that I was pretty whole-heartedly shocked to find that reading The Hunger Games didn’t come with the same side effects as reading The Twilight series (i.e., self-loathing, the feeling that you’re harboring a rather dirty secret, a slightly lower I.Q. level upon completion, etc.) In fact, although the writing itself was pretty simple, I’m sure with the objective of catering to a wider age-range of readers, I found the plot incredibly well thought out, insightful, and obviously addiction-inducing.

However, I’ve noticed that reading The Hunger Games does come with several side effects of its own. I would warn consumers to be on the lookout for the following possible symptoms if you’ve read Hunger Games recently, and would-be-readers, be warned. Below are the scientifically proven and laboratory tested* risks of reading The Hunger Games:

1. Strong urge to re-read the Harry Potter series. And maybe Percy Jackson after that. And then Maximum Ride. And then Unwind, and Maze Runner, and — OMFG, someone please forcibly remove me from the Young Adult section.

2. Wearing your hair in a braid and believing that the effect is “bad-ass tree-climbing arrow-shooting hottie” when all most people see is Tomb Raider.

3. A fleeting desire to get into Tribute-worthy shape. This, however, usually passes when you realize that your gym definitely does not stock its weight room with spears, bows, and climbing ropes and in no way are you going to limit your diet to rabbits and berries.

4. Inability to judge between Watchable YouTube Videos and Total Crap YouTube Videos since you worked your way through every sanctioned clip, trailer, and interview relating to the movie and moved on to fan-reenacted videos clearly shot with an iPhone in some bored teenager’s backyard.

5. The belief that “Primrose” might just be the perfect name for your first-born girl.

6. Participation in several “Which Hunger Games Character RU Most Like/wHiCh DiStRiCt ArE U 4um???” online quizzes coupled with chronic dissatisfaction with the results.

7. Strong desire to order that FREE District Identification Pass from thehungergamesmovie.com. (I decided against this because, Why on earth would I be working as a Ferrier living in District 1?? That’s ridiculous.)

8. Loss of sleep due to tireless hours spent working on your Katniss character in Sims. You just can’t figure out how to keep her alive if all you put on her property is a lake and some trees.

9. Severely premature consideration of your Halloween costume. (It’s gonna take a lot of prep to come up with a passable Effie Trinket getup.)

10. Greater than usual amounts of distrust in the government, and severe apocolyptophobia.

Consider yourselves warned.

….

*No animals were harmed in the reading of The Hunger Games.

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1 Comment

  1. Dystopia Rules: The Hunger Games | English2AB said,

    […] Dystopia Rules: The Hunger Games […]

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