Hello Beautiful People!
As an indie author, I love it when readers sends me messages about how much they enjoyed my books. Each one makes my day! But I have noticed lately a trend in the reviews, questions, and messages labeling The Caelian Cycle as a Dystopia. I’d like to explore this train of thought.
What is a Dystopia?
A Dystopia is a universe where society is under an oppressive control while the members of said society are under the illusion of a perfect control. The control usually comes in the form of one or more of the following mediums:
Corporate- one or more large corporations control society through advertising/products as in Minority Report, Blade Runner, and Wall-E.
Technological- Computers, Robots, or other man-made scientific means control society as in The Matrix or Terminator.
Religious- A philosophical or religious ideology is enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government such as in The Handmaids Tale
Bureaucratic- Society is controlled by through an incompetent government ensnared in red tape and regulations as in 1984 and Brave New World.
Dystopia’s are an exaggerated worst-case scenario often reflecting the authors present day societal flaws, norms, or even their government. There are certain characteristics present in a dystopian society. Most always there is some form of propaganda used to control or satiate the citizens and information, freedoms, or independent thought are discouraged or restricted. Citizens in a dystopian usually live in fear, are under surveillance, and forced to live in uniformity (individuality is discouraged). But the main thing that makes a Dystopian is that society is an illusion of a perfect world.
Not all Dystopia’s have those characteristics, but most do. Although The Caelian Cycle has some attributes above, I don't feel that the series should be labeled as a Dystopia. The Caelian Cycle is my way of exploring racial discrimination through introducing a new species of human to the world, but unlike a Dystopia I am not taking that discrimination to an extreme such as a holocaust or enslavement. The Caelian Cycle is set in an alternative United States where the Caelian’s have banded together to form families that give their members education, jobs, and stability. Throughout the series you will see some similarities between the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and the struggle of racial discrimination today with the Caelian’s trying to live in equality with the “norms”.
I can see how a reader could relate the “Talent Suppression Act” and the various discriminatory acts of violence throughout the book as a bureaucratic Dystopia, but if you think about it, the laws mentioned in the book are just a reflection of the many racial segregation laws our local, state, and even federal governments held until the civil rights movement. As far as the Caelian’s living in fear because of violence against their people, well I can post articles and videos all day long on the treatment of minorities in America just in the past year alone.
If the evils, either “norm” or Caelian, in The Caelian Cycle succeed in their prospective quests then yes, The Caelian Cycle can upgrade to a Dystopia society. (You will have to see how that goes once the final book is released).
I guess you can say that The Caelian Cycle is Pre-Dystopia.
When I started marketing Lost, I labeled the book as a Young Adult Science Fiction. That in itself is a broad spectrum, but if I were to give The Caelian Cycle another sub-genre it would be an Alternative Reality Science Fiction due to the meteorite that altered the genetics of humanity during WW1 changed the future and therefore, shifted reality.
Anyway, that’s my two cents/ soap box.