Monday, September 14, 2020

This Brave New World We Have

I love a good discussion about genre.  Romance, science fiction, fantasy, crime--these all have certain rules, and within the rules, readers have expectations.  But these expectations lay a sticky boundary for readers: if the writer strays too far from the expectations, the reader is disappointed.  If the writer stays too closely to the parameters of the genre, this feels like a formula.

What a fascinating discussion.

Different discussion.  Different genre.  The propaganda novel. 

This genre goes by many other labels: the thesis novel, utopian novel, even the proletarian novel.  These novels span a wide range of political and social issues, but the novel focuses on a point, and the point of the story, characters, and theme is to deliver this idea.

Think The Jungle, 1984, Animal Farm, Clockwork Orange, Atlas Shrugged, Lord of the Flies, Sister Carrie, and Brave New World.  

I love this type of fiction because it tells about our world and tells truths about us.  Sometimes, it is scary.

Fiction tells truths.  

Four legs good.  Two legs bad.

I have reread some of these books in the last few months, and I'm stunned at how relevant these are.

When we watched the destruction of historical monuments earlier this summer, I heard many people say some variation of, "If we destroy the past, then today's youth can start over."

Chills.  Does this sound like 1984?  Let's erase the past.  Turn churches into Ministries of Love.  Learn the double-speak and conformity that echoes in our world.  And then, imagine the pigs smoking cigars and drinking whiskey while making plans to take over the farms.  And we'll wonder why the engineers and devoted workers retire to Colorado and trade with gold.  Forgive the mixed metaphors (😉).

I believe these books are more important than ever.  Go read them.  All of them.  Right now.

What's your favorite propaganda novel?

1 comment:

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