Dystopia

The year 2012 is less than 24 hours away and for the last 120 hours, I have been stuffing my thoughts with post-end-of-the-world stories.  I wonder if December 22, 2012 will still come, knowing that the ancient Mayans predicted that our world’s demise is at hand.  Hence, I think that several Y.A. authors have began capitalizing on this idea, speculating on how civilization would be like after we have hurdled past another predicted date for the world to end.  However, they all go back to the premise that government manipulation will never change, no matter what age, as long as there are people leading us, as long as their numbers are few, as long as people would allow others to decide their fate, the basics will remain the same:  those born into poverty will remain poor, there will still be people who would blindly follow and accept everything that the government says and there will always be that group who will try to change things back into how they used to be, believing that it would be a better way to live.

The first of the three books that I was able to finish was The Pledge by Kimberly Derting.  I was not able to write a satisfactory review, it being consisted of disjointed thoughts, but I published the post anyway.  It is about the mutation of society into monarchies with class systems.  These class systems are segregated by language, those in the lower classes are not permitted to speak nor understand the languages of those in the upper class.  And the hero is predictably the one who could understand all these languages.  Utopia was achieved by the abolishment of the classes and the encouragement of speaking a universal tongue.  For me, the best thing about this book is all that girl power:  only queens are allowed to rule and the males never receive any special powers.

The second of these books was Legend by Marie Lu.  This one had been been a lot more disturbing than The Pledge.  I actually started reading it before I switched to The Pledge, but I somehow could not take the weight of the issues and oppression presented in it, to see it through to the end without searching for a diversion.  I do not normally stop in the middle of a book and read another material.  But being the imaginative reader that I am, I couldn’t help but feel every pain that the main characters go through.  And Legend is all about pain and suffering.  It is so upfront about the deceptions that their government dishes out.  It doesn’t leave any impression of improvement over current life conditions.  In fact, it asserts the worst.

Which is very much unlike the setting of Matched by Ally Condie, which initially reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry.  There is this perfect society where life is claimed to be better than other societies because sickness has been almost eradicated and almost everyone can live out to be 80 years old without any form of dementia nor the common sicknesses associated with old age.  But this life is governed by a myriad of rules so that “optimal results” could be achieved.  For example, the “matches” or couples for marriage were pre-determined and have no relation whatsoever to the personal preference nor emotions of its citizens.  This stifling way of life could lead to no other result than an uprising among its more critical citizens.

So with only an hour left before 2011 draws to a close, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous and fruitful life before the Mayans’ D-day.  And then we’ll see what happens after that.

Cheers!

Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

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