The Latest in Dystopian Fiction
By Nadia on March 16th, 2012
“Their weapon of choice: Logic. So irrefutably commanding without the messy, untucked corners that spawn from violence, it is the ultimate tools to win wars, or to win minds.”
Is this the start of a newly published dystopian novel? Not quite. It’s the opening lines of 13-year-old Lydia’s winning entry in Scholastic Book Clubs national Dystopian Writing Contest! Scholastic Book Clubs hosted a contest inviting 6th to 12th grade students to write four pages of their own dystopian story that depicted a terrifying future of a world gone horribly wrong.
Lydia’s story “Take Me to the Limit,” was chosen from more than 6,100 entries and won the grand prize – a trip to Los Angeles for the premiere of The Hunger Games!
Before she left for LA, Lydia talked to OOM about her experience winning the contest.
Lydia’s story begins with an unnamed character on a mission in a crazy world where people are tracked and identified by id numbers engrained in their shoes, authorities make decisions for everyone and control them with hormone injections, and society is broken up into two groups: the Elite and the Immuda. Where did you get your inspiration from?
Coming up with the idea for, and background of, my society was almost harder than the writing itself because I was struggling to come up with something that had never quite been written about before. (Although I don’t know if someone has, in fact, written about my idea before.) Since a Dystopian world is one gone horribly wrong, I began to search for some bad aspect of our own society that I could magnify into a problem large enough to set an entire fictional society askew. I chose our culture’s obsession with getting ahead and rising to the top to the extent that we forget the small pleasures of life, such as just being with the people you love. This grew into the society that my story is set in, where the characters are pushing to enhance general knowledge, which is usually a worthy endeavor, but they do so at the cost of their humanity and compassion.
Is writing one of your hobbies? What are your favorite thing to write?
Writing is definitely one of my hobbies! I have loved creative writing since I was very young and my teachers and family, especially my parents, have always been extremely supportive of me. I like to write fiction and fantasy more than nonfiction essays. I also am very interested in poetry as a way to express my thoughts and feelings.
How did you feel when you found out you won?
When I first heard the news, I jumped up and hugged my parents, then started screaming and leaping around the kitchen. Next came the disbelief – “Is this a dream or something?”- and the anxiety- “Oh my gosh, I have to fly on a plane and I am terrified of planes!” – and then more excitement – “I can’t believe I won out of 6,000 people!” After all of this, I went outside to shovel snow, of all things, just to burn off the energy!
Are you excited about going to the premier?
I am extremely excited to go to the premier! I had been counting down the days until the release of the movie in theaters and I’m so grateful that my agonizing wait has been shortened. Also, I am really excited that I will get to see the actors that are in the movie, if only from a distance. More important than that is the fact that I may have a chance to meet Suzanne Collins, which would be the most exciting event of the night for me. Her books have been a great inspiration to me as a writer and to meet her if only for a few minutes would be truly unforgettable! I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity and I know this will be a memory not soon forgotten.
You can read the rest of Lydia’s story on the Scholastic Book Clubs Contest Page. Have any books inspired you to write your own dystopian fiction?
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