This is the first post for the debut class of 2k11! I'm truly thrilled that my first guest is not only my mentee, but my Penguin pal - and we also share editor fabulous Jen Bonnell - Julia Karr. Her YA novel XVI sounds brilliant - and you can win a copy! Here she is discussing things that might happen in a future world...
Can you believe there are only 4 weeks left in the 16 Weeks to XVI tour? I know I sure can't. My feelings fluctuate from sheer terror to unbounded excitement (maybe those two emotions are much closer than I think!)
A recent reviewer of XVI wondered how things could go so wrong from present day to XVI's world. Well, XVI takes place in the year 2150, that's 139 years in the future, several generations from now. I think that's plenty of time for current trends (if unreversed) to morph into common practice, and even law. Here are the four things that have me thinking of a future not-so-bright.
1. The vise-grip that media has on nearly all westernized nations. If it's on TV or the Internet - it must be the truth. A viewer chooses their channel of choice and believes every word that comes out of the mouths of the talking heads that continue to shape the beliefs of their listeners/watchers. At some point in the future, there may not be a choice of channels, but just one news source backed by wealth, which runs the government and through them, the media. (I do worry about this!)
2. Currently the distribution of wealth in this country is becoming increasingly polarized. The rich are indeed getting richer, the middle class is disappearing and the have-nots are growing at an alarming rate. In the future, it is entirely likely that not only will the gap increase between the wealthiest and the poorest, but those in between will be judged; sorted by earning capabilities, spending habits (which are encouraged by Media, see above), housing, etc. The ability to move between tiers will become increasingly difficult.
3. It is impossible to miss the increasing sexualization of teen and pre-teen girls. (I mean, come on - baby booties that look like high heels? Blech!) I challenge you to turn on the TV or the internet and go for five minutes without seeing young girls dressed in clothes that would look as natural on a lady-of-the-night as they are beginning to look on our children. And, that's the thing. The more often you see girls dressed in tight-fitting, revealing clothing, the more acceptable it becomes. Of course, girls should be able to dress attractively, but there is a huge difference between attractive and sexually provocative.
Covert government surveillance of suspect conversations and activities, seems logical, right? Because, of course, the government is only going to eaves-drop on suspected crinimals. Government-mandated, imbedded identification. Easy, right? Takes care of identify theft and it’s always there, follows you from cradle to grave.
I don’t know about you guys – but, I want “less” government interference in my life – not more. And, to quote Benjamin Franklin, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
Hope this interview gives you an idea of why I find dystopia such a fascinating subject about which to write.
Now – on to the contest! This week’s prize is a pre-order of XVI. To be eligible to win, all you have to do is leave a comment (and contact info please!) (Contest is U.S. only – sorry!)
Next Friday morning (the 17th), Random Number Generator will pick the winner! And – all commenters will be entered in the Grand Prize drawing to be done in Week 1.
You are so welcome, Julia! Julia's website is: http://juliakarr.comAgain, thanks so much for having me on your blog, Janet! It’s been such fun!