Monday, April 23, 2012

Dystopian... An Oversaturated Genre?

Okay, so I write dystopian novels. I love the genre. I love reading all the different kinds of dystopian out there. From robots to near-apocalypse, from viruses to factions, from brainwashing to technology meltdowns.

I love it all. And every time I hear of a new dystopian novel coming out, I get excited. I want to devour them all.

Now that's not to say that I don't read and love other genres too. I'm quite a fan of fantasy and I'm falling more and more in love with contemporary with each novel I read.

I've heard lately, though, that dystopian is becoming like vampires. Overwritten. Oversaturated.

And it makes me sad, and I wonder if it's true. As a mega-fan of the genre who will continue to read (and write) dystopian novels, I'm wondering how you feel.

Lover? Hater? Read-enough-er? Still hungry for more?  



Things to remember: 
1. The SURRENDER ARC giveaway ends tomorrow night! All details are here, in case you missed it. 


2. REGRET--my short story featuring a character you've seen in POSSESSION and that you'll see again in SURRENDER--releases tomorrow! TOMORROW. Please consider buying it, especially if you're a fan of the bad boy, Jag Barque... It's available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and several other e-reader formats.

44 comments:

LM Preston said...

I don't think so. I love dystopians. My friend and fellow writer just got his serialized dystopian written about in Publishers Weekly and had over 150K in downloads within a 6 month period - I'd say there is still a hungry dystopian audience out there - you just have to find them :-D

AE Rought said...

I'm picky about which dystopians I read. I'm pickier about vampires, werewolves, even pickiest about faeries and ghosts.
Markets become saturated, thin out, rise again--loyal fans will continue to seek out the genres they love.
I will continue to read dystopian and dark paranormal. I will avoid ghost, faery, and contemporary.

Ted Cross said...

I'll never get tired of reading anything that kills off most of these horrible humans! I do prefer adult dystopian, though, or at least I haven't really enjoyed the YA versions I have tried so far.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I still enjoy dystopians and it's my daughter's favorite genre. So I hope more come out. I love fantasy too and write in that genre. I wish it would become the hot genre one of these days.

I think the problem becomes when the publishers completely saturate us with what they think is the "hot" genre. Maybe if they would balance things out a bit more they could keep sharing in all the genres all of the time. Like now it seems we're being saturated with mysteries and fewer paranormal.

HWPetty said...

I've never been a fan of dystopian stories. Ever. But I love, write, and want to support YA and its authors as much as possible, which has made this dystopian/post-apocalyptic trend really UGH for me. Too add to my ughness, we're getting next to nothing new or debut in the genres I adore, paranormal and urban fantasy. SO MUCH UGHNESS FOR HEATHER.

Still, as a previous commented said, the market trends ebb and flow. And in the meantime, I've discovered a few fabulous books I might never have picked up if the trends were flowing in my favor. So, bonus?

Still

HWPetty said...

Typos and extraneous word are what I get for trying to comment in blog posts from my phone. Before coffee. Sigh. ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'll admit I'm burned out from them. I'm only reading the series I've already started, and will only pick up a new one if the premise excites me. But that's not many of them lately.

This also applies to YA paranormal novels. I'm starting to feel like there is nothing new. Okay, part of that has to do with the same old same old covers being used. The girl dressed in a prom gown, standing helplessly in a forest or other scary looking place. I see those covers and think the story will also be the same old same old. Or worse, I think I've already read the blurb and don't bother to pick up the book.

Artemis Grey said...

I live and breathe dystopians!!! To me, they never get old, because each one is a re-imagining of what *might* be, of what *could* be. There's almost no way to exhaust the genre. I mean, there have been books recently that I found lacking, felt like they might have gotten through just because the market for dystopians were up. But then there are ones like BLOOD RED ROAD, PURE, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, POSSESSION (of course:) DIVERGENT, I could go on and on. And besides the fact that all of them are set in the future, the stories are all vastly different.

In contrast, I feel that vampire/werewolves are 'overwritten' from the standpoint that a lot of the books I read seem to follow the same sorts of story lines. If that makes sense. One exception I've recently read was FATEFUL by Claudia Gray which I found to be a slightly different take on the standard werewolf idea. But mostly if I pick up a story that revolves around werewolves or vampires, I can lay out the ending by page five or six.

Angela Brown said...

It's saturation level is a matter of perception. I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic. I also write this genre as well as enjoy reading it. I've read Possession with is very different from Hunger Games with is different Angelfall. All some from of dystopian or post-apocalyptic. It's just a matter of tastes.

Steph Sessa said...

I think the good thing about dystopian (rather than say vampires) is how different it can be. Dystopian is kind of a setting, and not always the same setting, so so many things can be inserted into the story line. I think it is getting a little repetitive but only because the settings are getting more similar. There's so many ways to write dystopian so I'm sure if there's a new interesting premise out there more people will be interested in reading it and stop thinking it's "over-saturated".

Jessie Humphries said...

I know almost nothing of trends. I just know I still enjoy a good dystopian novel. Especially if its fresh.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Some things are trends that go away to come back later. Remember peddle pushers in the eighties? They became capris in the new millenium, and I don't think older/heavier women are ever going to let them go away again. Will they stay just as popular? No. Will certain groups refuse to wear them even though they did before? Yes.

So, I think that's how Dystopians are...they had a phase in the seventies then went away. Now they're back, stronger than ever, and I don't think the fans they've found this time round are ever going to let them go away completely. Less popular, maybe. Gone, never.

Jaime Morrow said...

It bothers me to hear that the market is supposedly oversaturated with dystopians. Agents have been saying they're getting sick of it (like vampires), which boggles my mind. I can't get enough of dystopian novels, and I know many people like me who would keep on devouring them. I sincerely hope that they (literary agents) aren't just sick of them and as such are passing on them on behalf of all of us. That would be just terrible.

sarahwedgbrow said...

There's still definitely a readership for dystopian, but I am personally a little fatigued by it (same with paranormal). What's good for you and already established dystopian authors is you've created your fan base. I guess I'd prefer dystopian to be a niche rather than a trend. That way it will always be there for the readers (which I think it will) and the fans.

Kailia Sage said...

I have to agree with Natalie. While I love dystopian and I will always read it, when publishers notice a trend, they go right into books that deal with the "hot" trend. While some times this works out, other times it doesn't. In dystopian novels, the society, world, setting, ect. could be different but their overall topic is the same: lately, it's a corrupt government.

I personally want a balance of genres. When a huge number if dystopians come out at the same time, people a) beocme more critical of a "good" dystopian (which could lead them to to read less books, of the genres, which hurt newer books) and b) people become tired of them. I haven't a dystopian novel in a few weeks because with all the dystopian book, my mind just regarded all dystopians the same way...which is not a good thing.I want there to be dystopians of course but I want some focus to be on contemporary and paranormal and mysteries.

David P. King said...

While I admit there is more dystopia out now then I ever remember there being, I can see how the market can get tired of all the "Hunger Game" like submissions. Dystopia won't go away, but the market will eventually shift to another genre. Eventually. It goes through rotations. :)

Julie Daines said...

One thing I think dystopian has going for it that others stuff--like vampires--doesn't have is the huge scope for variety. The subject is much broader.

And as long as there are people out there reading it and loving it, who cares what "they" say?

Peggy Eddleman said...

Gosh I hope it's not on its way out!

Jamie Manning said...

Well, since my first series is about vampires and my second is dystopian, I may not be the best person to comment on this! lol
But, I firmly believe that NO genre dies or becomes overdone (ugh, hate that word; it should only apply to the cast of Jersey Shore). If a book entertains someone and makes them want to read more books, it's a full-on win in my, well, book. :)
P.S. Your banner of covers at the top of your blog is FRAWESOME!!

Randy said...

I don't feel that dystopian and vampire novels are a good comparison. One is a genre and the other is an element involving character and setting. I remember hearing that zombies were the next vampire, but can you realy say that about dystopian stories? You can have too many stories about green Martians invading Earth, but that isn't going to prevent other Sci-Fi stories from becoming popular. (Of course, that's just my uneducated opinion.)

Jen Daiker said...

I'm a lover of Dystopian. I both read and write it and I will never stop, and neither will those who share an equal love.

We always here the market is oversaturated. It always will be. That shouldn't scare us from writing or reading a style we love.

I've heard they often start calling it something else... but haven't you noticed that genres are a lot like clothing? They always come back in style?

Write what you love and people will read it!

Carolyn V said...

I love dystopians. I hope they are here forever. ;) I don't feel like they are like vampires. You can only write so much about vampires, where as dystopians have a much more versatile range.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I love them. I hope they don't go away. I think there are a lot of dystopians that are a lot alike, but they each have their own stories to tell. I hope they stay for a while, personally. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've enjoyed all the ones I've read. I hope they're not going to quit publishing them. That would be sad.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Dystopians haven't overwhelmed me but paranormals have.

ilima said...

I sure hope not! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't read young adult but I still like the adult books. Although there isn't nearly as many of those.

Liesel K Hill said...

I think dystopian may be on it's way to being like vampires, but I don't think it's there, yet. That said, it may be a great time to jump in with writing, since in another few years, the market probably WILL be saturated. Like you, I love these novels and write them myself. I was wondering, would you review a dystopian novel by a new author? :D Just wondering!

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't really care what "genre" is hot or not. What I care about is if the story is good. And if you get that right, then I'll read it--whether it's dystopian, fantasy, literary, or picture book. ;)

Jemi Fraser said...

I love dystopian books. I think the first one I read was Fahrenheit 451 in high school and it blew my mind. Over the years I've continued to read and love the genre. I hope it never goes out of vogue!!!

Leslie Rose said...

No, no, say it isn't so. I think there are as many fascinating predictions of the future as there are imaginations. Long live dystopian.

Nichole Giles said...

I think if a story is good, if it's well written, well told, if it resonates with readers, genre doesn't matter.

I will say I think there are a lot of dystopians popping up, but I have loved almost all the ones I've read, and will continue to pick them up and read them as long as they continue to be fresh and new and not the same old story told in a different world.

Also, I think the difference between dystopian and other genres is that dystopians generally plunk readers into a world where there is some massive government control going on, and as long as that very real fear exists in our very real minds (ahem, forever) these stories will sell. JMO.

I also think mermaids are about to crest the hill of popularity. Don't you? *winks*

Jessica said...

In the past several months I've read several YA dystopian novels. I liked all of them. I am ready for a break though. I can only take so much of one genre before I move on to another just for a change of pace. This break, will not keep me from reading more dystopian in the future, so I would not be afraid that the market is over saturated.

Jill Kemerer said...

Woo-hoo!! Congrats on your new release--what a great idea to publish a short story featuring a character from a previous book. :)

I devour books in my genre too. I just want to read them all!

Varsha Dinesh said...

It's not really about having had enough of the dystopian genre. It's just that everything is blurring together, all the plots following formulas that are tried and tested. We need something new, a real breakthrough. I feel the same about the paranormal genre too. But some of the dystopian novels are becoming so formulaic that it's just impossible to get through them.

Patti said...

I love them, but I think it was last year that I read like six all back to back and that was a little much. Now I read them between other books.

Alice said...

I like dystopian. As long as the new stories coming out are different in some way and don't all follow the same formula I think there's room for more.

Theresa Milstein said...

My feeling is that dystopian is capable of more variety than vampires, so it has more dimension. It also can overlap into other genres. I feel vampires are pretty one-note.

So don't worry yet.

Windy Aphayrath said...

I've always been pretty open about my genre preferences, I think. Dystopian, not highest on my list, but I've found some great stories in there. And most of the issue for me, is the world stuff. I'm not a fan of post-apocalyptic new world order stuff. Not sure why. I think it's because the end of the world freaks me out and I'd rather not think about it? Lol. But I do know that beneath that, I've found great stories I've really enjoyed. That being said, I think it's hard to say there's too many, because every writer's dystopian world is so different. It's not like vampires, where all vampires drink blood. Each dystopian world is complete in it's own right. Almost like a mini-genre within the genre. Just my 2 cents!

Carrie Monroe said...

I love it and I agree that it offers more variety for writers than vampires. I love reading this genre and I hope that people keep writing these amazing books.

Sarah Allen said...

So to be honest, I haven't read tons and tons of Dystopia, but honestly, I'm not sure I believe a genre can be saturated if people write what they want to write, rather than writing what they think they "should" be writing. Just make sure you're telling your own unique story and if it falls into a genre that has a lot of other books as well, so be it.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Carol Riggs said...

Noooo! I don't want dystopian to be saturated like the vampire genre/market is. But it's probably inevitable. It's sort of a "fad" genre that everyone is leaping onto. Still, it just means that in order to publish one in the future, it REALLY has to stand out from the crowd. Let's be original! :)

Rachel Morgan said...

I haven't actually read that many dystopians, so I don't feel like I'm sick of them. Keep bringing them on!

Kamille Elahi said...

I've never been a huge fan of dystopia but I've been a bit soft on adult dystopia unlike YA dystopia which drives me crazy.

They're becoming generic. Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. Dystopian society stops them from being with each other. They fight dystopian society while declaring their love for each other, while they met ten minutes ago.

Some dystopians in YA are better (such as Hunger Games)

But I'm still not a huge fan of dystopias.

the paranormal romance thing was different. The books were bad but easy reads and since I'm lazy, I never bothered.

But when I think dystopia, I want comparisons and criticisms of society and government today. Instead, we end up with paranormal romances parading around as dystopias which they simply are not.

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