We recently had a nice conversation about science-fiction. It sounded like "droben zog ein alter rabe gerade eine turmuhr auf" because we spoke German, which is why I tried to translate it. Here you go:
Alright, we're now having a pedagogically useful literature lesson. I give you some names, you should know them, and you tell me what they have in common. Savvy?
Tris, Maddie, Thomas, Tally, Katniss, Ria.
Plus some dates: 2011, 2011, 2010, 2005, 2008, 2012.
Divergent - Awaken - The Maze Runner - Uglies - The Hunger Games - Die Verratenen (German)
Uglies is already that old?
They are rather involuntarily the symbol of the revolution.
All of them are teenagers.
Why are we talking about literature?
Catastrophy as precondition for a change in the worldorder.
Even in matters with Maddie?
I wonder whether there is a recipe for the modern science-fiction and whether it is worth climbing on the bandwagon and just working it off according to the book or if one should deal with the literature in the same way as the characters of the popular books deal with their governments, in other words revolutionize against it.
I have to attend math lessons.
I think of books as mirrors. Not of every book of course, but of the majority of good books. I believe that books somehow reflect the time it is written in. Like, todays science-fiction shows what the world is like today.
Let's think of some well-known book, for example "The Hunger Games": it takes place in America, which is then called Panem. The country is devided into twelve districts and the capitol. So where is the mirror? I'm pretty sure that by the time I'm writing this post (although I don't want to take responsibility for what it is like tomorrow) America consists of fifty-or-so states.
But think about these aspects of Panem:
There are very rich people that always consume more and more.
There are very poor people that are almost starving and have to produce more and more for the rich people to consume.
The rich people use the poor people for their own entertainment.
The poor people don't have any rights.
When we read "The Hunger Games" in class, my english teacher said the hunger games were an exaggeration of todays TV shows, like The Jungle Camp, showing us how far our society will get if we don't stop enjoying the others discomfort. I would go one step further and say that Panem shows us how our world aready is. It shows us how we capitalise the efforts of those who can't defend themselves.
So let's have a quick look at "Awaken": I totally hate sitting in a café with the person across from me only staring at their phone. In Awaken, this shit is normal. And among us teenagers, it is amost the standard when we hang out. Not amog adults though. Awaken says: "Kids, this is what you look like. Is this what you want the world to be like? Because if there was only you, it would be reality." I don't want to complain about social media in this post, there might be another one, but I at least hope that showing such problems of our society is part of the purpose of science-fiction.
That's it. It somehow fits every book named above.
I have read a lot of trilogies in my life. And to be honest, I was never exactly sure of what to think about the third and last book. It started with The Hunger Games, then a German triolgy (and a few more of them) and last but not least The Maze Runner. I was slightly unhappy with Mockingjay and I used to say that it feels like it was written by a different author. Divergent is still, in my opinion, better than the last two parts and the same goes for The Maze Runner.
I just recently had a discussion with Julia (btw please blog that one) about modern science fiction and about how it is basically all the same - disaster destroyed the world, new government systems and revolutions et cetera. What I think is why we mostly don't like the last part of trilogies is because we see the bigger picture. Or something happenes that we don't want to happen because shit gets real (sorry). Careful, spoilers comming up ! In the last part of the Maze Runner we find out about the experiment that was done in the maze, in mockinjay Prim dies and there is a war that hurts all the people in Panem and destroys Katniss and in the last part of the divergent trilogy (SPOILER DON'T READ, I SWEAR) when Tris dies, it is not what you wish to read and moreover the whole city turns out to be an experiment too.
I found one trilogy where the last part is the best, in my opinion. And guess what. It's a book where the government tells lies, yes, but it is not that much of a shock. The trilogy is called Die Verratenen (German) and I love it. I might do a book review on that one soon.
Life is not a wishgranting factory. -The Fault in Our Stars
So do we just like books that have good endings? I think yes, because the more you reread a bad third book the better it becomes - you get used to the idea of what is happening and you see from a comletely different perspective. Reading it the first time, you are as surprised/shocked/whatever as the character is... and that is the best thing about reading a book for the first time. No matter how much you wish the plot would take a different direction, you can change anything because it is like in real life: Not a wishgranting factory.