Whenever I say I’m writing a Christian Dystopian, I feel like I can see the other person’s thoughts.
They’re either thinking: “Oh, cool.” or, “What’s that?” or “That is so wrong. ”
In general, I get the impression that dystopian can’t be Christian. Oh, but it can, just like fantasy, mystery, and all the other genres.
I want to take a second to really look at what Christian Dystopian means, and then flail and tell you about the amazing books I’ve found in this genre. *squeals*
Christian. What is Christian?
In the genre “Christian,” it generally means no cussing, explicit language, clean romance or none at all, and also has faith elements. These could be like The Chronicles of Narnia, not really talking about Jesus, and salvation (while it being an underlying message) or it could be the person becomes a Christian over the course of the story. Perhaps they are a Christian, or just struggling. That kind of thing.
Dystopian. What is that?
Well, with today’s books, dystopian basically means Hunger Games. Oppressive governments, limitations, catastrophes have happened to change the world into an awful place, etc etc. Think Divergent, Matched, Shatter Me, and other series. There also, an unspoken rule that demands a love triangles… or maybe that’s just me and my hatred for love triangles. 😉
Dystopia literally means, “not-good-place,” and is the opposite of Utopia. It’s the bad terrible version of our world.
But honestly, It’s our world if you only remove a few bits of freedom. Maybe that’s why it’s popular: we’re so close to becoming something like in a dystopian book, constricted and without freedoms or rights to our name. Yes, even in America.
Granted, we’re probably not close to living underground in Pods, or being part of an elite group of which only one (a teenage girl of 15 with conflicted love interests) can save all the of us from imminent death BUT STILL. You get my point.
The Differences Between Dystopian and Christian?
Most Dystopians have zero hope, and if they do, it’s on something that one shouldn’t place their hope on because it is bound to fail, or it’s only human.
Take Hunger Games. It’s a great story, and it is what it is, but I’ve always said it lacks hope. The ending? *shudders* My friend pointed out the hope is on Katniss. And poor Katniss is suffering PTSD and Anxiety and not a person I want to put all my faith into.
In the Christian Genre, hope is in God, and his love for us, his ability to save us. Because frankly, we can’t do it. We can’t save ourselves, or at least not for very long. We’ll come to the end of rope in the end, even if the end of our rope is the end of our life.
There’s nothing wrong with stories lacking hope. They’re stories, just like the rest, but I find they can be depressing books, ones lacking purpose and a real sense of closure. I read the Hunger Games series a few years back all in one weekend (which I don’t suggest you doing) and I felt like this in the end:
“Christian Dystopian? That’s going to be Tacky.”
Nope. Sorry. They’re not tacky. Now, I can’t speak on the behalf of all Christian Dystopian books, but I can speak on the behalf of the ones I’ve read. And none of them have been tacky.
The list is small, but it’s growing!
A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes (The entire Out of Time series, really. I’m working on A Time to Speak at the time of writing this post)
Anomaly by Krista McGee (also a trilogy I’m in the midle of.)
Why Am I Bringing This Up?
Because I’m currently writing a Christian Dystopian series, and I want people to have a better understanding of this genre, not upturn their noses at the mention of Christian and Dystopian in the same sentence.
In this little blogging community the genre is well-known and well-loved. But outside of this blogging community, I’m pretty sure it’s not. And why is that? Combining a popular and really interesting genre with Christianity is a fantastic idea and a great testimony. A they touch on amazing themes and I’ve learned quite a bit more from them than I have any other fictional work.