I read The Handmaid’s Tale a long time ago, but could only stomach the first season on the box. Maybe it feels a bit more real or even possible, or perhaps the dramatisation was all a bit much, but I just couldn’t cope with more terror or the gruesome relentless treatment of the women.
Dystopian fiction has always had a following, the stories are gripping and usually paint a vivid picture of a life in the margins. The Handmaid’s tale has been the most well-known book with a feminist perspective, but P.D. James wrote a book called The Children of Men in 1992 which was about a world with plummeting birthrates – no children and no future, and The Parable of the Sower was written by Octavia Butler in 1993 and set in 2025 when communities have to protect themselves from marauding scavengers and roaming bands of ‘Paints’, people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder.
In recent years a good deal more titles have been published and range from women coping with climate change, war, isolation and issues around fertility. A bit of a “trend” perhaps, but one that more and more seems to have the fiction set in reality.
Read more: The remarkable rise of the feminist dystopia The Atlantic Weekly
Check out my BiblioCommons list of Dystopian feminist fiction.
Fiction publishing is very much trend and theme driven, and as Heidi Klum said “one day you’re in and the next day you’re out”.
There are always the bestseller authors, but in amongst their numbers are a few subjects and authors that can come out of left field.
Bookshops. Books and people who sell them, read in them, murder in them and fall in love, usually in old dusty quaint places – none of which resemble Whitcoulls or Paper Plus. The recently released movie The bookshop might also create some interest in this area.
Librarians and Libraries
Librarians and libraries! Well, not exactly a major trend, but for a generally under-represented group in books and films we seem to be featuring on a regular basis lately – usually there is a murder involved …which is um, interesting?
Bakeries. Food has always been a feature in fiction, but just lately there has been the odd bakery/romance popping up, which seems like a nice mixture to me.
Bees and Beekeepers
Bees – and for some reason Beekeepers…
Feminist dystopias – not surprising considering the dramatisation of The Handmaid’s tale. These books are not for the faint hearted.
Find more feminist dystopias in our collection.
Of course, fiction publishing is also affected by what is going on in the world, there have been more titles published in the last few years about refugees for example, plenty of titles about the economic crisis, climate change and a plethora of light easy reads for those of us who just want to escape.