Here’s another small straw in the wind.
This is the trailer for The Hunger Games movie.
Even from that, you should get the gist. A country where the poor are tremendously poor and the rich are enormously rich, and where every so often young people are induced to fight and die in meaningless conflicts used to hold an oppressive state together: where do these SF writers dream up such way-out ideas?
The politics of the Suzanne Collins YA novels are quite complex but the books are a remarkably self-conscious reflection on the Bush years. In that respect, they make an obvious contrast with the Twilight series, which might be better described as a remarkably unself-conscious product of the Bush years, both in terms of reactionary gender politics and a remarkable fetishisation of class privilege.
Yes, The Hunger Games is about revolution while Twilight is about not having sex. But more importantly, while Bella spends the entirety of the Twilight series fretting about whether the boys like her or not, Katniss is about as active a protagonist as one is likely to find in YA writing.
The transfer of the books to the big screen will be particularly interesting because so much has changed since they were written. That is, the first movie comes out in the wake not only of the ArabSpring but also (and perhaps more importantly in the context of Hollywood) the Occupy movement, which means there’s suddenly a whole different context for a book about an uprising. By way of comparison, the politics of the Harry Potter series developed noticeably as the novels were written, with the later books decidedly darker and with less of the twee Enid Blyton-ness of the first ones. It will be fascinating to see if something similar happens, as the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy rolls out.
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