Books built around a dystopian world are some of the most popular stories out there. We have books like Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Giver, and now, Phipps’ Project W.A.R. series. These worlds with governments that control every aspect of the civilians lives, worlds where there exists absolutely no freedom, seem like such an extreme world. You couldn’t even imagine what living like that would be like, it’s just a work of fiction after all.
But is it? Is it really that inconceivable?
In Project W.A.R., Wynter’s world is completely controlled by the State. They make sure that everyone is the same, they make sure you end up in a career based off of a placement test, they make sure no one steps out of line by expressing themselves. And it wasn’t hard for the State to take over. People were too blind, too complacent, and gave in much too easily.
What did Phipps use as her inspiration for the State? Nazi Germany and North Korea. Two powers that had/have complete control over their citizens. Phipps used Nazi Germany’s use of fear to rule and Hitler’s merciless as an inspiration fo the State’s rise to power. She used North Korea’s total isolation from the world which forces “its citizens…to believe whatever Kim Jong-Un and his predecessors have told them because…they have no way of knowing otherwise” as inspiration for the States control of knowledge to its citizens.
While these are extreme examples, Phipps says “we can see similarities to these events happening in other aspects of modern life from people allowing their life decisions to be dictated by the opinions of celebrities or whatever they read on the internet, to people living in constant fear of their governments.”
Dystopian novels remind us that life wasn’t always like how we know it, and they present the question “What if?” What if people become too complacent? What if the people in power make decisions that strip away our freedoms? What if we lose individuality? What if we are forced into a type of society that we never thought we’d experience?
Yes, some of these fictional worlds are more extreme than others, in fact, Phipps addresses this. She wanted to “create the State in such a way that it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine our world turning out that way.” Because of this, her book brought to light for me how very possible it was. We can’t ignore the fact that these types of societies could become the future. With the current political climate, dystopian novels become even more relevant.
Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, regardless of any of your political and social views, dystopian novels remind us to care about our world’s politics. It is important to be involved and in-tune to what is happening around you. By not voting in an election, you’re accepting someone else making decisions for you.
Dystopian novels like Ultraxenopia and Type X remind us that these worlds have existed and can very much exist again. It is important to read dystopian novels like a lesson in history and use them as a way to learn from our mistakes. As Phipps says, “dystopian novels can help us see what mistakes we are making that could lead to such a society in the future”.
And to end with another point Phipps makes:
If we don’t vote, we are “willingly allowing politics to move in a direction we can’t dictate and that’s dangerous. If we want to ensure we don’t end up with a world like we see in dystopian novels, we need to exercise the rights we have to vote and try to make [a] change.”
And how right she is.
Do you think dystopian novels are helpful in understanding our history and encouraging in our participation in politics?
Are there any dystopian novels that you feel are a very real possibility?
Any other thoughts you wish to share in regards to this topic, share away!
In case you missed my other Authorly Love posts featuring M.A. Phipps, check them out:
M. A. Phipps is an American author who currently resides in the picturesque English West Country with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.
You can visit her online at maphipps.com