The other week I was talking to a person who said she had really liked The Hunger Games trilogy and that she enjoyed all “dystopian” literature.
“What a coincidence,” I said. “I write “post-dystopian” novels.
“I’ve never heard of post-dystopian before,” she said, a look of interest gleaming in her eyes.
“It’s a phrase I made up to describe what I’m writing. In fact, the first book, The Lens and the Looker, is coming out March 16th, 2011.”
“Cool,” she said. “Oh, I think I saw it advertised on Goodreads in a give-away contest, but I didn’t get time to read what it was about, or what “post-dystopian” writing is.”
“Well, do you know what dystopian literature is?”
“Yes, they’re stories of what could happen if our world society falls apart,” she answered. “Sometimes it’s nuclear war, biological calamity, bacterial plagues, invasions from space, and the story is about how the characters survive the new order or disorder.”
“Excellent answer,” I said.
“And you write post-dystopian stories?” she pursued. “Like I said, I never heard of it and I’ve read almost everything called dystopian.”
“Really? What have your read lately?”
“Oh, besides The Hunger Games, I’ve read Unwind, The Giver, Feed, Uglies and The Adoration of Jeanna Fox.”
“Good choices,” I agree. “They are among the best. How did you get to like that sort of writing?”
“In high school they made us read books like Brave New World, 1984, The Crysalids . . . and what was that one about the kids stuck on the island, where they go feral?” she mused.
“Oh, Lord of the Flies,” I said, with some excitement. “That was my number one fave. In fact, I would say that book inspired me to be a writer.”
“Cool,” she answered. “So, post-dystopian is like post-modern?” she said with a questioning look.
“Exactly. In fact,” I went on, “I would say that people who like all the dystopian books you mentioned should like my post-dystopian stories.”
For some reason, I don’t know why, her eyebrows lowered and she looked a bit . . . miffed.
“So . . . how would you describe it?” she asked.
“Oh, well, like I said, the book is called The Lens and the Looker. It’s the first of a trilogy where three spoiled teens from the 24th century are kidnapped back to 14th century Verona, Italy.”
“Cool,” she said, “but what’s post – . . .”
“Now, the neat thing about this story is the kids are kidnapped from what are called History Camps.”
“History Camps? What are they, and why do the kids come from the 24th century? And what the heck is post -. . .”
“Great questions,” I said, jumping at the chance to practice my elevator pitch. “In the 24th century, humans, with the help of artificial intelligences, have finally created the perfect planetary society. And to make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders create History Camps. These are full-sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, dong the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die.” The young woman was looking at me intently.
“Ooookay,” she said, drawing the word out. I smiled and sped on.
“In this first book – I told you it was a trilogy, didn’t I – this first book is called The Lens and the Looker. This is where you get to know three teens, Hansum, who’s almost 17. He’s good looking and athletic. Then there’s Shamira. She’s 15, very sassy, and she’s an artistic genius. This is really is important to the story. And there’s Lincoln, the youngest. He’s 14, a smart-aleck, but kind of insecure under all the wise cracks.”
“Cool, but what’s post – . . .”
I put up a hand for silence and babbled.
“So, the three teens are sent to a History Camp that’s built like Verona in the early 14th century. Now, all the people who work there, they don’t just walk around in costume and talk about live in the past, they live it. And the teens that are sent there are given new names and expected to work and live like people away back. But these three disrupt things so badly that they expect, and hope, to be expelled and sent home.”
“Don’t tell me,” she said. “That’s not what happens.”
“Exactly!” I blurted and continued excitedly. “An eccentric time-traveling History Camp counselor from the 31st century comes and kidnaps them back to the real 14th century Verona and abandons them. Abandons them!” I repeated. “Now they have only two choices; adapt to the harsh, medieval ways or – die.” My elevator pitch finished, I crossed my arms and smirked.
“And . . .”
“And what?” I asked.
“Do they die? And for pity sake, what’s post -. . .”
“I can’t tell you if they die. That would be a spoiler. But I can tell you that, to try to survive, they introduce inventions from the future. And even among all the dangers that they run into, Hansum, he falls head over heels in love. Now really, I can’t tell you anymore.”
“Well, you gotta tell me one thing or I’ll stomp your toe!” she threatened.
“What?” I asked, taking a step backward.
“I’ve tried to ask you, like, five or six times. What’s post-dystopian writing?”
“Oh, well you should have asked . . .” She glared at me really hard. “Sorry. I got carried away. Well, the word dystopian, you already described it perfectly. Stories of people surviving the aftermath of the world going to Hell in a hand basket, excuse the cliché. But you see, I’m an optimistic person, so I’m writing novels of how the world successfully struggles to come out of the mess.”
“Oh, post, meaning after. It’s what happens after the dystopian times. Post-dystopian.”
“A natural progression I think. Post-dystopian stories are the exciting adventures of young people creating a world that will last tens of thousands of years.”
“Cool,” she said. “And it’s coming out March 16th?”
“Yep.” I answered.
“I’ll buy it.”
“Thanks. You can learn more, and order it, by going to the website, www.history-camp.com. You can also “like” the History Camp Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/historycamptrilogy?v=info). I hope you enjoy it.”
And guess what 5 Minutes for Books readers? You can enter to win your own copy of The Lens and the Looker right here! Just leave a comment and we’ll announce the winner on March 23. The giveaway is closed.
- The winner of the Crabby Cook Cookbook is #27 Shari.
- The winner of The Murderer’s Daughters is #19 John.
Check out our current giveaways.
Don’t miss a thing: Subscribe to our feed or follow us @5M4B on Twitter.
We thank author Lory Kaufman for contributing this guest post and enlightening conversation (as well as some fabulous dystopian reading suggestions!).
Oooh, definitely adding this to my to-read list! Would love to win a copy 🙂
Jen E says
Well you’ve got me hooked! I’d love to win this!
Obviously I’m not commenting for the giveaway, but I just wanted to say that I really like this plot concept– sounds like a great read!
I love the concept of time travel mixed with dystopia/post-dystopia. Very cool.
You won the book! Congrats. Please respond to this email notification with your address.
Awesome! I can’t wait to read it! Thank you!
I will definitely add this to my to-read list on Goodreads. I loved The Hunger Games and I don’t normally go for books like that.
Jennifer O. says
I haven’t read a lot of dystopian fiction, but I have been meaning to. I’d love to win this book!
So, what is post? JK
Post means “after”, like in “Post-modern” or “postpartum”. Therefore, it’s what happens “after” the dystopian time in history.
Beth C says
I’d be interested in reading this. Thanks!
Sandra Stiles says
This sounds awesome. It also sounds like a great way to introduce kids to some history.
Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Linda Kish says
Please include me
lkish77123 at gmail dot com
I like such type of books.
Sounds really interesting!!
Sounds great. Would love to win. Thanks!
The Hunger Games was my first of this genre…can’t wait to read some more! thanks
Ooh! Sounds great.
Would love to read this!
Kim W says
Oh I want to win!!! I love Dystopian or post dystopian books as you say. I will add this to my reading list for sure.
Mona Garg says
I’ve read only one book, THE UNIDENTIFIED, which I think could be categorized as Dystopian. I won it in a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway. The book was just ok but peaked my interest in the genre.
This sounds like exactly the book I want to read!
Patty Hasbargen says
I need to start stocking up for Summer reading.
Shannon Baas says
I want to read this.
Mary Ward says
Sounds like a really interesting read.
Daniel M says
cool my favorite genre
bina edwards says
Rhonda Struthers says
I would like to read this
DeeAnn S says
I love to read and this is one of my favorite genres. Thanks.
I would love to read it, it sounds really good.
Chalice K. says
Deborah Wellenstein says
What you call “post dystopian”, I call “post apocalyptic”-same thing I guess. It is my favorite fiction sub-genre. thanks!
dwellenstein at cox dot net
Actually, as I see it, post-apocalptic is the dystopic time. Let’s say there’s a war and a famine and a plague all at once. That’s the apocalipse. The dust settles and for the next bunch of years you have the world taken back centuries, or a dystopian or hell-on-Earth time. Post dystopian is what I’m calling the time after that, when humans get it together to then make a world that then lasts millenium. They don’t repeat the same mistakes again. -Lory
I’d love to win 🙂
This is an interesting concept. Even now, I wonder how some would deal with being stranded in the past.
Kim H. says
I have never heard of Post-Dystopian fiction. I asked my daughter about it and she said that is the kind of stories that she writes about.
I would really love to read this book. Thanks so much for the interview. I did learn so much. It sounds like a story in which the catastrophy is secondary to the actual survival.
christal C says
would like to read this’
willdebbie97 at yahoo dot com
Ed Nemmers says
Sounds like a good book!
Diane Baum says
Wow-post dystopian fiction, time travel..sounds like a must read for me.
susan smoaks says
i would love to win
Kirby McCauley says
This sounds right up my ally. If I don’t win it will have to go on the to-buy list 🙂
Count me in!
heather c says
I just put all those books on my to-read list! Thanks!