Thanks for stopping by. I have an awesome treat for you today! As promised, Destiny Allison, author of Pipe Dreams, is taking over to talk about our fascination behind the dystopian genre.
Destiny Allison is an award winning sculptor, businesswoman, and community builder. Luckily for us, writing was her first love! Pipe Dreams is her fiction debut. I will soon be posting much more about her when I get to review the book for the blog and (fingers crossed) hopefully can get her back for a short author interview. Enjoy the post from Allison!
Thanks for having me as a guest today, Allen. In a recent post you mentioned that you were a political science major and said, “Turn on CNN or Fox News and you get pounded with stories about how bad everything is and how it’s the fault of one political party or another. Sure, I recognize there are important things we have to take care of, but sometimes I want to transport somewhere else.” This is a great intro into dystopian book. Sometimes I think that if observed by someone on another planet, our country would be labeled dystopian.
I’ve loved dystopian literature since I was a kid. Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, and others create worlds so different from ours but hold up a mirror so we can see the flaws in our own systems and our human commonalities.
Dystopian books are great for understanding why and how people do what they do. Traditionally, they look at dysfunctional power structures, illuminate our motivations, fears, and hopes, and offer us a peek at what could come if we don’t take personal responsibility for our lives. Often they’re chilling because they’re so real.
The world I created in Pipe Dreams is based on recent events, conspiracy theories, and breakthroughs in behavioral genetics. The People’s Protest ended in rebellion and isolated a fictional island city in upstate New York. A new government was formed to protect and nourish humanity’s last hope. To ensure mankind wouldn’t continue to wage war on itself, the government engineered a virus that turned off the DNA markers for greed, aggression, and other destructive human behaviors.
Like in other dystopian novels, my protagonists are everyday heroes. Circumstance forced them into roles they otherwise would not have assumed. As they search for answers and a way to stop a sadistic sociopath from releasing the airborne version of the virus, they have to face their fears and learn to trust again.
My challenge was to create a world that could happen right here and right now. It had to be believable. How could the NSO hold the US military at bay, ensure supplies made it to the island, and keep its miserable citizens in line? Why wouldn’t any of the inhabitants try to swim to the mainland? My reasons had to be good enough that readers stay engaged in the story instead of shooting it down because of flawed logic. Once that was done, the stage was set.
Unlike other books in this genre, I have a large cast of characters. Each of them has their own perspective on what really happened and each wants something different. Though none of them get exactly what they want, it is their pursuit of personal dreams that brings them together and forces a societal change.
I like to think that dystopian works are metaphors for our own lives. That is true with Pipe Dreams as well. As one reader said about the book, “Had your dose of manipulation today?”