Monday, 26 September 2011

The Rise in Dystopian Fiction by Jeyn Roberts, author of Dark Inside.

Hi everyone! I’m Jeyn Roberts and I’m the author of Dark Inside.

The Rise in Dystopian Fiction

Almost everything becomes a trend at one point of another. Recently it came in the form of skinny jeans and before that, there was a huge wave of low rise pants. I hated those, my stomach always felt like it was trying to break free.

So fashion follows trends. Movies and music too. Even food has its trendy moments. It’s only natural that books ride down that road too.

I never meant to write a dystopian novel. I didn’t exactly sit down and say ‘hey, dystopian! Cool.’ Actually I was trying to rewrite another story (now dead on my hard drive) and it was the end of November. I’d been teaching in South Korea for two months and I was feeling rather isolated. My friends and family were halfway around the world. I barely spoke the language. I loved my job but my evenings were a little quiet. Too quiet. While going through my notes one night, I came across some pages I’d written years ago based on dreams I used to have.

And then I got sidetracked. Boy, did I get sidetracked. The old story got tossed aside and suddenly I was writing up a storm. I guess in a way I got lucky. The new trend is dystopian and my novel just happened to fall under that genre.

I’ve always loved the whole end-of-the-world story. I’m a big fan of zombie movies and Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ is still one of my all-time favourites. I’m thrilled to see the amount of dystopian novels on the shelves today. Books like The Hunger Games and Gone have really captured my imagination. I consider myself very lucky that I’m getting to be a part of this whole trend. So much better than skinny jeans if you ask me.


Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to some people.
Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known all her life; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger.
An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. 
For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive - at any cost!
Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen - now it's our turn!


DARK INSIDE ~ a tall tales & short stories review

As Jeyn Roberts herself says, dystopian fiction is a hot trend and zombies have been rather popular too. And in the Dark Inside Jeyn Roberts plays with both genres and throws in the classic 'road trip' for good measure. I'm a stickler for not giving away spoilers (I hate them) as many of my readers will know so I won't give too much away. But what I particularly liked about Jeyn Roberts take on these concepts is that although civilization has collapsed into chaos and violence, the changed humans aren't just mindless corpses shuffling or running around zombie style (I must admit zombies don't scare me unless they move fast). Many of her bad guys and gals have a sense of self and an awareness of what they are doing - and that's what makes them Scary with a capital S.

Jeyn Roberts explores the idea that inside many of us there may lurk a dark place, a dark inside, a secret part of us that could snap and lash out with violence and rage given the right circumstances. Some of us could control these urges, some of us would give in freely, some of us may struggle with these feelings - we're all different, we all have our triggers, and how far would any of us go to survive? Because when survival means fighting loved ones, friends, those who have changed does that, can that, change you into one of them?

These internal and external struggles are told from four main viewpoints, and Jeyn Roberts writes with a tight, economical style which really helps heighten tension, as we follow the four main characters on their journey across country, each one searching for something unique to them. Mixed in with these characters is an unexplained mystery narrator, someone struggling with who or what they are/have become. Because when every survivor could be fighting the Dark Inside just how do you know who to trust? Can you even trust yourself?


Justine Windsor said...

I've read this and thought it was really good. Jeyn's style and the way the story was constructed reminded me of Stephen King's The Stand. I loved the "Nothing" sections.

Sue said...

Well, the trailer scared the sh*t out of me! Great stuff.
Interesting how dystopian has caught on - I wonder how many trends start in adult literature and filter down to YA/children's (as I expect is the case here after "The Road") and how many start from children's/YA and filter up.

BTW, "up" and "down" here refer to age of readership, not any judgement of quality!

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