Recently, I have read a number of dystopian novels. If you check out my reading list at http://ealake.com/musings/reading-list-2014/ you will notice I spend many nights in this genre. What can I say - I read what I am.
One thing about some of these books has been bothering me lately, greatly bothering me. While I love the general tales these books tell, I don't buy into their versions of couples and love. Please allow me to expound on that thought, so I'm not thought of as a heartless curmudgeon.
Going back to Orwell's 1984, we see Winston Smith hooking up with his own antagonist, Julia, in mid-book. She hands him a note one day, no words have ever been exchanged between the two before now, that simply states "I love you." Okay, not overly romantic, I'm still with it. Winston and Julia go on to have a sexual relationship without a lot of emotional entrapments. I'm still with it. When Winston and Julia are busted by the Thought Police, he turns on her easily. Okay, now I love it.
The idea of romantic love in an oppressive (and depressed) world is fanciful in my mind. People will be looking to survive, exist. If they do pair up, it will be for protections sake and possible reproduction. Thus, Orwell's emotionless romance of the lovers was perfect for Oceania.
In three novels I have read recently (excellent examples of the Dystopian genre), love has come quickly, far too quickly for my tastes. Further, it's true pure romantic love. The kind that makes a third grade boy screw up his face and give you a big fat "EW!!!!"
And as extra insight to my thoughts, I wasn't a fan of the Katniss-Gale-Peeta love triangle much either. Loved the books though.
Wait - before someone takes me wrong, let me defend myself. I'm a normal human being with the same wants and needs of most normal people. Without being to personal, I have three grown children of my own. I like hugging and kissing as much as the next guy. Just not so much in my literature.
I will admit to introducing the idea of love in one of my series that will begin later this year. The Smith Chronicle, http://ealake.com/books/the-smith-chronicles/, has a somewhat one-sided love affair as part of its storyline. However, the love in that series comes late in the first book, like two-thirds of the way into it. And, it is very one-sided. To be more precise, without giving away too much, it remains one-sided well into the second book. And even then the male protagonist is still somewhat 'love neutral'.
If we're worried about our next meal, or living another day, or sleeping out in the cold tonight - we really won't have much time for romantic love I'm afraid. At least in the dystopia I create, that will be the case. In these novels, we create a story environment that feels gray at best, sometimes dark as night. People will tell you, "he's just not a romantic". Well, some of that may be true, some not so true. I'm not a cynic towards love, I think of myself as more of a realist.
There's room for romance everywhere in our world. Heck, the Romance genre is one of the largest out there. So who am I to second guess people. I just prefer to keep it to a minimum and as dark as the concept of WWIV.
Until we meet again, always keep filling your mind with greats books,