Monday, August 31, 2015

The Burden of Fiction, Survivors and Revolutionaries

Every so often you will hear someone say something to the extent of, ugh, in every dystopian it always turns out that the lead character is possessed of whatever magical combination of luck, skill, secret power, and/or timing that leads to them being the perfect person to overthrow the system.  Why can't we read a story about someone else?
Well, the short version is that fiction is about people who do things.  I could write a story about Princess Leia's best friend who just you know, lived her life on Alderaan until one day her planet blew up and um, yeah, that is not a story. Now, there are exceptions to everything.  And if I ever write a dystopian it probably would be about someone on the fringe.  Partly because a lot of the time, I'm really fascinated with what happens after.  What do the people who went to high school with Peeta and Katniss do now that their whole world has been upended?  But again, it would need more to be a story. 
We've all heard the saying about history is written by the victors, and in light of this Nazi romance book people have been having discussions in various places about what it would take for someone to say, oh a great hero would be a high up SS officer who fell in love with a cute blond Jewish woman.  So, tossing to the side the issues of power imbalance and consent (which are large) but the point was made (and my tumblr only works on one of my devices these days so I apologize that I can not correctly link back) that a lot of people experience the Holocaust through fiction (and yes, this also applies to other genocides and atrocities) and so it is easy to thing about the strong, wonderful, lucky people who made it through and forget that those people were the minority. And that that might be the insidious thing that lets you think, well, a fresh take would be to look at this conflict from the other side. 
I say this as someone who loves reading romances, and enjoys World War II fiction a lot, but not every story lends itself to romance.  And yes, I realize I have once again compared, "Star Wars", dystopian, and WWII fiction.