20 Reasons Why You Love Reading Dystopian Novels

Do you love reading dystopian novels? Why do you choose to be entertained by dark worlds where it’s kill or be killed? For that matter, why do I write dystopian stories? I have pondered those questions. In my research, I didn’t go to the psychiatrists and academic sites to find out why. I went to the readers.

20 reasons why we love dystopian novels

20 Reasons Why We Love Dystopian Novels

  1. They feel honest because we know politicians, military people, and corporate moguls are capable of doing awful things. Dictatorship, revolution, and counterrevolution usually cause severe physical and psychological damage to the victims and other participants. 
  2. We admire the best dystopian novels because they’re written well and depict people we can relate to.
  3. It fascinates us how some characters react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation to the terrible situations they face.
  4. As readers, we rubberneck to see the misery; we can’t avert our eyes even as we’re enraged by what despots and other vicious officials are doing to citizens. We wonder if rebels and other members of the populace can somehow remake a wretched society into something more positive.
  5. The questions of who will survive and who won’t keep us reading. 
  6. We might feel a little against-all-odds hope.
  7. Sometimes we hope that our current society can be jolted enough to avoid the dystopia in real life.
  8. Facing reality is inevitable.
  9. We read and think, the world could be a lot worse.
  10. Dark visions help us to make sense of our own increasingly unrecognizable country or world. A well-told narrative, truthful or not, can awaken a reader’s imagination and push them to action—and a neat dystopia is often more satisfying than a complicated truth.
  11. Readers of dystopian novels love humans and their nature to fit in even if it means putting on a mask and pretending that they’re okay.
  12. We love how most people have somewhat free will in a dystopian novel and make choices to not act based on fear or to act despite fear.
  13. Inspired by a facet of reality, dystopian novels expand and explore things that fascinate us.
  14. We love reading books that encourage awareness and how they can be an avenue of discovery, education, and discussion.
  15. A dystopian society is an open invitation for readers to analyze and pinpoint why. 
  16. It gives us hope that we can control or resolve the dark and turbulent times in our own lives.
  17. Reading dystopian novels allows us to reflect on our current world and understand the pitfalls that we need to avoid becoming a degenerate society.
  18. The best dystopian novels have vividly described settings.
  19. We love it because it opens our eyes to the way that one person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia.
  20. Dystopian novels feature protagonists we love. We love these less-than-perfect characters shaped by their situation into strong, active protagonists resisting dark forces.

Do you love to read dystopian novels? If you haven’t yet, download my Dystopian Reading List with more than 200 dystopian titles.

More than 200 novels listed. Yours free when you sign up for my newsletter.

I would love it if you let me know how many of them you’ve read. Did I include all the novels you love? If not, shoot me an email. I’ll add it to the next version of the list.

Did one of these 20 reasons why we love dystopian novels touch one the reasons you love to read them? What can you add to this list?

A Novel Announcement

And the Story Behind the Story

Recently I realized I’ve never made the official novel announcement here. News I shared several weeks ago on Facebook and Twitter, but not here. (For those of you who’ve seen Facebook or Twitter you’ll like the story behind the story.) My novel, My Soul to Keep, went live as an ebook on August 21st. It is now also available as a paperback book on Amazon. Other retailers can order it from Ingram.

A novel announcement for My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows
Click on the image for more about My Soul to Keep and see the new cover

What’s the Story?

This dystopian tale takes place in 1961, but America is not the nation you know. It’s an insular land of righteousness, repression, and fear.

Drawn into a maelstrom of political intrigue, familial deception, and social upheaval two women, one peaceful and the other violent, seek truth and justice. To find the truth they will have to make sacrifices.

Triumph will free them and the nation.

Failure will mean a face-off with the angel-assassin, Azrael.

How A Nice Girl Wrote A Dystopian Novel

You might wonder how “a nice girl like” me came to write a dystopian novel.

I moved seventeen times before I graduated from high school. No, neither parent was in any armed service. Seventeen different homes, seventeen different schools. Can you imagine a more hostile environment? Neither can I which is why I am uniquely qualified to write a dystopian novel.

The Real Story

When I was struggling to find the right vehicle for the story, My Soul to Keep. I knew early on that incest would be a big part of the novel. I tried writing a fantasy with dragons. I tried writing a realistic, contemporary novel. I even tried to write it with aliens in the story. But the truth is, I cannot imagine a more dystopian society than the one with family units where a child is abused. When I created the dystopian alternate history and wrote the story, Miranda came alive.

If you’ve been reading this blog from it’s beginning you know that I once had nightmares like my character. My nightmares were far less clear than Miranda’s. I believe that I was sexually abused but I have no actual memory to support that and I have no proof. So having Miranda search for her truth was a natural extension of the story. But, that also mired the story in too much of my own fears and uncertainties. It took a while to get clarity personally and in the story.

I credit my mentor, William F. Wu, for a lot of that clarity. He indulged me in long rambling emails. He encouraged me to think about this or that in reference to a particular scene or theme. But he never tried to shape my story or my characters. He helped me realize the structure that existed in the mess of words I’d written. Encouraged me to trim the fat and expose my truths. That kind of mentor is worth so much more than a thank you.

When I decided to create a religious tyranny I drew on my past (granddaughter of a Baptist minister on one side and of a Nazarene Deacon on the other). And I researched many other religious traditions, choosing this bit and that. The hardest part was trying to decide how such a tyranny came about in America. I decided to expand on a dark time in American history, the isolationist period. At the time I was developing the novel this darker America seemed a far stretch. I had no idea that in the real world, America was going to take another dark turn. I should have guessed. Ideas, good and bad, cycle through history again and again.

A Happy Author

It’s an odd and exciting feeling to finally have a published book. There are so many firsts that it’s somewhat overwhelming. And it’s not the last. Watch for a new look to this website and sample chapters will be available. In my soon-to-be-released Burrows Insiders newsletter, there will be more announcements and some sneak peeks at a couple of new works-in-progress. 

My undying thanks to the people who have read My Soul to Keep and posted reviews. I’m delighted that the book has received 5 stars from all who’ve reviewed or rated it so far. If you have read it, please take the time to leave your honest review. Every review helps get the book noticed, even if you didn’t enjoy the novel. It’s “make an author happy day.” If you haven’t bought your copy—help a girl out, won’t you? 

Buy My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows from Walmart

My Soul to Keep is, in a way, an intensely personal story and yet, it isn’t my story at all. Miranda grew to be her own kind of character doing things I’d never attempt. The world is one I wouldn’t want to live in, yet it helped me explore ideas that I needed to explore. One of my readers said, “The growth Miranda achieves in her journeys empowers her to take action to change the world around her and do things she never would have thought herself capable of in the beginning of the book – a message I hope I can take to heart.” I couldn’t ask for more.