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My love of dystopian worlds springs from two diverse sources. First, I was a child in the 80s, when we lived with the constant fear from nuclear stockpiling and the cold war. In grade school, they actually showed us films on what we should do if the bomb dropped. There were also drills, where we huddled beneath our desks in the event our enemies let one fly. Which always seemed so pointless, as if a school desk could possible help in that situation. It seemed to me, however, that dystopians had amply explored the possibility of nuclear annihilation, and so I set out to look at a future altered by biological weapons, chemical plagues and a kind of covert, insidious warfare, where it's almost impossible to find an enemy to fight. Something in the water? The air? An agent that changes people or kills them or both? I don't imagine it would take long, under such circumstances, for the collapse to begin
Enclave is dark and gritty, definitely survival of the fittest. It's very much tooth and claw, but in the underground tribes, I created a world that could be based on order rather than chaos, such as you see in Lord of the Flies. However, like in Orwell's 1984, too much order can become oppressive, and when we first meet Deuce in Enclave, her society has definitely reached that tipping point. The rules have become self-perpetuating, and without analysis, they quickly become obsolete because theirs is a world that required constant attention to detail. In the beginning, the elders were good at this, inventing new strictures to dovetail with their shifting circumstances. But eventually, they lost sight of the purpose behind the rules and they became important for their own sake, disconnected from external circumstance. In a society like this one, free thought is certainly discouraged. Each citizen has a role to play, and they are expected to offer unquestioning obedience for the good of the collective.
Not surprisingly, the center cannot hold, and things have begun to fall apart at the start of the book. I found it helpful to have an outsider in the enclave, someone who doesn't believe all the propaganda. Fade stays because it is prudent, not because he's been fully indoctrinated. Therefore, he serves as a wedge between Deuce's lifelong beliefs and the injustice she cannot ignore. He's certainly invaluable as a catalyst, and he's necessary to the widening of the heroine's world view. He's also a pretty delicious love interest. *g*
Topside, the world is inverse from down below. There are no rules. The strong inflict their will on the weak, whatever that should be. Some readers have said the gangs are more terrifying than the Freaks because they are still human, even with all their cruelty and savagery. I do share that point of view, and it's one of the themes of the trilogy--man's capacity for monstrous behavior.
Five Ways To Survive Topside (If Only Deuce Was Following The Rules)
Follow the rules. [She doesn't]
Don't go Topside. [She does.]
Never leave the enclave, except on patrol. [To be fair, they don't give her much choice on this one.]
Don't get attached to your partner. [Fade is irresistible, who can blame her?!]
Show no weakness. [She has too much compassion to be a good Huntress... or so she thinks.]
I have a rather fantastic trailer than you can check out; it shows the world pretty accurately: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mP5uIJ1H08
- Ann Aguirre
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