Something's been going through my head for a while now, maybe as a kind of response or perhaps a deconstruction of dystopian YA novels. In dystopian YA novels there are two types of protagonists:
- the protagonist who loves the system and wants to be a part of it, finds out it's awful, and rebels against the system
- the Katniss Everdeen protagonist who never really fit in and was openly defiant from the start
These types of protagonists represent the ideal (usually female for some reason) teen hero that kids want: someone who can "revolutionize the world." (Utena-style.
). What we almost never see is the protagonist who makes the morally "wrong" choice, the choice I would actually make. The selfish protagonist who sees the way that the dystopian world works and decides to exploit it for their own gain, with all the potential consequences and fallout that would occur. Possibly the protagonist eventually realizes they're in the wrong and turns into something more like the first two, but first we actually see what would happen if someone accepted the "Join me and together we will rule the world" offer. We tell a very different (and possibly more political) type of YA story, closer to the adult Red Son than the Hunger Games.
I've been meaning to write this kind of story for a while now, and I have a (very complicated) world set up for it. But the thing is, I don't know if anyone but me would actually read it. The closest thing I've seen to what I'm getting at is Tally Youngblood from Uglies, and she's much less deliberate (and thus much more forgivable). Can people stand having a manipulative, arrogant, rational little **** as a YA dystopian novel protagonist? Would people be interested in the ethical, legal, and personal complications of being a celebrity but being celebrated for something you definitely aren't, and maintaining that impossible-to-attain public image? Would people want a YA novel in which the protagonist can
exploit the society, but to do so has to get around and bend to the whims of an unpredictable, megalomaniacal ****? Those are basically my thoughts.
I can also rant about the elevator mafia, the Hunger-Games-on-Eldritch-horror-crack leadup to this, and superconductors made from human emotions.