Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guest Author Post: Rosalie Lario

I have been reading the new novel from author Rosalie Lario entitled For Love of an Angel. I asked Rosalie to offer her insight on the craft of writing and was thrilled to receive the following article.  Please check out Rosalie's links and read the first chapter of her novel.  Comments and discussion are welcome!

What is it About Dystopian Fiction?

First off, I’d like to say thanks so much for hosting me on your site! Today I’m here to talk a little bit about dystopians.

Dystopian fiction features a nightmarish sort of world, often post-apocalyptic, wherein society has become repressive and controlled. It’s very popular in YA fiction (Hunger Games) and has also appeared in romance (Joss Ware’s Envy Chronicles). It can even contain paranormal elements (Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime, featuring government-created zombies).

So why is dystopian fiction so popular lately? Many people conjecture that during times of economic or societal stress (like we’ve had for the past several years), dystopians increase in popularity because they serve as a societal caution about what could happen if we continue down a certain path.

My new release, For Love of an Angel, isn’t dystopian in the traditional sense in that it features paranormal creatures. The angels on my world aren’t biblical creatures, but rather a race of beings from an alternate dimension who are forced into our world when the walls between the dimensions collapse. They convince humans to allow them ultimate rule over Earth in exchange for peace and security...the ultimate utopia. But in reality, their designs on Earth are far more sinister.

The heroes of my series are a group of angels, the Fallen, who seek to protect humankind. Because of this they have been cast out of their society and condemned to die. Read on for more:


In a world where angels rule over humans, twelve outcasts dare to defy expectation, warring with their angel brethren to prevent the extinction of humankind.

They are The Fallen...

Michael is one of twelve angels who have been outcast due to their determination to protect humankind. In order to preserve his immortality and strength, he must find a mate with angel blood. Eva Smyth has never believed the propaganda spouted by the Consortium—the elite system of guards put into place once angels took over reign of Earth—but she never expected to learn the angels plan to eradicate all of humankind, or that she herself is part angel. Joining Michael means living a life on the run, at war against the angels and hunted by the Consortium. Eva must decide whether to risk it all...for love of an angel.

You can read the first chapter here:

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For your readers, I’d love to know whether you enjoy dystopian fiction. If so, what is it about the subject that calls to you?


  1. Rosalie,

    I think that for me, and I am an avid reader of dystopian novels and watcher of dystopian film, it's because of a sense of foreshadowing. As you said in your post, dystopian settings give us a warning of what may come. Rather than picturing a wonderful future where people live in harmony, which is not likely, dystopian stories give us a sort of worst-case scenario picture of how things can be. No matter how bad things get in real life, we're still the pigs.
    ~Andrea (Forestaken)

  2. I find myself most attracted to the dystopian settings that involve the breakdown of
    society's rules and institutions. Settings where the sense of desparation is severe
    and palpable. A good example of this is Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." That's almost
    an extreme example of what I'm referring to, because there are so few people left at
    that point, but it's a great, great book. I think that part of the appeal of these
    settings for me may be that the lives of the characters are stripped bare in most cases.
    It's back down to the level of hunter-gatherer, basic survival. They aren't worried about
    board meetings and picking the kids up from school or whatever. They are worried about
    finding food to eat, finding shelter and safety, being as afraid of other people as they
    are afraid of anything else. I like settings that put people's human decency to the test.
    I loved very much the way that Christopher Meloni's character was handled in the film
    "Carriers" for example. I realize that I am using only post-apocalyptic scenarios in this
    response, but those are the ones that I find most appealing.

  3. Andrea - So true. I think dystopians can provide an important warning about what life could be like. The warning in my story was "Beware things that seem too good to be true." :-)

    Heavenztrash - Novels like the one you refer to are good because they remind us of the most basic things in life: the need to eat, to survive. Things we absolutely take for granted right now.

  4. I remember when I was a kid and I had a paper route. When there would be a heavy snowstorm overnight and I would be the first one up, walking along these silent streets lined with darkened houses, I would be wading through thigh-deep snow that was unbroken by man or beast -- I was, literally blazing a trail. During those times I could -- and always would -- imagine myself the last person in the city, or the world, alone, and my mind would run to wild scenarios that always ended with "What would I do?"

    I think that's what the author of a dystopian work is asking, in fine -- "What would you do?" It's easy enough to imagine yourself moral when you're comfortable in your living room or in your cubicle, but none of us can really know what we'd do if times got REALLY had in ways we can't even imagine. Dystopian works allow us to confront that, though vicariously, and make us wonder how we ourselves would react if things truly went to hell. I too prefer post-apocalyptic settings (that's one of my very favorite genres) but dystopian fiction in general seems to me to be about forcing the reader (or viewer) to confront the fragility of their comfortable world and, by extension, their comfortable ethics and morality.

  5. Hmm... That's a difficult question. I do enjoy a lot of scifi and such, and that includes a lot of the dystopian and post-apocalypse style of stories. Though in most cases I think I like them because of the ending, where you get someone succeeding despite all the obstacles and making some kind of difference, even if it's a small one. So I suppose I like them for the hope that as bad as things get, there's still a way to get through.

    Though I guess that doesn't apply if you're referring to the dystopian style where things don't get better somehow.

  6. I find a little dystopian fiction goes a long way. I read the first novel in the Hunger Games series. I've read a fair amount of Raymond Feist over the years. Then there are the ones I read in school - Animal Farm, Brave New World, 1984. But I guess my favorite is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

  7. Gregg, that's definitely the lure of dystopians. Imagining "what if".

    Chris, I actually prefer all my fiction to get better. Triumph over adversity is what drives my storylines too. I always say, if I want to be depressed, I'll read my bills. :-)

    Madcap Maggie, have you tried The Host by Stephanie Meyer? It was definitely an interesting read, if a bit long.

  8. Madcap Maggie: I LOVE Fahrenheit 451. It ends with hope and the fact that they are reducing the written word, taking that away from people, like in 1984, is very frightening for me. Those things are terrifying. The concept of Newspeak is something that is all too likely to happen.

  9. I'll be totally honest and say I'm not much if a fiction reader. I prefer to read books that I can have some form of reference to. However youve sold the ideas and set up of the story very well. So I find myself wanting to check it out.

    I personally think that Dystopian ideas in modern fiction work because as a society we've become so reliant on the idea that we could not survive with all our tech gadgets. Yet when we lose our phone for a day it can often be bliss.

    These ideas and fears are often about us confronting the fact that we have advanced to the point where we might be going backwards socially.

    Maybe a reset wouldn't be such a bad thing!

  10. Rosalie, this book is exactly what I like to read. I'll go check it out. :)

  11. Regarding popularity of the dystopian narrative, beyond cautionary reasons and kind of what Fozz is saying , I think there's also a primal urge for humans to "throw it all away and start all over." The individual him and herself is a complex being of both chemistry, physical being, and thoughts. Couple that with the complexity of interpersonal communication and interaction, then add to that place in the greater society with both the natural and man-made systems and physical artifacts, and it's no wonder that there are people who romanticize a time when things were simpler.

    Thanks for taking the time to guest blog here. I'm looking forward to reading the chapter you posted later after I get back from my dystopic job. :)

  12. So after reading over the article and the subsequent replies I feel like kind of a meat-head knuckle-dragger in saying that I enjoy the post apocalyptic genre (particularly in film) for the sheer visuals that it invites. Y'know, the 'purty pictures'. The well-realized post apocalyptic setting allows for a variety of 'elegant decay' that both acknowledges the original purpose a certain building/item/area served, as well as gives us an interesting re-interpretation of how it was evolved or re-purposed for use in a harsh new world. I'm thinking of more recent examples with films like The Book Of Eli and Doomsday off the top of my head, but obviously the choices abound.

    At any rate, I'm sure we're not going to see any shortage of this material in the future, which should keep my To-Watch Pile well stocked.

  13. I also like the "be careful what you wish for" ideas of a utopian society. Something like Huxley's Brave New World, Gilliam's Brazil, Orwell's 1984 or even the novel Utopia show the price one has to pay for what some might think of as perfection. I don't recall a lot of post apocalyptic stuff I've read being in the dystopian category, since they aren't really close to anything close to a utopia or even a society.
    Even The Sheep Look Up is very telling on a society that wastes lots, and wants lots.
    For Love of an Angel sounds quite intriguing since it deals with what I generally love about dystopia; the vile and questionable mechanics at maintaining a perfect society. Sounds like an interesting read.

  14. Dudefozz - I got a new Android phone last month that, ironically, worked for a week before breaking. It took several days for my new phone to come in. At first I didn't know what to do with myself, but then it got kind of relaxing. I didn't realize what a slave to my phone I've become!

    Ciara - Thanks for visiting me over here. :-)

    Rupan777- So true! Back when I worked at a law firm, all I ever did was dream about throwing it all away, LOL.

    Mob - Funny I never thought about it. There is a sort of beauty in scenes like that.

    Guitar Brother - There are definitely lessons to be learned in dystopian fiction!

  15. Priest had some of those beautiful scenes Mob was talking about. There is a scene where two main characters are sitting in a wasteland and one says to the other, "I remember looking at these strange structures and wondering what they had been used for, what did they used to be" (paraphrased of course) while all around them stand the leaning, fossilized hulks of skyscrapers.