“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Julianna Baggot’s Dystopian Debut

By Julianna Baggott

Anybody who knows me or reads my blog knows that I am a huge fan of dystopias.  I loved Orwell’s 1984, but let’s face it – 1984 is ancient history at this point.  What I love in current sci-fi and YA fiction is the tremendous diversity that has exploded under the genre of dystopias.  We should really classify them separately in some way that keeps the same dystopia genre classification but separates for age.  That means reclassifying some of the current YA and sci-fi, but I think that this growing category deserves it.  As we outgrow Dewey, it will make sense down the line.

But I digress, what I am really writing about today is one of my favorite new dystopias by one of my long-time favorite authors, Julianna Baggott.  This is a new venture for Julianna who has written so many wonderful books from her wonderful books for junior readers and adults including under the name NE Bode (The Anybodies, The Nobodies, The Slippery Map), and The Prince of Fenway Park, under the name Bridget Asher (The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted, The Pretend Wife), and under her own name, The Madam, The Ever Breath, is in my opinion her finest book yet. Pure is set in a post-apocolyptic future.  It imagines a world where a few select individuals have been lucky enough to make it into the shelter of a self-sufficient bio-dome while the rest of the world has suffered under the siege of a massive arsenal of nuclear warheads.  Many were killed instantly.  Still others suffered slow deaths in the weeks following the siege.  The story is about those who became fused with bits of the environment and learned to survive dreaming of being saved one day by those living the perfect life in the dome…the Pures.

Julianna has really hit a home run with Pure.  Not only is her writing wonderful, but her story is complex, thought-provoking, and well-devised.  It takes a turn from history and runs it into a potential future that questions ethics while at the same time questioning our emotions and what is really important to the quality of humanity and life.

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