Thoughtful Thursday: Collaborative Cliché — YA Dystopian Adventure Edition!

It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché!

It seems like YA dystopian adventure stories may have run their course, and that’s a shame because they had so much to offer. There was the powerful, special teen. There were angsty love triangles, powerless parents, corrupt political systems and evil, cruel leaders. There was some vague catastrophe in the past, and so on. Usually there’s a big wall somewhere.

Well, the stories may have ebbed to a trickle but that doesn’t mean we can’t play with the tropes. I’ll start us off. Then it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.


Colly pushed down her feelings of dread as she took her boyfriend Kale Russo’s hand and sat next to him. It was time for the Choosing, which came around every three years. The Incisor from the capital province of Fava was here with the spinning cage, the balls and a contingent of Fava soldiers.  Each flimsy white ball had a teen’s name on it. Colly looked around. All the kids aged twelve to eighteen were here. Kale squeezed her hand reassuringly.

At some point before Colly had been born, some catastrophe had reduced the flow of content streaming, especially to the outer provinces, like Fieldgreens and Brassica. Brassica, Colly’s home, was the poorest province and Colly had given up even trying to watch shows now. Rumors were that in the capital and its neighbors, Lettuce and Cucumber, people could stream content to any device anywhere, all the time.

The outer provinces were not so lucky, but every three years, the Incisor came and chose two tributes from each province, who battled in a gladiatorial arena. The last teen standing won a year of free broadband for their province.

In front of her, Brock Lee turned and glanced back. He winked. Colly disliked Brock. His family had more money than hers did. He was annoying, with his height and his muscled arms, nice glutes, his green eyes, his mischievous smile and even the way he smelled. So annoying, and it wasn’t sexual attraction she felt for him. It wasn’t. Colly shook her head. She would never be separated from her beloved Kale.

The balls rattled in the spin cage and the Incisor reached in and drew out the first name. “Colly Flour,” she said. When Kale threw his arms around Colly, the Incisor snapped her fingers at the soldiers. “Separate those two.”

She spun the cage again as Colly, head held high, walked down between two masked soldiers.

“Second Tribute, Brock Lee. Okay, let’s wrap this up. Give ‘em ten minutes to say good-bye to their families, then escort them to the transport vehicle.”


Your turn. Chime in. Make it angsty, make it emo, and most of all, make it dystopian. One random commenter with a USA address will win a book from our Stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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13 comments

  1. John Smith /

    “The Fava bean harvest has been decimated by the Loprolo gnat swarms, there are never any good programs any more, and we’re expected to provide our governing elite with their sick, blood-soaked entertainment?,” asked Colly.

    “Colly, sweetie, be cool, I have this in the bag,” said Brock.

    Kale was not impressed by the showboating. “We’re all so impressed, Brock. You’ll look so cool after you win a trophy, and they still end up feeding you to a Garinthian snare-worm!”

  2. “You know, not all of us are going to survive this,” said Brock.

    “Obviously,” said Colly as she searched for Kale.

    “You don’t have to spend your last hours of life with a loser,” he replied.

    “Thanks for the advice. I’ll make sure to avoid you at all costs!” Colly said still not looking at Brock.

    “Why do you have to be difficult? Kale will probably die first!”

    Colly spun around and glared into those sparkling emeralds. “And, that is why you’ll die alone!” Colly turned around again and stretched over the remaining cages. She couldn’t locate Kale anywhere. “If Brock was so good at everything, then how did ‘he’ manage to get selected as a tribute?” she thought to herself.

  3. Noneofyourbusiness /

    “You’ll never find him,” the grizzled old janitor mopping in the corner called to Colly. “Your boyfriend was making such a ruckus, they took him to Tickle Torture. Even if he lives, no one’s ever the same again!”

    Seeing Brock’s smirk, she decked him, and a pair of guards immediately came to break it up.

  4. Jonathan /

    The guards hauled her in front of First Citizen Rose. “You can trust me to tell you the truth,” he said. “You represent everything I’ve worked so hard to crush beneath my heel. Why would I ever lie to you?”

  5. Susan Emans /

    Colly looked Rose square in his evil, squinty eyes and said, “We all know you lie. We all know you falsely accuse people of crimes and make them disappear even though your own regulations are the only thing choking content streaming. But it doesn’t matter. We know. We all know. And we will stop you!”

    (I’m so sorry. Not only have I not read or watched any of the better known YA dystopian stories, I really don’t like them. *rofl*)

  6. Lady Morar /

    “She knows nothing,” First Citizen Rose thought to himself. “Even the resistance doesn’t have the first idea that the true source of my immortal power is the machine that converts lies into longevity!”

  7. Susan Emans /

    “As long as the fools get their daily quota of kitten videos, they’ll never organize to overthrow us.”

  8. The Distinguished Professor /

    Little did First Citizen Rose know that, thanks to the genetically modified foodstuff being slipped into their diet by secret resistance agents, his kittens were planning a revolution of their own.

    “Thank you so much!” said Kale to the brave band of kittens who had rescued him on his way to the Tickle Torture chamber. The guards’ backs were pressed against the wall, their skin covered in scratches like a quilt, their hands over their faces to shield them from further damage. “Now we must get back to Colly and help her!”

  9. Sethia /

    Little did the kittens know that Colly was actually First Citizen Roses daughter and had a litter of polydactyl kittens of her own!

  10. Noneofyourbusiness, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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