Create your own teen dystopia!

So rumors are that this whole teen dystopia thing has almost run its course, just as the whole teen vampire thing did. Who knows what’s next? But before we bid a fond farewell to the genre that gave us The Hunger GamesDivergentMatchedUglies, and the granddaddy of them all (or grandmother, depending if one goes by author or character) — The Giver, how about we raise a glass, or a salute for you teetotalers/under-agers, in honor of those teen dystopias that almost but didn’t quite make it (as few as there were, apparently).

Say, Pockmarked the Stars, where the population is segregated by one’s proclivity to acne, with the worst cases forced into mining far-off planets, until one teen unravels the hypocrisy that lies at the core (or is that pore) of it all — a hidden cache of Clearasil handed out only to the elite. One of whom she loves. She thinks:

Pockmarked the Stars

Pockmarked the Stars

Or maybe Lichen-Crime. For centuries now, or at least years, the government has banned the word “like” from spoken vocabulary, has made it a crime to speak or even write it, even in its oddly bastardized form meant to show the long passage of time. Lessa Tarn has always abided by the rules of her oppressive society. But when an enigmatic dark-eyed dark-haired dark-dressed boy named Dark enters her world, it does not take long for her to commit the first lichen-crime in centuries. Or at least days. And then it begins to spread. Like lichen.

What other wonderful teen dystopias did we miss, readers? Tell us below. The creator of the teen dystopia we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.


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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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14 comments

  1. The trilogy Frothy, Foamy and Dry; in a dystopian future,barista jobs are held by a handful of powerful Coffee families, and most of the population drags itself along on a caffeine deficit, forced to settle for highly sugared carbonated drinks that rot their teeth. Kona and her guy-friend Peaberry are thrust into a scheme to free the sentient espresso machines and bring coffee drinks back to everyone.

  2. Michael Healy /

    Many years in the future humanity has been driven to near extinction by our natural predators vampires and werewolves. Not by over hunting, no they have killed us off by seducing several generations of humans into inter breeding. Now the remaining pure humans live in camps controlled by the monsters taking their best efforts to keep their food supply alive.

    With the aid of her illegal vampire boyfriend a young girl escapes her camp. Armed only with cryptic directions, a pair of false fangs and a her wits she tries to make her way cross country to find her lost little sister. Along the way she meets a brooding vegan werewolf who tempts her.

    Camp Bloodbank

  3. Brad Hawley /

    I have no long-lost story to add at the moment. I’ll have to think about it. But I am laughing very hard at these four solid ones. I, like, particularly like, like, Lichen-Crime!

  4. Vojislav Stojković /

    Here’s an idea I was hoping to write as a short story called “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue”. It’s set in the world where humans coexist with vampires.

    The vampires are second-class citizens, subjugated by humans and forced to live in ghettos. Despite having longer life span, better reflexes and super-human strength and resiliency, vampires have serious weaknesses that have allowed humans to assert dominance, namely the need for blood as sustenance, the weakness to UV radiation and the severe allergy to allicin (the organic compound that gives fresh garlic its aroma). The human oppressors control the vampire populace through strict rationing of blood and sunblock and through use of weaponized allicin.

    Since vampire strength and agility depends on the kind of blood they consume, an black market has developed for use of human blood as a potent, illegal and extremely addictive vampire drug. Among vampires, the animal blood is called “red”, whereas the human blood is called “blue”.

    My idea for the story is to explore the themes of addiction and the use of drugs for enslavement and subjugation, told through the eyes of twin vampire sisters Rose and Violet. Rose manages to gets a prestigious job as a special operative in a human black-ops agency (CIA or its equivalent), a job most vampires aspire to. Violet, on the other hand, gets addicted to “blue”.

    My inspirations for this idea have been the novella “Flashback” by Dan Simmons (although I heard he turned it into a novel later) and the way elves are treated in the Dragon Age video games.

    I must admit to feeling ambivalent about posting my idea here, but I have long since realized that there’s a great gulf between a good idea and a successful realization of that idea. I hope I’ll have time, inspiration and skill to write this story (or even a novella) at some point. If someone beats me to it, then at least I’ll have the satisfaction of reading another interesting story.

  5. Clare’s new neighbor, Ryan, might be the sexiest geek she’d ever met, but his prediction that she held the secret to saving the world from certain destruction was crazy. She didn’t have time for the end of the world right now, not with the prom coming up and all the new spring nail polish colors to sort. Priorities, people.

    Zeb, the star quarterback had made it clear she was to be his date even though he hadn’t actually gotten around to asking. And now Ryan wanted her to set aside shopping to visit some arcane temple in the middle of the night to retrieve a precious object? Sure, she liked gems as much as the next gal, but if he wanted to sway her with presents, he could retrieve the orb himself. It wasn’t that she was afraid of midnight assignations, and with the muscles Ryan sported it was obvious he knew how to take care of himself even if the rumors about his heritage weren’t true. But then Zeb’s sister disappeared and Ryan offered to help find her. Well, now what? If he went traipsing off after Scarlett, he wasn’t going to have much time for her, and Zeb had become completely distracted by all the people disappearing and the strange creatures roaming the night. This end of the world thing was getting in the way of everything.

    *Fine.* She would go get the orb. She had no choice because if the prom were cancelled that really would be the end of the world.

    • I would read this. Tell me you’ve published it.

      • You are so funny! Absolutely not! :>) I don’t think I’ve written a heroine who even wears nail polish, and I *know* I haven’t written any love triangles. If I wrote this novel, she’d have a lot of comeuppance coming along and she’d have to fight to win her man. I can see a string of long muddy treks in her future as she is forced to leave behind her pampered life…

  6. Maria, 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!

    And, we want to read this! :)

  7. Michael Froiland /

    THE REVIVAL
    Set in the distant future, humanity has evolved past the age of technology. Through many years of turmoil and persecution, the human race has realized the folly of it’s heavy reliance on technology. As the need for newer, faster and better computers and phones grew more and more prevalent, the major tech companies turned to violence and terrorism in their quest to procure more servers and bandwidth to propagate their product. As the violence spread from corporate sabotage and hits to the massacre of competitor’s customers, a brave few dared to revolt. Through decades of hard work and bloodshed, a small group of less than socially relevant teen authors grew into an army of super intelligent, anti-tech nerds. These nerds, through the use of the very thing they despise most, manage to fight fire with fire and rid the world of digital communication and computing technologies. Before doing away with technology completely, the founding members of the revolution (The Group) decide to create a weapon to ensure the the balance of power is able to be controlled. With technology banned, and the populace happy to be free of the tyrannous tech companies, and peace restored, The Group has ushered in an era of revival for word in print. As more books are written, crime rates begin to wane, emphasis on education and the arts soar, and the children of the tech warlords swear to destroy everything. This ushers in the coordinated attacks on major publishing companies. Somehow, the New Warlords manage to locate their ancestral stashes of tech. We are talking tablets, laptops, cellphones and the means to establish networks of information. Because of this influx in technology, the warlords are able to coordinate their attacks deviously against “the group.” Little do the warlords know, through the use of nano technology and before the rise of The Revival, The Group was able to create special ink cartridges for their typewriters, NanoInk, that allows the author to assume the powers of whatever character they are writing at the time. Little does The Group know, there is a traitor among the ranks. The Group must suit up with their NanoInk and try to put an end to The Warlords once and for all. Betrayal, violence and the spread of supernatural creatures leads The Group down a very treacherous path, leaving only one founding member alive to finish the war. This is The Master Smith. With his masterful command of written word, the Master Smith must rally the troops of new recruits for one last battle to decide the fate of the human race.

    • Michael Froiland /

      Wishing I would have had a couple proof reads before I posted. Yes I see the holes in the plot and have a way to fix them. pffff…..

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