I’m excited to bring you this guest post from the author of Flicker and Mist, Mary G. Thompson! See below the book and giveaway details for Thompson’s response to a question about the changing (or consistent) role of dystopian fiction in our current society.
About the Book:
Title: FLICKER AND MIST
Author: Mary G. Thompson
Pub. Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Romance, intrigue, and plenty of action are woven into a rich and suspenseful narrative in this powerful YA fantasy. The mixed-race heroine Myra is a Flickerkin and can flicker (become invisible) at will. She hasn’t cultivated or revealed this ability, since Flickerkin are persecuted as potential criminals and spies. When invisible people become tricksters and then murderers, Myra’s Flickerkin heritage becomes a deadly secret, putting her relationship with the leader’s son—and her own life—in jeopardy. Loyalties shift and difficult choices are made before Myra understands who she wants to be.
Mary G. Thompson was raised in Cottage Grove and Eugene, OR. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, including almost five years in the US Navy, and is now a law librarian in Washington, DC. She received her BA from Boston University, her JD from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School.
3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of FLICKER AND MIST, US Only. Click HERE to enter!
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Question: How do you feel the role of dystopian fiction changing in our current society?
This is an interesting question because I didn’t see Flicker and Mist as dystopian. I have always described it as high fantasy. But I can see why some people view it that way, since the government led by the Deputy is certainly problematic.
In my view, the role of dystopian fiction, at least in YA, has been to provide hope. Characters face overwhelming odds and terrible evil, and yet they are able to overcome. Dystopian books emphasize the importance of individual action even in situations where it might seem impossible for one person to make a difference. I don’t think that role has changed. People need to believe more than ever that they can effect positive change.
When it began to seem more and more likely that Trump would become president, I thought about the villain I’d created in Flicker and Mist. The Deputy is evil. He’s racist and sexist and oppresses and tortures people. But he’s doing these things for reasons that make sense to him and for reasons that he perceives as altruistic. He thinks he’s protecting his people. Of course, I started writing this back in 2013, and I never imagined that here in the US liberals would be looking back on George W. Bush fondly. I wrote this book hoping to not fall into the trap of creating a mustache-twirling, unrealistic villain, and now that caricature seems a whole lot more realistic.
Having said that, I think there’s still room for a more nuanced message of hope. There is more than one way to topple a dystopia both in fiction and in real life. In Flicker and Mist, I emphasize the importance of each individual life. When one character is killed, it really matters. People on both sides want to avoid a war because they know that each life that will be lost is precious. In that way, perhaps, the message is aspirational. But I believe it is still possible for people like the Deputy to change, if not their deep seated prejudices, then at least their actions. And it’s possible for people like Myra, those who don’t have much official power, to be instrumental in changing society for the better.
Is there still room for dystopian fiction when we might be living inside a dystopia soon? Yes! There’s still room for hope. Real society, like fictional society, can change for the better—if we all believe it’s possible for us to take action. Dystopian fiction tells us that yes, we can.