This post isn’t really about The Hunger Games, and I’ve never read those books. I just mention it as an example to make my point further down.
So as if I weren’t depressed enough this week (and “depressed” is really an exaggeration. I’m more functional-normal-sad), Qorth got rejected by Ereader News.
I think there were plenty of legitimate reasons, though.
For one, they only take full length novels. Qorth is a novella (I didn’t read the fineprint).
For two, they hate erotica. Qorth has one explicit sex scene – gasp!
For three, they only like high quality covers. Qorth has an iffy cover at best.
But it was a rejection just the same. As hard as I’ve been working to put Qorth out there before it’s first free promotion, being denied by even one website puts a dent in my efforts.
So, being all sad, I went to the Wattpad forums to amuse myself. People on Wattpad seem to spend all their time shitting on YA fiction and mocking what teens like to read. This one guy gave a scathing description of YA science fiction, stating that most of it was about teenagers fighting evil and corrupt governments, because youngins misguidedly see society as an evil and corrupt force they must battle.
His/her comment made me think of not only Qorth but also The Thieves of Nottica, in which a group of underdog aliens have formed a professional thieving service in order to defy an on oppressive human government.
The problem with this opinion is that it handwaves the fact that the government isn’t looking out the best interests of the people and it is in fact a force to be reckoned with. Economic and social oppression is indeed a thing, my friends. Please stop acting like it’s just a gimmick for teenage fiction.
YA fiction – and all fiction – serves a dual purpose. The first purpose is entertainment. The second purpose is education. The Hunger Games are real. They are happening in every ghetto across the United States while people of color fight for resources – healthcare, food, money – that are otherwise denied to them whilst the guns and the drugs keep “magically” appearing in the ghettos, weapons that keep them divided and in jail “where they belong.”
Remember the Hunger Games controversy a few years back? When fans were shocked and indignant to discover a great deal of the characters were not white? They were then happy whenever characters of color died or they were relieved or they were angry that all the “good” characters turned out to be brown. And they were racist because they had been taught by our shitty society to be racist.
Apparently, YA novels still need these themes because institutional racism and the quiet dehumanization of people of color is still going on. Or otherwise, these fans would not have been angry, shocked, disgusted, and disappointed that their favorite characters were not white. They would not have been so appallingly unable to connect with brown characters as human beings just because they were brown.
YA fiction serves to educate young people about how fucked up the world is in the hope that, when they are grown, they will not repeat our mistakes. Watering that down to the paranoid fantasies of rebellious teenagers is not only ignorant but also elitist. As if YA fiction was all garbage or something?