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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins|
|Bought this yesterday, finished it last night. Was drawn to it because of the interest by my 24 year old son. |
IMO, one of the most wildly effective political books aimed at modern youth ever. And, this is great, fantastic news for Ayn Rand fans.
It's crystal clear depiction of heroic individuals in the face of an oppressive totalitarian state, literally fighting for their lives, couldn't have come at a better time for this nation.
That is is so widely embraced as a phenomenon among today's youth is among the most heartening political news I've heard in my lifetime.
It is reminiscent of the short story 'The Lottery', but that is just its start. It is set in a post-apocryphal America, a dystopic future after a future second civil war in which an oppressive out of all balance federalism has reaffirmed its death grip on the nation after subduing a second American revolution. An uprising by 13 'districts' -- economic zones in what is left of the nation, was in the past brutally subdued by the central government authority, with one of the districts still smoldering from the 'toxic weapon' used to quell the rebellion. In this dystopic future, the remaining economic zones live in absolute serfdom to the central 'Capitol' and its residents. In this future vision of unchecked centralized concentrated power, the difference between the 'haves and have-nots' is clealry associated with proximity to that central governmental power. The "Capitol" has been relocated to Colorado, to more centrally control the subservient economic districts, where life is spartan and brutal and hard, while in the Capitol, its residents live in unbounded prosperity.
As yearly proof of its dominance over the subservient economic districts, the Capitol requires, as part of the 'Treaty of Treason' which ended this second civil war, that the residents of each district via lottery deliver a young teenage male and female as 'tributes' to participate in 'The Hunger Games' -- a spectacular, Romanesque olympic-like competition death match to the final victor. The final victor then lives out the rest of their life as a local celebrity, free from want, among starving subjects-- a further reminder of the iron-like grasp that the central Capitol holds over the districts.
The heroine of the story is 16 year old Katniss, from the Appalachian/coal mining '12th District.' Her father died in a mining accident when she was young, and she has been providing for her family for years, mainly by illegally hunting beyond the barbed wire fence that surrounds her community. At the annual lottery, when her much younger sister is chosen for the female tribute, Katniss rebels-- under the law-- and invokes her right to volunteer to the the tribute, taking her younger sister's place.
Her only chance to survive is to prevail at The Hunger Games.
This story succeeds in painting totalitarianism and massively centralized federal power for what it is. It succeeds in a wildly popular fashion which is currently sweeping America's youth. It has slipstreamed behind the popularity of the Harry Potter and Twilight series, and is being devoured by young Americans.
The spin has already started. A recent article in Parade describes the story as "What sets the trilogy apart is Collin's willingness to take on big issues: war, power, sacrifice, personal ethics, the haves vs. the have nots, and the dangerous nature of our increasingly voyeuristic society."
... glaringly cleansed of the enabling dominant 'Capitol' and its totalitarian grip on the nation!
The success of this series (there are three books in the Trilogy, The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay)is tasting like ashes in the mouth of the Left, precisely because of its can't miss it anti-totalitarian message, of heroic individuals facing down an oppressive state run amok. And for Parade to conveniently omit the little detail that the difference between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' is uniquely identified in this novel as access to the central power of the Capitol is glaring; they need to spin this, and soon, because a nation of kids reading this story is not going to be soon signing up to be the Red Dawn of any new Vanguard.
It is going to be broad success and appeal of stories like this that finally put the Dead in Red.