I know I am very behind the curve here, but the phenomenon of Hunger Games has completely missed me, both the books and the movies. I learned about them through social osmosis, probably in comments and articles around FtB, but I never paid it much attention and I never knew what it is about, except a vague feeling that it should be good and that there is some girl shooting a bow.
So because I needed a pause from listening to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series over and over again, and I also needed a rest, I bought an audio book of the first in the trilogy and listened to it these last few days, whilst trying to get rid of some damn virus trying to cook me in my skin.
The book is an excellent piece of storytelling, there is no doubt about it, I will not be able to resist and I will buy the rest of the trilogy as well. But had I known in advance what it is about, I probably would not have bought it, definitively not now. It shook me to the core. I was, and I still am, absolutely horrified.
That might seem odd, because I have read my share of books of all genres, from horrors to comedies, but I do not remember being moved this much by a book for quite a long time. It was not the deaths what has got to me. It was not the quite excellently portrayed psychology of an individual caught in a string of apparently lose-lose situations. It was not the story, that was pretty straightforward and to someone well read slightly predictable at times. It was the believability of it all what really got me.
There are simply too many parallels to societies like that one portrayed in the book throughout human history and even today.
Of people living in distinct caste-system that is impossible to escape from.
Of entire populations being worked to death and held on the brink of starvation for the benefit of an elite few.
Of totalitarian regimes where everyone is a subject to the whims of the powers that be.
Of people jeering and laughing at the suffering of those they perceive as lesser, as other, as subservient.
And we still are not in the clear. We might be heading towards societies just like that, again. The book might very well be an accurate prediction of a future mere hundred years from now. And that there was no suspense of disbelief needed makes everything in it much worse than it would be in an ordinary horror with magical or inhuman monsters. People can be the worst monsters, it seems to me.