Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Guest Post: Jason Letts + Suspense

Today I've got young adult author Jason Letts assuming control of Supernatural Snark to give us the rundown of his top 5 favorite Dystopian tales. The first novel in his new Dystopian trilogy, Suspense, is currently available so be sure and check it out! I'll just hand the blog over to Jason now to explain his choices, he's picked some amazing books and films!


In these days of economic turmoil and hardship, we seem to be increasingly turning our attention to the future for our entertainment, hoping to catch glimpses of what the world might be like for ourselves and our children when we’re older.

But it doesn’t seem to be enough that we’re looking at the future. We want it to be strange, disturbing, and awe-inspiring. We cast our eyes to the future and wonder what it would be like if everything we knew now ended up being turned upside down. Then we want to know how the world could transform like that, not only to better understand where we are now but to take a little bit of comfort that there’s still time for us to save ourselves, if only we would try.

Let’s take a look at some of the dystopian stories that have most gotten under our skin and try to figure out why they are so appealing.


There are plenty of stories about kids running around killing each other before, but The Hunger Games gives us something different. In addition to a compelling, dangerous heroine, the public aspect of her rise and the revolution she causes puts us firmly in her corner. There’s never a dull moment, and it makes us realize the safety and security we have now is something we usually take for granted.


This is one of those movies that has gone under the radar for some people but was actually pretty stunning. In the future, psychics are able to predict crime before they happen, meaning you could be arrested for something you hadn’t even thought about doing. Scary stuff, and then there’s the cool computer screen he gets to play around with. Why don’t we have that yet???


It’s hard to imagine what the world was like before the concept of evil, intelligent robots became popular. But once this movie came out, it was hard to avoid the possibility that robots could somehow overcome humanity and take over the earth. Movies like The Matrix followed, further forcing us to admit we could be defeated by something of our own creation. And it doesn’t help that people are so squishy compared to robots either.


But a couple decades later we decided that in the future robots might not be so bad after all. In fact, they might be cute, helpful, and bumbling, like Wall-E here. Even if something bad happens to the Earth, at least we can take comfort knowing that little robots like these will be around.


George Orwell gave birth to the Dystopian genre with his masterpiece, 1984. Even though that year has come and gone, we’re still plenty creeped out by the idea of a secret organization watching our every move and forcing us to behave like little worker ants. Essentially, Dystopian stories are about breaking free, though Big Brother doesn’t give up his grip easily. I’ll also add that this story has a really impressive love story intertwined within it, something that certainly lasts in the popular YA Dystopian novels coming out today.

But if there’s one thing Orwell couldn’t have guessed, it’s that now and in the future we all play the role of Big Brother for each other. On social networks like Facebook or Twitter, we’re all watching each other’s every move and at the same time allowing ourselves to be watched. In Suspense, there’s the impulse to share every thought that comes into your head and messages from Connect are always appearing right in front of your eyes. Being watched can be a matter of life or death, and it’s a constant struggle to hold onto your identity when little pieces of it are bouncing around outside of your control.

Lastly, I’d like to send out a huge thank you to Jenny for providing me with this space! Supportive people like you are what makes writing worthwhile, and I hope you have plenty of great books to read as the temperatures drop and the holiday season approaches. Thanks so much!

You're so very welcome Jason, I'm happy to have you on anytime! More information on Jason and Suspense (recommended for YA readers ages 16+) can be found here:

Barnes and Noble

Book 2 in this series, Expense, has just released as well and can be found below:

Barnes and Noble


Spencer Nye can’t control the rage bubbling under her skin over the world around her. The trouble is, by the year 2102, the world has solved most of its great problems. Without hunger, war, greed, or even money, people obsess over the glamour of the Culture Industry and its mega-celebrity Idols, who vie for followers over the social networks of Connect.

But Spencer discovers there is plenty to fix within the Idols’ competition for more popularity. She becomes a diehard and promises to do anything to help her Idol, a dreamy movie star named Cleary Mintz, bring his vision of hope and purpose to the world. When she stumbles onto a threat against his life, she’ll have to fight harder than she ever thought possible or lose the man who means more to her than any other.


  1. Great post. Have to admit that 1984 was my first dystopian novel and I have love the genre ever since. Will definitely have to read Suspense it sound awesome!

  2. Yes times a million to The Hunger Games for sure! It's one of my favourites of all time! And I LOVE that Wall-E is up there too -- it was such a sweet and adorable movie. I actually think I might've almost cried when I was watching it! LOL x)

    Awesome guest post, Jason! I think I'm going to have to find out about those other dystopians, and I definitely need to read yours! :)

  3. I've read a few reviews of this one, and it sounds like a very interesting read. The cover reminds me of The Hunger Games. I love dystopian novels.

  4. Jan - I actually haven't read 1984 *head desk* It wasn't one on our reading list for school so I never got to it, but I really need to pick it up now:)

    Mimi - I adore the Hunger Games!!!! I can't get enough of that series:) And Wall-E. I totally cried during that movie. He was just so darn cute.

    Mrs. Q - I love dystopians too:)

  5. Great post! I admit I've never seen Minority Report, but I plan on doing so now. I love the hidden hope in dystopia...the secret belief that no matter how bad it gets, a little good will always survive.

  6. Wow great post. I loved Minority Report, and Wall-e, and also some of the terminator movies. This book sounds great too! I might have to give a copy away this month because it is dystopian month on my blog. I plan on having some dystopian posts reading a bunch of dystopian books as well :)

  7. I would have to add The Stand and Enclave but take out Minority Report and 1984 (don't hate me but I am one of the few that really don't get that book)

  8. So I LOVED Minority Report. My and my little sister were obsessed with it. Even now it intrigues me. Although, it's actually a little depressing. Sidenote: I want Katniss's boots in the first picture. Because apparently that has everything to do with great dystopians. LOL! Love you, Jenny! :D

  9. BJ - Minority report is really good! Usually those types of movies don't appeal to me, but I loved it:) And, like Jason pointed out, his screen is pretty cool.

    Laura - Me too:) I can't wait to see what you think of all the dystopians you plan to read!

    Felicia - Enclave is a great one, I really enjoyed it:) I need Outpost immediately! I've never read 1984 so I have no idea if it would work for me or not.

    Jen - Yay! Such a good movie:) The hubs and I watch it every time it's on TNT. And obviously fashion and dystopians go hand in hand ;-)

  10. The Adjustment Bureau was such a lame rip off of 1984...I don't know why I'm mentioning that, but hehehe

    The Hunger Games blew my mind. It's sad to think about how cruel people and societies can be to other people.

    I'll be back! *puts on sunglasses*

  11. Awesome examples! I'm really looking forward to reading 'Suspense' as well. =)

  12. Thanks so much for the comments, everyone! Yeah, 1984 can be one of those intimidating literary works, but I was surprised about how accessible it was. But like any book it's very possible for people not to like it.

    I can completely sympathize with crying during Wall-E. I'll tell you though that Up always gets me. I can't make it through the first ten minutes of that movie without my eyes welling up. It's just so heartbreaking, right?

    Thanks for your interest in Suspense. I hope you all find it enjoyable!

  13. Speaking of The Hunger Games, I can not wait till the movie next year. I read 1984 a long time ago in my high school english class and its been on my reread list for so long now. I want to see how much now with the recent rise of YA dystopian books.

  14. What a great list of dystopian novels/movies. I never thought of Wall-E as dystopian until now, but you are so right! I LOVED Minority Report, the last movie I saw with Tom Cruise before he went off the rails. :) Haven't read 1984 yet but planning on reading it for next year's Banned Book Week if I don't get around to it this year.

  15. That was a great post about dystopians. It's given me a fresh perspective on them. I'll be looking for the hope or the us against them instead of the bleakness and the control that always seems to dominate. Hmm, maybe I have issues with authority... It's okay Jenny I never read 1984 either and I majored in English Lit. Some of them slip by us. Really enjoyed this post!


  16. Missie - The Hunger Games was kind of unforgettable wasn't it? That scene with the berries at the end will haunt me forever:)

    Ashley - Yay! Can't wait to see what you think:)

    Jason - Wall-E turned me into a blubbering mess. I'm not ashamed to admit it:) Glad I'm not alone with my tears!

    Jenny - Me either. I need it to come out sooner, I'm going to give myself an ulcer from the stress of waiting.

    Rummanah - Tom did rock in that movie:) Maybe I'll read 1984 next year with you, we can do a read-along:)

    Heather - Oh good. I don't feel so bad then. I'm not sure why we didn't read it in school, I know the husband did.

  17. Ooooh, I hadn't heard of Suspense!! Excited!! Awesome post Jason!

  18. Missed only one of Jason's greatest stories and soooo agree with his choices. Look forward to reading his books!

  19. I really should read 1984, and other classics like that cos I sure like dystopia

  20. I still have to read the Hunger Games. Oh and I'd have to say my fave dystopian movie was Wall-E. I loved it! But then I'm a fangirl of Pixar.

    I think I need to check out this book. I'm really enjoying dystopian.

  21. I love dystopians! Hunger Games is my favorite, but I also loved 1984 too. I haven't seen Wall-E, but I have been meaning to and I had forgotten about Minority Report! That was also a good movie. Thanks for sharing this!

  22. YES! The Hunger Games and 1984 are definitely my top dystopians. They really make the genre great!!!

  23. Darn, I still haven't watched Wall-E! I have an essay due early next week and since I love delaying important things like that, thanks for giving me the idea to watch that movie with my brother this weekend. Minority Report sounds pretty interesting too so maybe I'll also check that one out.

  24. "But if there’s one thing Orwell couldn’t have guessed, it’s that now and in the future we all play the role of Big Brother for each other."

    I never thought of it like that, but it's an excellent point.

  25. Nice post! I just read The Hunger Games and can see what people have been talking about!
    Minority Report was a great movie, and I think the cool computer is going to be here soon. My husband uses similar stuff at work, on the table top but same idea.

  26. I am so picking this book up! I love these types of books :) WOOHOO!