A furious debate has ensued between fans and detractors of Suzanne Collins’ teen dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games. An excellent article entitled, ‘A Battle Royale online over origin of The Hunger Games’ by Arthur Bright from The Christian Science Monitor explores how similarities to a bestselling Japanese novel and subsequent film has tarnished the cinema release of Suzanne Collins’ young adult story. Read the full article to find out just what all the fuss is about. There can be no doubting Koushun Takami‘s Battle Royale came well before The Hunger Games, but did you know they were both preceded by master storyteller Stephen King’s The Running Man decades earlier? Writing under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King describes a shattered future world where televised fights to the death rule the TV ratings.
So is there nothing new under the sun, perhaps not? Stephen King follows George Orwell and Aldous Huxley in portraying a sinister totalitarian regime intent on crushing the individual. As Arthur Bright’s article reveals the concept of a fight to the death cheered on by vocal crowds goes way back to the Romans and probably well before.
So what does a school librarian make of all this? I tend to side with the authors in question in not caring too much one way or the other. The critical thing for me and other librarians is that all this publicity and controversy serves one important and valuable purpose; that is to encourage reading and debate over books, ideas and the overwhelming power of a good story, no matter whose it may have been in the beginning.
So if you loved The Hunger Games Trilogy (or perhaps if you didn’t but like the ideas) take a look at the following novels for a few like-minded suggestions.
1984 by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Farhenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick