Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Hi All, sorry this is up so late, but it took over 1 1/2 hours to vote this morning, but hey that is the price of living in a country where I can vote for whoever I want without fear of being shot in the head. If you have not yet voted, please please please go vote, I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote. If you have already voted then YAY for your you, you awesome and wonderful and are now entitled to complain about anything the government does :-) Standing in line today with my Hubbin got us thinking and talking about the most common forms of government in fiction and how that very much shapes the world the book is set in and in many cases is integral to the plot. Here are just a few of the common ones we came up with.
Monarchy-Since I read a lot of fantasy, this is the most common form of government I run into in books, it comes in many many forms and is usually central to the plot. It is also the basis for many of the old fairy tales and finding out you are a long lost prince/princess is a key plot device in many a story. Monarchies can be good as in The Princess Novels series or Ella Enchanted where the main King/Queen reign trying to honestly do what is best for the people. There are the monarchies that are contested like several times in the Chronicles of Narnia which the struggle for the throne is central to the plot. Then of course the are the bad Kings/Queens/Princes/Princesses/Dukes/Baronets and so forth that must be fought against as in the Song of Fire and Ice. Monarchies are not limited to strictly fantasy, historical fiction such as The Other Boleyn Girl or alternate histories like the Leviathan Series or even Science Fiction type stories like Dune can have some form of monarchies at there center.
Dictatorship/Dystopian-This is another common literary government style. I include both of these styles together because to me one indicates an individual and the other a group, but both are a leadership style that controls the people with or without their consent. Again there are several types of this leadership style. There is the crazed leader who will stop at nothing to gain and keep power as seen in the Inheritance Cycle. Lately the oppressive government that is only good to a limited number of people while keeping the rest of the population miserable and controlled has been very popular especially in Young Adult Fiction such as The Hunger Games. And of course their is always the more subtle dystopian government that is kept in place mostly by consent and very few people seem to have an issue with it (until of course the plot decides to expose some heinous secret to the general masses) The Uglies Series is a good example of this.
Federations-This government is most often used in Science Fiction, it is a great way to unite humans, or a group of "good" people against a common outside threat. The most famous example of course is the Star Trek series (yes these are books as well as a TV show...actually a lot of the books are even better then the shows). The Tower and the Hive series is another one that focuses on a more strictly human federations. Enders Game shows a more forced style of federation, where the planet has to mostly come together to defeat an outside threat, even with the domestic problems still looming large.
I found it interesting that overall in the type of fiction I normally read (and I know that there are always exceptions) elected officials are few and far between. Even in happy peaceful countries/worlds/random places it is usually a benevolent (unelected) leader or government that is in charge. I guess that is because it makes for more compelling story telling when you can solve all your problems by discovering a long lost prince to depose the evil government that was suppressing your right to a federation :-)
Did you vote yet, did you, did you? What is your favorite style of literary government? What is the most unusual style you have read about? What blend would be your ideal?