Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games Mash Up

I have not yet seen the Hunger Games (completely sold out over the weekend in NYC!!!), but I've been reading lots of posts and articles about the film. I wanted to post something I haven't already seen on blogs, so to start, here's a quote from Suzanne Collins on how the idea for THG first came to her: 
"One night I'm sitting there, flipping around and on one channel there's a group of young people competing for, I don't know, money maybe? And on the next, there's a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story."
Pretty random, huh? You never know what wild mashups your brain might create when it's zonked on TV alpha vibes, or generally woozy from exhaustion. Next, Collins spoke about her late start in writing fiction:
"Prose is full of many challenges and unexplored territory for me because I came to it later in my life... I've been scriptwriting for 27 years and books for maybe 10 years now. I think I started the first Gregor book, Gregor the Overlander, when I was 38."


Then I read a rather critical post from GS Prendergast, a blogger who thought that although THG was a brave book in dealing with oppression, it was curiously lacking in the type of sexual coercion which would likely occur in such a dystopia. Read her post for yourself and give me your take on this: The Asexual Politics of the Hunger Games. She also added this statement, which definitely gets one thinking: "Youth exploited by a violent movie event based on a book about youth exploited in a violent media event."


Did you feel at all guilty, secretly rooting for the death of Katniss' opponents? I do see Prendergast's point, yet I didn't mind that the book had little mention of sex--the stakes were just too darn high for rolling around in the underbrush!The last thing that caught my eye was actually written in 2009, by Kayley Hyde, a teen who won Scholastic's essay contest on THG. The essay question? How would you survive the Hunger Games? The answer? Read her entry. Her grand prize? A trip to New York to have lunch with Suzanne Collins. Not bad!


Seeing Katniss bowing up on all of the promo posters, I was bummed by one realization--A main character in my coming sequel to Fireseed One is a master archer (Armonk, who in Book One goes around shooting arrows). So, I just hope that archers aren't played out by the time I finish it!
Anyway, I intend to see the film asap and I'll post my review soon.


My next post will announce the winner of my free 25-page YA sci-fi manuscript critique!
In the meantime, I'd love to hear your opinion of Prendergast's THG post. And, in the spirit of Kelsey's smart essay, what strategy would YOU craft to win THG? Also, when do you get your best ideas? Have you ever gotten them when you're zonked out in front of the TV?

21 comments:

  1. I haven't read THG. The concept makes me cringe. I think I definitely will read it one day, but until my daughter is much older, I just can't. It breaks my heart to think about what Katniss has to endure. I know it's only fiction and I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. So for now, kudos to Collins. I have a great deal of respect for her as a writer. No one can deny THG is doing great things for YA fiction.

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  2. I am actually breaking my rule tonight. I'm going to see the movie, but I haven't read the book yet. I'm leery since some are saying the series ending is dissapointing. However, whether you like the books or not, YA books making media splashes is good for all of us!

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  3. Sarah, interesting that you'll see the film before reading it. The general consensus is that the film is almost but not quite as good as the book. And Kelly, I understand why THG might be too much for you.

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  4. The Hunger Games definitely gets people thinking, what I liked about the movie is that the gory scene were not explicit and somehow the subtlety is what is the more terrifying. It's the same with the villain, President Snow, he's subtle and snake like, never explicit in his malice.

    The same goes for sexual exploitation, in the book - rather than the movie, it is hinted that sponsors are easier to get for the most sexually appealing competitors. In the second book this comes more to the fore, where Katniss is made to feel a prude, and witnesses how the old victors/former tributes (such as Finnick and Johanna) have wealthy lovers in the Capitol. Even in District 12 she starts to realise that she's been naive, as we see that the girls her age who couldn't hunt, have had to sell themselves to the head of the Peacekeepers so they wouldn't starve to death.

    I could go on and on pondering :-) Thanks for the interesting post, and I hope you enjoy the movie :-)

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  5. P.s. I do like the comment in the Asexual politics article "Where is the state’s interest in Katniss’s sex life? More specifically, where is Katniss’s FEAR for the privacy and personal sanctity of her sexual organs? "
    but I suspect in this world the capitol doesn't actually care about anyone outside of the Capitol - I suppose the Avox's could easily have been such victims, for they not only live in the Capitol and have no right to the 'disinterest' of the Capitol.

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  6. Hey, Katja, thanks for these illuminating details. And now, I must read book 2!

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  7. The town in The Hunger Games actually reminded me a lot of my hometown. There is one factory that blows gray smoke. If you have a decent job, you work for the gov, you teach, or you work at the factory. And most people find it impossible to get out, so they go to the military. They get huge sign on bonuses and don't realize the actual cost/benefit analysis until it's too late. Recruiters start talking to sophmores though they can't sign them until their 18. They're well groomed by then. So I'm not surprised that young people fighting an actual war was part of the inspiration for this. Because my brother and my cousins were what I thought about the whole time I was reading it. And I agree with you, way too much going on to worry about sex. I actually think sex scenes would have detracted from what was going on.

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  8. The Hunger Games definitely gets you thinking. I probably wouldn't survive. I'd never want to kill someone and probably would just hide until someone killed me. I haven't had a chance to see the movie yet, but I hope that it's really good. :)

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  9. I've read the series, even while I was questioning myself for reading a book so violent. And liking it. I couldn't help but think of children in other countries that you see on the news that are trained from childhood to kill. Like Katniss, they have no choice. I never thought of the political aspect of it until I read a review that goes into great detail about that. Will see the movie when it's out on DVD.

    I'm opposed to pain, especially mine, and i'd do poorly in combat.

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  10. Fascinating essay for the winner! Thanks for linking to that, I hadn't heard of that contest.

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  11. I read it, saw the movie, took my kids and wrote about all of our experiences. And also felt a bit guilty for liking it. I so cried with Rue died too!

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  12. I just started the second book of the series so I'm afraid of reading anything too spoilery! :) I do think that people feel that there's things they would never do but under the right circumstances (someone trying to kill you in the Games for instance) I think you would go to extreme lengths to preserve your life.

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  13. Hi Catherine, Hunger Games madness is just the same in the UK. Haven't seen the film yet. My best ideas come usually when I'm out for a walk with no paper or anything to hand to write them down. In front of the TV, not yet, but I'm working on it! Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way.

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  14. Beth, I love your reply-I think we all have seen those towns-and come to think of it, it's like the post-Soviet towns I saw when I took the train north of Moscow. Every little place had one big, old factory and a Soviet statue. I guess the world is more similar than we think.
    Krista & Bev, I'd probably do a lot of hiding too!
    Lydia, yes, words as weapons-great thoughts from that young writer.
    LM & Adrianne, yes, guilt mixed with a gut feeling that you would probably do the same thing if forced into it.
    Deborah, ideas come to me too, when I'm walking, or especially when I'm driving on the highway!!!

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  15. Catherine, I gave you an award on my blog. Stop by. :)
    http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com/2012/03/sunshine-award.html

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  16. It's really cool how Collins came up with the idea for The Hunger Games.

    And I'm must admit I'm a little worried about the archer thing, since I have a MC who is an archer too. Heh. Archers are just so cool. :)

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  17. I have no problem with the lack of sex in HG - it wasn't Collins' main point and would have detracted from making that point IMHO (re: violence and oppression). And yes, the irony is rich that we're lining up to see HG. But the value of having the debates sparked by this book far outweigh anything else. :)

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  18. Oh, I love seeing her source! That is totally how my brain works. I don't have original ideas so much as combining real stuff in original ways. And I started my first book at 39. (well, the first one I finished)

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  19. Thanks for this fascinating post! I loved the first book and will certainly see the movie. However, I am firmly in the camp of "disappointing ending" to the series. The last book was badly edited, filled with "tell don't show," and dreary.

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  20. Ooh, Jenny, that's a drag! I have heard that response a lot. Just goes to show that pressure to perform and deliver a last book in a series can backfire. I wonder what kind of time frame SC was expected to work in. I do know that the delivery of book 1, 2 & 3 are written into a contract.

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  21. I read the series, saw the movie, and loved it! I'm a huge fan of Katniss and her non-boastful Joan of Arc heroism. I just do. Oh, and my 19year old daughter is an archer, has been since the hs archery team. Way cool. :))

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