Packed with gripping story-lines, relatable characters and enchanting visual effects, it’s no surprise that ‘Dystopian Future’ has become one of the most popular genres for Young Adult fiction – and with the release of Mortal Engines on DVD next week it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular titles from the last few years, all of which have been adapted from best-selling YA novels into smash hit blockbuster films and franchises.
In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy.
Based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines is the first of four novels in the series. The book won a Nestle Smarties Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread Award. The film didn’t quite get the reception we all expected, but with no shortage of eye-catching special effects it’s definitely one to watch if you’re a fan of the genre.
Katniss and Peeta; Two teenagers who live in Panem, a country consisting of the wealthy Capitol and 12 districts in varying states of poverty. Every year, children from the districts are selected to participate in a compulsory televised battle royale death match called The Hunger Games.
Whether you’re a fan of YA dystopian fiction or not, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard of The Hunger Games. This trilogy of novels was written by Suzanne Collins and all three books (The Hunger Games (2008), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2009) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, (2010)) have now been developed into films (2012-2015) starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, with the final installment being split into two parts. Both the books and the films were incredibly well received, generally only being exceeded by Harry Potter in most rankings of top teen fiction.
Sixteen-year-old Thomas awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is, only to learn he’s been delivered to the middle of an intricate maze, along with a large number of other boys, who have been trying to find their way out of the ever-changing labyrinth — all while establishing a functioning society in what they call the Glade.
Another series that you’d be hard pressed to have missed is The Maze Runner series. Based on the novels by James Dashner, the trilogy consists of The Maze Runner (2009), The Scorch Trials (2010) and The Death Cure (2011) which have all now been adapted onto the big screen (2014-2018). The book series also contains two prequels The Kill Order (2012) and The Fever Code (2016), plus a companion book titled The Maze Runner Files (2013). With all the right elements for the YA dystopian future market, the series has been highly popular in both book and film formats.
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.
Based on the series of novels by Veronica Roth, which contains: Divergent (2011), Insurgent (2012) and Allegiant (2013), all of which have now been adapted into films of the same names. The film adaptations started off strong, however slowly lost momentum with each release. Though these are still highly popular among the target audience, particularly those that are fans of the books and the genre.
This sci-fi tells the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, an unusually gifted child who is sent to an advanced military academy in outer space to prepare for a future alien invasion.
The film adaptation is based on the first novel in an extended series by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game (1985) won the 1985 Nebula Award and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel. While many noted that the film didn’t quite delve as deeply as the book did, it’s still a solid sci-fi film that’s well written, well acted and certainly got that sci-fi element that adds something extra to the dystopian future genre.
Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.
Based on the first novel The Darkest Mind (2012) in series of the same name by Alexandra Bracken, this 2018 film was once again not very well received by critics, but given fairly good ratings by the target YA audience. In such a saturated field of YA adaptations, it’s difficult to make your voice heard – But from audience reviews it seems this one is still definitely worth the watch if you’re a fan of the genre.
When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline, the 2018 film adaptation was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. There were high expectations for this film and for a lot of people it didn’t disappoint. While it did stray from the book, some said this was an improvement and worked to the film’s advantage. The film also received a nomination at the Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects. With a mix of pop culture nostalgia and action-packed pacing, Ready Player One has certainly made a place for itself within the YA dystopian future genre.