It's always lovely to have Mr. Zimmer grace my page. He's a dynamo at fan conventions and his word processor. He's back with his newest book, Dream of the Navigator, and invited me to ask him the question of my choice. I've been a fan of dystopian stories since my days as a strange little girl who read science fiction, and have never quite understood why they appealed to me. It seemed perfect, then, to ask why he chose to set this novel in a dystopian world. Below is his reply.
The sciences of today focus almost entirely on the question of whether we can create and start using a given technology rather than whether we should create and use a given technology. New technologies are integrated, and new policies are enacted all the time in our world without a lot of thought for the potential consequences of those decisions.
In my view, dystopian literature is a genre that is well-suited for exploring consequences. Obviously, dystopian settings are already well-immersed within the consequences of earlier decisions, some made ages before the time in which a story takes place.
Consider the Capital in The Hunger Games series. Its authoritarian rule was an end result that likely a great many did not foresee when it was in its formative phases. Likewise, it is pretty reasonable to say that not everyone in earlier times could foresee the imposition of Big Brother and the totalitarian atmosphere in place that is portrayed in the novel 1984.
These worlds did not come into being overnight. They were the result of a progression over a long period time, step by step, leading to the nightmarish dystopias that we read about in the pages of those books.
The environment where the main characters in Dream of the Navigator live is most certainly an authoritarian/totalitarian one. The system is solidly in place, but readers will get a sense of the path that led to it by the time they are finished with the book.
The control of the populace involves the use of both dystopian and utopian ones, in terms of negative and positive reinforcement.
On the dystopian side of things, the pervasive surveillance system exacts immediate penalties for various infractions committed by citizens. It also sweeps up any who are expressing dissent to others or speaking out against the system, taking transgressors to indoctrination centers or even prisons, depending on the level of the dissent displayed.
As far as utopian elements used to maintain control, the system’s primary tool is escapism. Virtual Reality is the most popular form of escapism, but other forms of entertainment are prominent, such as spectator sports and live music (though it should be noted that many “attend” sporting events and live music through the VR technology rather than physically being present).
Even though surveillance is everywhere, an underground of substance abuse is still present in society, which serves as a clue that it is something tacitly allowed by the system.
While being addicted to virtual worlds, entertainment, or substances are not good for any individual, they are all pleasurable things, and as such fall into a more utopian classification when it comes to elements.
The combination of pleasurable, utopian elements with heavy-handed dystopian ones is a powerful one when it comes to subduing a society and keeping it under control. Yet the iron fist that the system wields is always present, which is why the entirety of the technate-based system in Dream of the Navigator lands it comfortably within the realm of dystopian literature.
Dream of the Navigator is an exploration of choices and the consequences that these choices have many years later, even decades later. The dystopian genre gives me fertile ground as a writer to illustrate in a vivid way the dangers of some choices, to the extent that a story like this can serve as a kind of warning of what can happen if we are not careful.
This is why I found dystopia the best atmosphere for the telling of the story contained within the pages of the Faraway Saga.
Thank you, Mr. Zimmer! - Sarah
Dream of the Navigator Blog Tour
August 15-22, 2018
Book Synopsis for Dream of the Navigator: "1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia" Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments. Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine. For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence. A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore. What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience. Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga!
Author Links: Website: https://www.stephenzimmer.com/
Tour Schedule and Activities
8/15 Sheila's Guests and Reviews https://Sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post
8/15 Jorie Loves A Story https://jorielovesastory.com Review
8/16 MyLifeMyBooksMyEcape https://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com Author Interview
8/17 Ravenous for Reads https://www.ravenousforreads.com Author Interview
8/17 Will Read For Booze https://www.willreadforbooze.com
8/17 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn https://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/ Guest Post
8/18 The Book Lover's Boudoir https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com/ Review
8/19 Jazzy Book Reviews http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com VLog
8/19 Robin's Book Spot https://robinsbookspot.blogspot.com Review
8/20 Soul Meets Books https://soulmeetsbooks.wordpress.com Review
8/21 Sapphyria's Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Guest Post
8/22 Literature Approved http://literatureapproved.com Review
8/22 Jorie Loves A Story https://jorielovesastory.com Video Interview
Amazon Links for Dream of the Navigator
Print Version https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Navigator-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1948042533/ Kindle Version https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Navigator-Faraway-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B07CZTW4V6/
Barnes and Noble Link for Dream of the Navigator https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dream-of-the-navigator-stephen-zimmer/1128993419?ean=9781948042536