It took me a year to decide what to do with my new blog. I toyed with the idea of making it a political blog, but ultimately I decided to use Daily Kos for that purpose. Besides, I don’t have much that’s original to say, politically.
Betty’s Rants will henceforth be a literary blog. I will inaugurate my literary blog with a series of posts analyzing the first chapter of The Hunger Games, the first book of the trilogy of the same name. As a writer and a fan of science-fiction and fantasy, I very much enjoyed the Hunger Games Trilogy, and more than that, I feel permanenty transformed by having known Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Rue, Prim, and yes, Presidents Snow and Coin.
The first chapter of a novel has to introduce the protagonist and his / her surroundings, in such a way as to make us care about reading further, and introduce the conflict. If the protagonist lives in the reader’s contemporary world, no more is needed. However, a science-fiction or fantasy writers has to do more than this. The author has to introduce the imaginary world — the future earth or galactic culture, the fantastic milieu of magic and heroism — and make it seem real. The Hunger Games is set in the future, and therefore has to introduce the future world of Panem, a dreary police state set some 150-200 years in the future (my estimate) after a vaguely mentioned combination of war and environmental disasters. This is one of the challenges of science-fictional and fantastic writing. Suzanne Collins accomplishes all these tasks in the first chapter of the book, and brilliantly.
I will spend the next few blog posts dissecting the first chapter, almost paragraph by paragraph, to show how Ms. Collins does these things.