Now that I've put all these writing-centric measures in place (Twitter, blog, serious daily edits of my manuscript), I'm having more and more people ask me about my current project, this crazy idea of mine that I hope to have in query-ready shape come April.
The first question I generally get is: What genre is it?
Funny thing is, I don't know. Not really. I have a name for the genre, which I would call postdystopian. Only, I don't think there is such a term.
What do I mean that my novel is postdystopian? I mean that it is about the world after Big Brother has died, Animal Farm has gone to seed, the Firemen have disbanded and no one meets for the annual Lottery in the village.* All the tyrants have withered away through one circumstance or another, but the hamster-wheel - and the common, everyday people trapped within it - is still in motion.
Until the machinery itself begins to break down.
What happens when the system conks and Big Brother is no longer there to give orders? What results when the military is in disarray and, for all purposes, leaderless, even though certain forms of "peace-keeping" are maintained? What happens when people begin to break laws that can no longer be enforced?
What happens then?
My characters live in a world that is running out of man-power. Running out of thinkers. Out of medicine. Out of food. Out of time. And unless the downtrodden, largely uneducated masses can somehow reach beyond their own past to the World That Came Before, and derive from the crumbled relics some sort of template for starting over - they'll all die out. Out of sheer ignorance. No war necessary.
That's what I mean by postdystopianism. I haven't seen anything on the shelves along those lines yet...if you have, please burst my bubble and tell me. I want to know.
(*) Note: See: 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson.