The rise of “old adult” meh-topian fiction

The rise of “old adult” meh-topian fiction

Note: this is a work of humor. The “meh-topian” books listed below do not actually exist…so far. 😉

There’s an old kid in town.

After years of domination by “young adult” dystopian fiction, in bookstores, on bestseller lists, and at the movies, readers are turning to a new genre which focuses on “silver heroes”…adults over fifty.

The surprising success of Ann T. Delouvian’s “The World Isn’t Perfect…So What?” (soon to be a CBS miniseries) has shone a light on what has been a growing trend.

TWIPSW focuses on Myrtle and Dirk, who live in a future society ruled by an ambitious under twenty-five year old elite…and pretty much ignore them.

Even though it’s against the law, Myrkle (as their fans never call them), have a lawn, cats, and a library of paper books.

“I was just tired of all these books where the main characters rush around changing the world,” said Delouvian (who is of a certain age herself). “I mean, really, what’s the big deal? Nothing’s perfect…I liked the idea of people who just went on with their lives, whatever was happening.”

At first, the book’s main audience was older readers (it was a darling of book clubs that actually met in person), but the industry really took notice when it became clear that younger people were reading it as well.

“I mean, I spent one summer learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, you know, and I was always, like, rebelling against conformity and stuff. It was just so tiring! Even when you know magic, like Hermione, it seems like there’s always all this pressure! When do you get to just chill? That’s why I’m a TWIPser…Myrtle just seems so cool.”
–Lizzie Mac Patel, 13 years old

“Old Adult” fiction is defined by a satisfaction with life as it is. That doesn’t mean that the characters think the world is wonderful: just that’s it is okay. That’s what the term “meh-topian” means: it’s not great, like a utopia, or terrible, like a dystopia…a meh-topia is just somewhere in the middle.

“That’s the way it is with real life, right? It isn’t always these extremes. Not every decision has to be life and death, and it doesn’t all have to be about choices. Myrtle and Dirk have settled down. She doesn’t have to go back and forth on a hormonal teeter totter between this beau and that beau. They’ve already found each other,” explained Delouvian.

Even younger authors have started to get in on the market. Amanda Tweeting, wunderkind symbol for the success of independently published young adult works, has written short stories starring Margaret Beasley. Tweeting writes these under a different name (Gerri Atrix), so as not to confuse her base. In Beasley’s world, a plague killed off almost all the young people: only those who had sat within six feet of an old cathode ray tube TV have an immunity, apparently due to a mutation caused by the radiation. Margaret and her friends adapt to the new conditions, without children and “those nice young people” around.

While the market for adventurous, romantic tales of high adventure seems secure, it may be safe to say that “Old Adult” fiction will be a big part of the literary landscape in the future…and if it’s not, that’s okay with it.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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