With the popularity of The Revenant, The Martian and The Hunger Games, survival is as popular as ever. In these 15 novels, men and women are forced to pit their strength, skill and brains against the forces of nature, evil and each other.
As men and women ceased to believe in them during the early modern period, fantastic creatures such as the unicorn and eventually even the dragon became symbols of freedom and transcendence. They were, in a sense, also symbols of revolt, but more spiritual than political.
Most of us have a certain routine, so it's exciting to pick up a book and end up in another time, place, and situation. To make this experience even more intense, I often try to follow a novel I just read with one that's very different.
What is important about vampire and apocalyptic films and books is that the heroes are not just battling a solo evil character and his or her clan. Rather, all of these offer a critique of "the system."
Some fans have launched a campaign to see that actor Jesse Williams gets cast as Finnick. This happens all the time in Hollywood. So what's the big deal? Well, to begin with the character's color, or lack of it, depending on how you see him, is striking.
The Hunger Games have been popular with people who do not read books. A friend of mine (who made sure to emphasize that he doesn't read) told me that he loved the series and that I had to stop what I was doing to read it.