I’m going to give you the plot summary this time. If you don’t know it already you can find a plot blurb just about anywhere at the moment. I read the trilogy back around the time they were trying to cast the big movie adaption that comes out today. That was over a year ago so I’m not up to doing a review either. I am going to share a few thoughts on the book series, and I might review the movie after I see it, but I mostly want to point out some impressive fan geekery I ran across recently.
First, the book thoughts………. The first book was definitely a page turner. It sets up a pretty desperate situation in micro with Katniss, and in macro with an entire continent of poor folk catering to the whims of one city of lucky elites. The majority of the books is about the games themselves providing a locked room situation with a bunch of teens trying to kill each other. It’s hard not to be interested in a situation that tense. It is also written for the young adult market so it’s a little easier to read than most adult fiction. The combination of those two factors makes it hard not to stay up late reading. The sequel, Catching Fire, is a little repetitive because it puts the characters back in the hunger games, but it’s different enough to still be a worthwhile read. Mockingjay, the final book in the trilogy, departs from the hunger games completely and tackles some more complex issues. I didn’t care for Mockingjay all that much, but it was still worth reading just to see how everything turned out.
Now, with that out of the way we can move on to the business at hand. A couple of fans of the series pieced together a very well thought out map of North America as it would exist in the books. I was especially interested because I was doing something internally as I was reading each book. North America is ruled by a country called Panem (from the Latin ‘panem et cirense’ translated as ‘bread and circuses’ which is a strategy that has been popular among politicians since Rome ruled Europe). Panem is divided into a capital area somewhere in the Rockies and thirteen separate districts. Each district has its own specialty product which it supplies to the capital and Collins hints at some of the locations but rarely includes any specific details leaving it up to the reader to connect things going on in the book with their own knowledge of current geography.
Collins doesn’t go into any detail explaining how the current U.S. ended up as a totalitarian state (really disappointed about that) but she does vaguely mention war and natural disasters. Fan consensus is that a portion of both coasts ended up under water and the continent is a lot smaller so different disaster scenarios were examined to determine which fit the best with the situation in the novels. After that was done the remaining land area was portioned into the districts based on the few details Collins included.
If you’re curious, Tennessee is part of District 11, which specializes in growing crops to feed the country. I highly recommend the original post (though it devolves into a commercial) even if you don’t know anything about the books. I always enjoy the reasoning that goes into piecing together a larger picture based on scattered facts and I really admire the time and effort that was put into this. It reminds me of genealogy or even military intelligence. I feel like I’m not doing it justice, but I was really very impressed at how they merged natural disaster research, details from the book, and current land use. I could quibble with a few things, but in all it’s a better effort than I would have made.
Found via the AV Club.