With Independence Day behind us in the USA, it’s a good time to talk about rebellions and revolutions in fiction. Sci-fi and fantasy are rife with stories of the oppressed rising up and fighting back.
Though in fairness, not a lot of them delve much into the aftermath of governing a newly freed people. But that’s a separate topic more related to world-building.
My top 5 fictional rebellions?
- 5 – Dune – While the David Lynch movie only covers the first book, the series explores the shakeup of the Landsraad and overthrow of (the corrupt) Emperor Shaddam IV, beginning with an insurrection on Arrakis (Dune) where the all-important geriatric spice is harvested.
- 4 – Hunger Games – It’s all fun and (murderous) games until the resistance swoops in and recruits the participants. While the first book/movie is all about the battle royale itself, the series expands into a larger conflict surrounding the oppression the games represent.
- 3 – The Matrix – What do you do when your oppressor is reality itself? That’s the question this surprisingly deep summer blockbuster asked. “…many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
- 2 – Twinborn Chronicles (shameless plug) – Both Awakening and War of 3 Worlds feature wars against an oppressive regime. In Awakening, it’s the Megrenn seeking payback against a former occupying power. In War of 3 Worlds, it’s a slave uprising that expands out of control.
- 1 – Star Wars – The most commercially successful rebellion story of all time may be the least successful of all the rebellions on this list. After Episode VI, the emperor is dead, the galaxy is celebrating, and then… 30 years later, stormtroopers are back and stomping boots on the necks of hapless civilians. There’s not a lot of screen time devoted to where this rebellion went off the rails, but it certainly had to suffer some incredible growing pains trying to transition into a governing body.
Maybe Leia should have tried overdosing on spice and looking 4000 years into the future for a blueprint.
QUESTION: I’m sure I’ve missed plenty. What was my most egregious omission?
DISCUSSION: Respond in the comments, or join in the Facebook discussion about sci-fi and fantasy fiction’s best rebellions: https://www.facebook.com/authorjsmorin/posts/2157012477758345