Scott Westerfeld
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Dyslit Essay

April 16th, 2011

Just in case you thought I’d given up serious blogging to spend all my time trolling (or perhaps trawling) Deviant Art, let it be known that I just wrote a real essay about Literary Things.

It was for‘s Dystopia Week (to which I say, ONLY A WEEK?) and was an analysis of why teenagers like tales of dystopia.

The funny thing is, lately everyone wants dystopia essays from me, because dyslit is BIG and I am officially a famous fake expert in how teens think, especially about dystopian fiction, thanks to the whole writing Uglies thing. (Score.)

A snippet:

Teenagers’ lives are constantly defined by rules, and in response they construct their identities through necessary confrontations with authority, large and small. Imagining a world in which those authorities must be destroyed by any means necessary is one way of expanding that game. Imagining a world in which those authorities are utterly gone is another.

It’s little wonder, then, that a lot of YA dyslit embraces both extremes of hyper-control and of chaos, wedding an oppressive government with post-apocalyptic ruin . . .

Click here to read the rest. And then comment here or there with your gentle sledgehammers of correction. Don’t let us fake expert adults define you!

And now . . . back to trolling Deviant Art! Because it’s Fan Art Friday. (Well, not here in Sydney, or even in New York, but somewhere in the world. Like, say, Hawaii.)

Here’s a cutie from strawberrycream17:

I mean, seriously: Awww. Happy times. Check out strawberrycream17′s stuff at DA.

And another quiet moment from Tobuishi, who, after last week’s Fan Art Friday, quite understandably requested that I use a piece of hers that didn’t have the word “boobs” in it:

Click here to see her other stuff at DA.

I love how a lot of fan art and fan fic shows characters doing, you know, sort of nothing. Fan artists like showing the downtime that’s part of everyone’s real life, but doesn’t ever quite get shown in canonical texts, because doing nothing isn’t part of the uber-dramatic Story we authors are telling. Believe me, if we put it in there, editors would probably edit it out!

Fans actually want to see the downtime, though, or at least imagine it, because that makes the characters more real, more like someone you could hang out and do nothing with. So downtime becomes a major theme of the para-literature of fan fic and fan art.

Maybe I’ll save these thoughts for another essay about Literary Things. But you know I’m right.

And speaking of just hanging out, here’s another example, by Irrel, of everyday life aboard the Leviathan:

HAH! GOT YOU! Awkward moment is awkward! (Here’s the source on DA.)

Okay, some fan art is totally dramatic, telling its own fantabulous non-canonical story, or even predicting what will happen in a not-yet-published book like Goliath. This is why writing Serious Essays is a pain, because you have to keep second-guessing yourself.

Awkward, heh.

So for the next Fan Art Friday, let’s do something different. Send me art that’s not regular two-dimensional drawings and such. You know: fan fic, sculpture, cosplay, music, models, video, photography, or whatever else you can come up with or find out in the interwebs.

I’m curious as to how much is out there. And I think we’ve had quite enough of a certain couple’s canoodlings!

See you soon.

62 Responses to “Dyslit Essay”

  1. 1
    April 16th, 2011 09:04

    HA. The fact that you used “trolling” here amuses me greatly, as that’s exactly what I accused you of doing on April first.

    I’d love to see some non-drawing fanwork. EXCITED.


  2. 2
    April 16th, 2011 09:28

    It’s Friday here….for another 3 hours, 3 minutes. XD

    And yay! Does a Kneaded Eraser Bovril count for next week? LOL

  3. 3
    April 16th, 2011 10:43

    Let it be known that Scot Westerfeld TROLLS deviantart


    I am suddenly inspired to draw Fan art.

  4. 4
    April 16th, 2011 11:08

    I love the Dystopian Essay.
    And the fanart is all lovely!

    On another note, does there happen to be any Uglies film updates?

  5. 5
    April 16th, 2011 11:44

    OMG!!!!!! I would LOVE to have one of my fanfics up here. I just don’t know how though… It’s on DA. Hmm… What do I do exactly? THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!!! :D

  6. 6
    April 16th, 2011 12:36

    “or even predicting what will happen in a not-yet-published book like Goliath” oh my god did I just read that

  7. 7
    April 16th, 2011 13:38

    don’t sweat it. I spend most of my free time on Deviantart too XD

    There seems to be a total overlosad of dystopian fiction in my house, seeing as my sister is studying uglies in class and my grade is focusing on 1984

    Yeah, there has been alot of the “certain couple” lately, but hey i’m not complaining! at least you know what the fans want XD

  8. 8
    April 16th, 2011 16:37

    HI!!! 8th person to comment! Hahaha I can’t wait for GOLIATH

  9. 9
    April 16th, 2011 16:44

    Just send it to my email addy:
    scott(you know what goes here)

  10. 10
    April 16th, 2011 16:53

    OMG! I totally have the perfect idea! I’m so excited!

  11. 11
    April 16th, 2011 17:51

    Scott, I have fan art that is in the form of a photo. I don’t have a DA account. What should I do? Should I send the file via email as an attachment?

  12. 12
    April 16th, 2011 18:14

    Would a picture of an animal we wished you wrote about work? If so, how do we send it to you without creating a deviantart account? You probably already explained this twenty times. Anyways, the made up animal I have a model of(made it myself in two hours of painful hot glue.) is pretty awesome.

  13. 13
    April 16th, 2011 18:58

    Oh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE fanart! :D these rocked and I can’t wait for next week! Eep!

  14. 14
    April 16th, 2011 23:11

    Hey, Scott, I mentioned this at the meetup, but I just wanted to reccomend this link to bascially everyone:

    It’s a hilarious description of inbreeding and the Hapsburg line. My favorite part’s the end:
    Clearly, this might never have happened had the Hapsburgs slipped in a commoner now and then, just to set a genetic Roto-Rooter to their chromosomes. Wouldn’t that have been an irony — a few more serfs in the gene pool, and there might yet be a Holy Roman Emperor. The Hapsburgs probably wouldn’t think that was funny. But a sense of humor was not what they bred for, anyway.

    Hint. Hint.

  15. 15
    April 17th, 2011 01:06

    There really good. REAL REALY GOOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

  16. 16
    April 17th, 2011 01:24

    Yessss :D So I’m not the only one who constantly “trawling” deviantart

    Found the real-life Deryn Sharp:

  17. 17
    April 17th, 2011 05:23

    P.S. I finally forced my Harry Potter addict/ anti-Uglies friend to read Uglies. She loves it, and thinks it’s just as good as Harry Potter. Oh yeah!

  18. 18
    Reuben D
    April 17th, 2011 07:02

    *flexes fingers*

    I’m gonna write me some Westerblog-Worthy fanfic.

  19. 19
    Filthy Victorian (ASongInMyHead on FF.Net)
    April 17th, 2011 07:39

    I have sent Scott-la my Leviathan fics. :)

  20. 20
    April 17th, 2011 07:59

    @Filthy Victorian (ASongInMyHead on FF.Net):

    Awesome!!! :)

  21. 21
    April 17th, 2011 18:17

    OMG!! I WRITE A LOT OF LEVIATHAN FANFICS!!! its like all I’m doing at the moment! If you really wanna read ‘em (Yus!), go to my deviantArt account.

  22. 22
    April 17th, 2011 20:47

    I produce too many fics to count… and they’re all my babies. But I don’t want to send him all of them… :/ Ah well. He should just link to the whole Leviathan series section of

  23. 23
    April 17th, 2011 22:29

    B’aww, thank you! That was barking kind of you. ?

    As far as cosplay goes, could I second the suggestion of this young lady’s Deryn? http://bano– (If she were someday to be cast in the film version, though, Macaulay Culkin would be an absolute necessity as Jaspert.)

    Oh, and I have yet to find a better collection of Leviathan fanfiction than Quite Peculiar. I especially like the alternate timeline presented in On The Wire, parts 1-5…if I’m allowed to like something that broke my heart a little. (Thank you for not going that route in canon – that kind of thing belongs in fanfiction, where it doesn’t “count”.)

  24. 24
    April 17th, 2011 22:33

    Well, darn it. That isolated ? was meant to be a heart, but apparently this blog doesn’t recognize nonstandard characters.

    <3, instead, then.

  25. 25
    April 18th, 2011 00:43

    Volger looks like a waiter…. hehe, i can totally imagine Volger as a snooty waiter, at one of those ritzy resteraunts. Y’know?

  26. 26
    April 18th, 2011 04:30

    Fan fic for Fan Art Friday? YAY!

  27. 27
    The Joker-la
    April 18th, 2011 06:54

    Hey, does Alek and Deryn burned into my piece of toast by the divine power of God count as fan art? It happened with Elvis…

    Also, if they made a Leviathan film I’d totally suggest Christoph Waltz as Volger. I don’t know about the main two, but Helen Bonham Carter definitely fits the bill for Barlow.

  28. 28
    April 18th, 2011 07:19

    Since we’re talking about a Leviathan movie, I think Tim Burton should be the director, Helena Bonham Carter as Nora Barlow, and Johnny Depp should be Volger. If Matthew Gray Gubler could be worked in there somehow, it would be wonderful. Matthew Gray Gubler is one of my new favorites.

  29. 29
    April 18th, 2011 09:49

    Ooh! I love talking about a possible Leviathan movie.

    Scott said that Allan Cumming wanted to play Volger in the movie. He definitely has the voice down. :)

    For Dr. Barlow, I sort of like the idea of Cate Blanchett or Gwyneth Paltrow. I am thinking unknowns for the rest.

  30. 30
    April 18th, 2011 12:30

    Well, OF COURSE you’d find my most embarrassing fanart while you’re trolling DA :P

    I do appreciate how much you know about fandom and that instead of getting disturbed by it you embrace it and all its craziness :)

    I second this fanfic recommendation: and everything else she has written!

  31. 31
    April 18th, 2011 16:15

    Look at this Deryn Cosplay Scott-la :D

  32. 32
    April 18th, 2011 20:02

    I want more <3

  33. 33
    April 19th, 2011 01:13

    Right as I was reading your article I was watching the movie for Battle Royale, it was weird…

  34. 34
    April 19th, 2011 02:38

    just wanna point out Scottsters that us teens youve been talking about never get anuff of THIS certain couples canoodling…. or Clary and Jace….
    and BTW Volger has the sickest mustache in the last picture!!

  35. 35
    April 19th, 2011 03:58

    I swear, I might just painstakingly spend hours attempting to draw Deryn and Alec simply so I can have my work spotted by a deviantART-troll/trawling Scott and put on his blog. Going to do that right now.

  36. 36
    April 19th, 2011 04:41

    I agree with Tobu’s recommendation of “Quite Peculiar.” It’s an absolutely wonderful series, and not half as shippy as the rest of the stuff in the fandom.

  37. 37
    April 19th, 2011 04:43

    I love Volger’s O_O expression in the last picture.

    Off to write some Leviathan fanfiction! Huzzah! (Can I just email it as an attatchment, or does it have to first be published on Or does it not matter at all?)

    And as far as a Leviathan movie…anyone considered anime, instead of live-action? It would be interesting, you have to admit.

  38. 38
    April 19th, 2011 04:56

    HAH! You didn’t get me! Cause I went trolling way before you, so I recognized that one :P neenaw. teehee

  39. 39
    April 19th, 2011 07:07

    Oh, I do not believe we could EVER have enough of a certain couple’s canoodling…

    I do not believe in too much of a good thing.

  40. 40
    April 19th, 2011 11:06

    I lent my friend Leviathan.

    She started it today and literally is devouring it. SHE LOVES IT!!! It’s her new ALL TIME FAVORITE!!! :D

  41. 41
    Edward V
    April 19th, 2011 16:35

    I knew you were, Scott, but it was all in good fun. Eh, at least (I hope) this series won’t end with a certain pairing of characters (Hint, Hint) getting together. Last book series that ended for me did so, after a 6 month delay…
    I’ll see what I can do for the art. Hm… wonder f I could build the Leviathan in Minecraft. Let’s get crackin’.

  42. 42
    Fox Scarlen
    April 19th, 2011 17:29

    I third, or fourth, or whatever the number is now, on Quite Peculiar. Definitely the best series on for your fandom. ;) Seriously: march. Right now. And go read it.

    As for a movie, I like either live-action or anime. Anime especially if you could get Miyazaki, those he’s probably really busy with his own stuff. Pssh, why should he bother with an American author? xP

    (By the way, yay! This is my first time posting on here! Sad that it took me this long, isn’t it? xP)

  43. 43
    April 19th, 2011 20:43

    I’d love to write a fan fic but I currently have writers block. TYPE YOU CURSED FINGERS! I was looking forward to some more fan art, thet was abit more comical, like the “boobs” one,from last week. HAHA, still makes me laugh. And to have a story related to persons above me, I gave my older sister leviathan……… I didn’t see her for hours, locked in her room she was!

    Also I is desperately studying time traveling, WHY CAN’T SEPTEMBER GET HERE FASTER??!!!!!

  44. 44
    The Joker-la
    April 20th, 2011 02:35

    Also, I already have most of the soundtrack in my head, stuff like “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin and “String Quartet from Whiskey Boot Hill” By Neil Young, maybe get a little Richard Thompson in there, like “Uninhabited Man” or something. And if Tom Waits were somehow incorperated, that would add that touch of weirdness, now wouldn’t it? Plus, there’s a great piece from the score to the movie “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” called “A Song for Charley” that never made it in the film but was in the credits. Go YouTube these songs; their amazing!

  45. 45
    April 20th, 2011 03:07

    Well, I do know of a fanfic (or two) where Alek think’s he’s gay for Dylan.
    They’re oh-so amusing.

    The above is the best Leviathan fanfic (Second best fanfic of any fandom) I’ve ever read. lol

  46. 46
    The Joker-la
    April 20th, 2011 21:03

    Also, may I suggest a wonderful little diddy( no, not THAT kind of diddie) by Stevie Ray Vaughan called Lenny that could work real well somewhere…

  47. 47
    Stuggs the Train-Bard
    April 21st, 2011 00:10

    Ay, Stuggsy here! An ya can’t get rid o’ me, mate, I’m gonna be here for a long fooking time, ya Jerry-Wanker!

    Fook it. Fook you all.

  48. 48
    The Joker-la
    April 21st, 2011 00:12

    @ Stuggs Do you even have a reason you’re on here, or do you just like being a jerk on innocent people’s blogs?

  49. 49
    Stuggs the Train-Bard
    April 21st, 2011 00:14

    Fook you too.

  50. 50
    April 21st, 2011 06:01

    My excitement for Goliath (and Guildwars 2…) are the only things that are going to pull me through my organic chem final. These little teaser things are torture but I love them!! And thanks for the word cloud tip I may be using that in my future writings :D
    And, Stuggs, I’m going to have to second The Joker’s question…

  51. 51
    April 23rd, 2011 20:11

    what exactly does ‘dyslit’ mean? I looked it up on and am now further confused. as for the fan art, the first one is sooooo pretty! second has a quiet beauty, I liked the boob one better. last one is red-face-making but awesome. as for the movie I think it should be made like Sherlock Holmes was. the costuming was great and you felt as if you were really in that time period. also it shouldn’t have modern music. while I love tim burton, helena, and mr. depp I would rather them not be a part of it. they should choose the cast like they did Harry Potter, finding the perfect people for the roles not changing the role for the person.

  52. 52
    April 25th, 2011 23:13

    @Stubbs- I dunno what’s sadder: the fact that you actually TRIED to type in a Cockney accent, or the fact that you wrote “fook”. That word is now tarnished for me. Sigh…..futon u….

    ….and do I even want to know what a Jerry-Wanker is?

    @Bailey-wa: “dyslit”. Dystopian (dys) Literature (lit). Basically what I call a “Bad Future” novel.

  53. 53
    April 25th, 2011 23:17

    And while I’m at it:

    @Fox Scarlen – Howl’s Moving Castle was a book from the 80′s, which was turned into a AWESOME movie (with Christian Bale! AYIEE!). And most of the movies that Studio Ghibli makes are very steampunk, so Leviathan would be perfect!

  54. 54
    Stuggs the Train-Bard
    April 26th, 2011 07:13

    Damn the bloody lot o’ ya! All straight to ‘ell! And fook you, “TheWordMaster”! I’m Scottish, not Cockney!! How dare ya compare me those snooty posh bumrags! I’ll knock ya flat on yer arse, I will!

    Don’t fook with the Stuggs! ‘Specially after ‘ee’s downed a few, ‘ee ‘as!

    @ The Joker-la: I ‘ad a reason t’ be on ‘ere, but ye pissed me off so bad I fergot it, ya bloody Yankee bastard.


  55. 55
    April 26th, 2011 23:28

    @Stuggs: Oh reeeeally? I take that as a challenge then. Allright Mr. Stubbs, I’ll play your little game….

    *Takes out electrice twin beam katana*

    …but you gotta play by MY rules.

    (I have nothing against Scots btw, seeing that I am part Scottish myself. And I would pass the Scotch but, alas, it fell off a cliff into the foamy ocean below.)

  56. 56
    Emma-chan (strawberrycream17)
    April 27th, 2011 08:27

    I can’t thank you enough for featuring my art on here!
    THANK YOU SCOTT-LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    There :)

  57. 57
    April 27th, 2011 09:21

    *points* Looks legitly like a dude. Could be Deryn X’D I don’t know why but I always imagined her being brunette. The actual girl is very pretty ^^ *needs to get her butt working on her own Deryn cosplay for May* Thriffftttt stoorrressssss….

    @Anna: Like seven days later XD But That reminds me of this one roleplay my friend an I did where my character was disguised as a guy in order to hide from the law and she falls in love with a paperboy who goes on the run with her, and he’s suddenly like ‘I think I’m gay for you ;w; ‘ And shes just like *AWKWARD. SILENCE.* XD

  58. 58
    April 27th, 2011 09:22


    This is what I was talking about:

  59. 59
    May 4th, 2011 00:33

    Hmph. Seems as though my electric twin bean katana is enough to silence even the rowdiest of people.

    This, dear folks, is why you don’t mess with nerds. :D

  60. 60
    May 4th, 2011 03:22

    uuuhhh. i found my mouth hanging open when it got broken down for me.! i know i’ve heard of dystopian, but just am still befuddled. ahh! and i agree, don’t be messing with nerds or geeks. i just got glasses and feel quite nerdy/bass-ass.

  61. 61
    May 4th, 2011 22:56

    @bailey-wa- It’s ok. I once thought youtube was a place you could go to watch u2 videos. Yeah, I was a sad little nerd back then…..

    ….and congrats on joining the glasses club. We happen to be so popular that people wear fake glasses just to imitate our awesomeness!

  62. 62
    May 22nd, 2011 00:00

    im really wondering what is going to volger’s reaction when alek and deryn get together…actually id think i’d run away before he goes ballistic…

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