Mrs. G. and I are working through the Hunger Games trilogy, as are many around the world. The story of a slave rebellion in a dystopian future America is gripping.
The inspiration for Panem, the brutal dictatorship in which the Capitol forces the oppressed Districts to send children to die in gladiatorial combat, is obviously the Roman Empire. Suzanne Collins, the creator of this world, says her inspiration came from watching a juxtaposition of a reality show and the Iraq war on television.
I have had another strong feeling while listening to the story, though: The Hunger Games is a kind of sequel to Atlas Shrugged.
In Ayn Rand's novel of a dystopian future America, the competent few are besieged by the incompetent many. The competent must run everything and invent everything to maintain the little worlds of the helpless masses. These Atlases carry the world on their shoulders. All they ask is to be unrestricted in making a profit and living as they please. I will not be spoiling the plot to reveal that these Atlases get tired of carrying the world, and shrug it off, to let it collapse into Dark Days.
Atlas Shrugged is the most preposterous story I ever finished, for reasons I have detailed here.
The place these Atlases all sneak off to is an impregnable valley in the Rockies known as Galt's Gulch.
The Capitol of Panem is an impregnable location in the Rockies.
I can see a direct line of continuity between the little city of the competent few who should rule over the incompetent many, and the brutal capital of a police state in which the technologically advanced control the many, whom they regard as incompetent.
I don't mean that Suzanne Collins intended Panem to be derived from Atlas Shrugged. But I can see how the descendents of the intentionally selfish John Galt and Dagny Taggert could become the intentionally cruel President Snow.