Let's not go back to the Hunger Games

Apparently, author Suzanne Collins is writing a prequel to her Hunger Games trilogy.

Let's be clear that I'm a fan of what Collins built with the Hunger Games. I loved the first Hunger Games novel and film, and I thought the second book was a decent extension of the universe. The last films were atrocious — a genuine waste of time, and the last book felt rushed, with giant social changes that were largely unearned.

But I refuse to read any prequels set in this world, and I refuse to watch any movies set in this world. Dystopian prequels are just about the least interesting plot known to humanity: things were bad, and then they got worse. The end. Perhaps it's possible for some genius to make a dystopian prequel worth reading — George Orwell's 1982, maybe? — but I don't want to encourage this kind of thing on general principle.

Many years ago, in fact almost exactly a decade now, I interviewed author China Mieville. We were talking about some reboot idea that wound up not getting made — a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot — and Mieville suggested a consumer movement he called "Let's Not Go."

Even then, in the years before summers packed with inessential sequels and other franchise maintenance, Mieville argued that audiences needed to look corporate entertainment squarely in the eye and say, firmly but directly, "no thank you!"

"I'm trying to propagate this as a meme in geek culture," Mieville said at the time. "How about we don't go and see it and don't talk about it incessantly? Because it's just shit."

Of course, that Buffy reboot didn't happen, and most of these reboots are swiftly forgotten. I made a choice to not review the ghoulish To Kill a Mockingbird sequel that Harper Lee's estate forced out and that turned out to be the right choice. Everyone has forgotten about the book.

I'm making the call, here, with apologies to Mieville for taking his idea and running with it: Let's Not Go back to the Hunger Games universe. Let it lie. We don't need any novels thick with dumb foreshadowing about stories we've already heard. We don't need another plot that fills in gaps that no reader ever wondered about. We just don't need franchise fodder like this in our bookstores.

I'm not interested. Are you?