Steph is probably going to commit some sort of thought crime, right now:
The series producer, Michael Boughen, who also worked on the film adaptation discussed the powerful connection audiences feel to the well-loved story.
“Tomorrow When the War Began has connected to so many Australians since the book was first published in 1993,” he said.
We couldn’t agree more!
Tomorrow, When the War Began, one of Stephanie’s LEAST FAVOURITE EVER Australian YA books, is apparently going to become a tv series!
(It is not Liz’s least favourite anything because she got a few chapters into the first book when she was 13, then stopped reading because it was awful. But ask her about that time she had to read So Much To Tell You in year 9 and it was incredibly triggery!)
There was a movie adaptation as recently as 2010! But this is not your usual ‘nerdy existential you’ll ruin it’ despair. OH NO. This is ‘this book series was written to capitulate on the fear of the Yellow Peril and to turn it into a tv series is to make a tv series based on the premise that Australia is at risk of the invading Asian hordes to the North, why, why must you do this to me’ kind of despair.
No Award, Steph hates the Tomorrow series. She has written about it previously with links and rants. You don’t need to read her go on about it again. (If Tomorrow When the War Began has connected with many Australians, what does that even mean?!!!!) Instead, No Award brings you:
Reasons to adapt Tomorrow again
- Political and cultural milieu open to a bit of satisfying Yellow Peril propaganda
- Probably a theme endorsed by our government
- Need more white people on Aussie TV
- Need to meet an Asian person quota, so it’s good to have them as the baddies
- Need to promote tourism to country Victoria; racism and parochialism is effective for this
- Fear of immigrants needs a bit of boosting in the wake of Tony
- Distraction for the masses from the fact that in spite of global attention to refugee crisis absolutely nothing’s changed about Nauru etc
- Let newly arrived Syrian refugees know their place
- #loveOzYA, even the really racist parts
- Really need to do more to promote white male YA authors
- There is only one work of Australian YA worth adapting. Really.
- With Abbott gone, there was a risk that Indonesia might stop hating us
Let’s consult with Tiny Mood Stephanie on the topic:
2 thoughts on “Reasons to adapt Tomorrow again”
I really liked Tomorrow when the war began. Sorry. It is one of the few YA novels that show that fighting and killing has an actual cost on those who do it. That “Being a hero” means that you are maiming and killing real human beings. Through my eyes, the soldiers of the invaders aren’t painted as evil – even the villains of the piece (an aussie schoolteacher, an invader prison warden) aren’t particularly villainous. The race of the invaders doesn’t seem to matter much to me – set the same story in 1770 where the invaders are british, then again in 2015 where the invaders are American and then again in 2025 where they are BEM – the same story could be told. Or locate the story in Afganistan (Soviet invasion, US Invasion, NATO invasion, UN Invasion or various civil wars)
To me, the protagonist never demonizes her opponents (Despite the obvious incentives to do so)
I have to assume you haven’t read much YA, because I can’t think of any YA novels set in a war that don’t deal with the cost of fighting and killing, whether it’s a fantasy setting like the Hunger Games or a Canada that’s overrun by dragons, or a realistic one.
The race of the invaders matters because these stories aren’t published in a vacuum. They’re written and consumed in a specific cultural setting. That’s particularly true in the case of fiction — even spec fic — in a realistic setting. In this case, Australia has a long history of spurious fear of Asian invasion, including fiction going back to the 19th century portraying Plucky Australian Kids fighting off Asian invaders. The only thing Marsden does that’s novel, aside from the contemporary setting, is making the hero a girl.
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