Energy is prized in young author’s dystopian future

Updated: 2014-02-16T03:53:56Z


The Kansas City Star

The dream of many young writers has become reality for Bethany Taylor.

The 2010 University of Kansas graduate, writing as Bethany Hagen, has published her first novel, “Landry Park,” a dystopian young adult drama set in Kansas City 200 years from now.

Taylor discussed the book during a reception last week at the Central Resource Library in Overland Park.

The book concerns young Madeline Landry and her fatigue at being forced to showcase herself at a series of debutante events.

While the teenager would rather head off to the university, she’s also a descendant of the inventor of the Cherenkov lantern, the radioactive-but-home-friendly energy source from which her family’s wealth derives. Her parents insist she start a family and manage the Landry estate.

One phrase being used to describe “Landry Park” is “Gone With the Nuclear Wind.” In Madeline’s world, class is defined not only by a family’s wealth but also by its choice of energy.

Since a treaty following the last war barred carbon emissions, the poor are defined by their noisy miniature wind turbines.

Members of the middle class can afford solar power.

For Madeline’s family and others of their standing, nuclear energy is the preferred choice with which to light their ballrooms. The nation’s nuclear needs, however, are seen to by an untouchable caste known as the Rootless, and the daily news feed is full of stories suggesting its members are growing tired with their lot.

“Landry Park” has been published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Young adults, Taylor said, find much to like in dystopian fiction, most familiar today through the “Hunger Games” series yet continually made fresh by many new authors, whose numbers now include herself.

The genre “allows you to look obliquely at social issues, so it’s a safe place to examine things such as the responsibilities of people who have wealth,” said Taylor, who is an information specialist at the Johnson County Library’s Corinth Branch.

“Teenagers are also drawn to that landscape, as it represents a place where they can have a lot of power,” Taylor said.

“But it’s also where they can explore coming-of-age questions such as, ‘How do I reject things?’ and ‘How do I forge my own identity?’ 

Madeline Landry’s adventures would seem to continue; “Landry Park” is Vol. 1 in a three-book contract.

To learn more about “Landry Park,” go to

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to

Deal Saver Subscribe today!


The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here