There are underlying themes in Those Who Hunt Wolves that relate to current, real-world events and happenings. Survival and Bureaucratic/Technological Control stood out to me most as I was reading through this fantastic novel. Be aware that this article discusses components of the book that contain spoilers.
Dystopian Theme of Survival/Every Man for Himself
One of the main themes throughout Those Who Hunt Wolves is an underlying dystopian theme, specifically survival. This theme is rampant throughout the novel; present in both Shepard Black’s narrative (he has multiple hits on his head from multiple people/agencies; he’s also on the hunt for Barbara, an unstable Wolf who has gone rogue) and throughout the story as a whole (Barbara is being hunted, James Ashcroft has created a group called The Wolves to answer to and protect him, and McCray was deemed the new steward of The Blackout and subsequently lost it after outsourcing it for programming, which puts him in danger). Those Who Hunt Wolves is a prime example of dystopian fiction with the underlying theme of survival.
Nearly every character introduced in Those Who Hunt Wolves is fighting for survival; in the pursuit of it, revenge and retribution rear their ugly heads and a criminal underworld comes to light through the story. Characters alter their appearances and identities, flee their homes, and will kill anyone who poses a threat to them. With respect to the real-world, it can be argued that the theme of survival relates to the world today in several ways; the recent events in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 pandemic, significant weather events that have killed thousands around the world (floods, tornadoes, etc.), and conflicts between countries.
Bureaucratic and Technological Control/Big Brother
Perhaps the more prevalent theme within Those Who Hunt Wolves is Bureaucratic and Technological Control; the entire story centers around “The Blackout”; readers don’t find out exactly what it is well into the novel. Readers come to learn that The Blackout is an uncrackable server that stores data from (perceived) dangerous intellectual property; technical espionage to ensure the safety and protection of citizens, as determined by the government. In a similar vein as the dystopian theme of survival mentioned above, Those Who Hunt Wolves also features and intricately connects predominant themes of government and technological control through The Blackout.
Many people already believe in the concept of Big Brother and subsequently in both bureaucratic and technological control; with the near-constant emergence of the latest technology, devices are able to pinpoint locations, track your movements, and predict consumer behaviours. Around the world, numerous countries are adopting a form of a ‘vaccine passport’ for the Covid-19 vaccine; countless people may argue this is a form of bureaucratic and technological control.
Those Who Hunt Wolves by Harrison Taylor is a novel that features and explores dystopian themes, particularly those of survival and bureaucratic and technological control. These themes connect to real-world events and happenings, such as recent events in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 pandemic, and conflicts between countries.
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