Somehow, the social order has gone all topsy-turvy. Instead of the old having power over the young, the young are free to do as they will, and may even have power over the old. This is pretty much inevitably portrayed as a bad thing. The young in question might attempt to build some sort of new society
, or they might degenerate into complete barbarism
, or there might be a conflict between the former and the latter
. The most famous example is Lord of the Flies
, but it's not too uncommon, since it's a useful device to explain why teenagers are going on whirlwind adventures. Teenage Wasteland settings tend to be rather dark, since they often involve children and teenagers fighting for their lives
, and quite possibly doing awful things to each other. Children Are Innocent
has no place in a Teenage Wasteland.
There are a few ways this might come to be:
- A group of teenagers are lost, stranded, or otherwise isolated from society (e.g. Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale).
- Adults simply do not exist any more. They are gone, probably because of something that was Only Fatal to Adults (e.g. Gone, Shade's Children)
- A society where the old nominally still hold power, but groups of youths have become too powerful to be truly controlled. (e.g. A Clockwork Orange).
- A society where the young and the old coexist, but the young call the shots (e.g. Logan's Run).
This is not There Are No Adults
. That trope is for when society is as it always was, and adults are still around in the background, but they don't interfere with the goings-on of the children protagonists.
More examples please?