What's Your Favorite Dystopian Novel?

While in high school you may read (or be assigned to read) Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, or Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, all classic examples of the dystopian novel, a sub-genre of science fiction. Perhaps in middle school you read (maybe you were assigned to read) The Giver, by Lois Lowry or City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau . And you may have read Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy and Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Insurgent (soon to be a trilogy), without anyone telling you to. However, if you crave to read more unassigned dystopian fiction, consider the following. You’ll find them in David J’s Place.

Feed, by M.T. Anderson is a love story. Don’t stop reading! Set in a future American, Titus and his friends are on their way to the Moon for Spring Break when Titus meets Violet. She is rather thoughtful and reserved and does not mix well with Titus’ buddies, but he falls for her anyway. His friends think she’s dull and snobbish and she finds them dull and vapid. Both sides are essentially right. Eventually, Violet becomes ill, confronting Titus with a new complication to the romance: sickness is a downer, and he doesn’t know how to cope with it.

But what makes Feed a great novel is its dystopian setting. In this future, most Americans have the internet wired directly into their brains. It’s called The Feed. They can watch movies, hear music, shop and “chat” with each other without moving a muscle because it’s all inside their heads. Sounds wonderful, right? Maybe not. It seems that The Feed has addled the brains of its customers. They are a distracted lot, trying to have a conversation with the person in front of them, while being bombarded by advertisements for discounted clothing through The Feed. Also, American schools have been taken over by corporations who only teach their students how to be good consumers and what they need to know to work for them. So Americans have degenerated into an inarticulate, basically illiterate culture. Even the nation’s President often forgets what he’s saying and calls other world leaders playground names. Yes, it’s a tale whose portents are dire and all too close to present reality. Yet, that’s part of what makes it so much fun to read, because as you read you think: “At least that’s not me.” But one day, in the near future that could be you.

The 2005 movie V for Vendetta was based on a graphic novel written by Alan Moore who also wrote Watchmen. Set in the near future, England is ruled by a heavy handed government called Norsefire, that keep its citizens relatively poor and whose laws call for severe punishments even for social infractions. Evey, a young woman who lives in London, is trying to lead a quiet life when she is stopped by the police for one of those social infractions. They are about to rape her when Evey is saved by a masked vigilante/terrorist known as V. V kidnaps Evey, taking her to his lair, and brings her over to his cause, which is to take down that government buy blowing up the Parliament building. While the social commentary runs thick throughout, the daring acts of V keep it tied to the action-oriented superhero genre.

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Let me know about your favorite dystopian novels.

3 thoughts on “What's Your Favorite Dystopian Novel?

  1. Well I am not sure if it is my favorite, but i have just finished reading Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. It’s about a young adult named Aria who lives inside a city pod because the world they live in is too harsh to live on it’s surface…or so they think. Through some very bad circumstances, she finds herself outside the pods (where they call “the death shop”) when she tries to correct a situation invovling her and a few of her friends and has to learn how to survive with the begrudging help of a savage named Perry. The realizations she comes to greatly rocks her world and she trieas to adapt as well as she can and eventually finds that she has the inner strength she needs to try and get back to a life that was hers and face her enemies. I am hoping that the library will be able to order Rossi’s second book, Through the Ever Night, and watch for her third book, Into the Still Blue coming out in 2014.

  2. “Never Sky” sounds intereting. I’ll have to give it a try one of these days. Thanks!

  3. I’ve heard great things about Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s a nazi-era spy novel about two young girl spies. One is captured and their story is told through letters, as well as clues and secrets embedded within.

    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is another amazing dystopian novel about a seemingly idyllic private school that has dark undertones.

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