Nenia Campbell's Blog - Posts Tagged "books"

Apparently, I get a blog now. Depending on how annoying you find me and my posts, this could be a glorious super-happy-fun-time thing, or an oh-no-it's-the-end-of-days thing.

Because I'm apt to screw up anything even vaguely technology-related, I'm doing a test post. And what better post to test than one with a meme about... BOOKS?

The BBC apparently believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here:*

Bold the books you've read; italicize the ones started but not finished.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy.
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

*List is not actually affiliated with the BBC. Spoilers!
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Published on October 26, 2012 14:07 • 254 views • Tags: books, meme, reading, test
My darling Louisa made me this banner to celebrate my next victim WIP.

It's so pretty. *_____*

I'm about halfway through revising and editing, and should have the new book up and ready for purchase within the next few weeks! Can you guess what genre it is?
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Published on October 28, 2012 13:20 • 158 views • Tags: books, publishing, wips, writing
My reaction when someone likes one of my reviews on GoodReads:

My reaction when someone comments on one of my reviews on GoodReads:

My reaction when someone rates one of my books on GoodReads:

My reaction when someone reviews one of my books on GoodReads:
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Published on October 29, 2012 11:36 • 281 views • Tags: books, random, reading, squee, writing
Seeing as how I love both reading and writing, you'd think that English would have been my favorite subject back in high school. Nope! In fact, in many cases, it was my least favorite class. Why? Because of the choices of books my school implemented in the curriculum.

I feel like in order for something to be classified as worthy of our time, it has to be either (a) depressing as eff (case in point: Sophocles, R+J, John Steinbeck, Brave New World, etc.), (b) disturbing as eff (case in point: American Psycho, Clockwork Orange, 1984, Titus Andronicus, etc.), or boring as eff (case in point: all the other books).

And what is the result? A whole lotta high school kids who, under the books section of their Facebooks and Myspaces (assuming they are even literate enough to get to this point), have written things like:

"i dont read."

"books r gay."

"twilite and fiftey shades of grey i gess. i dont rlly red much, tho."

"whats a book? oh u meen movies."

Every time you say these things, a hoverball kitty deflates. :(

Kids learn to associate books (which they hate) with school (which they hate even more), and exams (which they hate most of all). The result is a knee-jerk Pavlovian reaction that induces cold sweats, test-taking anxiety, and the disturbing feeling that somehow, somewhere, your junior English teacher is lurking behind you like a vulture, waiting for your head to turn even slightly so she can bust you for cheating.

1. Antigone.
Why on earth would you choose this play? What kind of a message is this to send to young women? If you stand up for your beliefs, you'll die- so you better get your ass back to the kitchen? Also, it's depressing as hell (all the Sophocles plays are, and really, it's a play: it should be seen on stage, and not read in some stuffy English classroom.

Suggested replacement: Lysistrata.

Which brings us to:

2. Pretty much anything by William Shakespeare.
He is a playwright. Plays are meant to be seen and not read. I hate Romeo and Juliet; I get why they teach it, since it's one of the few classic works teens actually feel simpatico with, it really sends a bad message. I am appalled by how many people consider Romeo and Juliet the "ultimate" love story. Then again, I'm appalled by how many people are saying the same thing about The Book that Shall Not Be Named.

Suggested replacement(s): The Taming of the Shrew (paired with 10 Things I Hate About you, ofc) and Twelfth Night. Also, poetry by John Dunne. He's my favorite.

Or, conversely, teach Romeo and Juliet, and then juxtapose it against Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. ("This is how it's done, ladies. Don't marry the first guy who tells you that you're hot- especially if his wedding vows could also be read as a suicide pact.")

3. Candide.
I had to read this book twice- once in college, once in high school. I disliked it equally both times. It's not fun. In fact, it's pretty much the ANTITHESIS of fun. The book basically makes fun of poor Leibniz's philosophies of optimism. Maybe it's just me, but Voltaire kind of sounds like an @$$h*le. And a bitter one, at that. I certainly wouldn't invite him to my parties. Maybe that's why the French tossed him in jail. Maybe he was going around telling people that this wasn't the best of all possible words, and would find themselves afflicted with syphilis, multiple gang-rapes, and having to settle for less. Hooray?

Suggested replacement: Don Quixote. It's just as satirical, and provides just as much of a running commentary, but it's fun! Adventures, swashbuckling, loose women, a fat guy on a donkey- this book has everything. And the best part is, the first book is light-hearted and funny, and the second book is bitter and jaded. There's something for everyone!

4. Pretty much anything by John Steinbeck, but especially Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's fantastic that Steinbeck manages to capture the voices of the disenfranchised folk of the dustbowl times, but a lot of high school students aren't going to want to read about a bunch of old fogeys whining about how their crops won't grow. Lord knows, I was bored stiff, and kept sneaking Stephen King under the table until it eventually got me in trouble. Teach Steinbeck in college- especially graduate school; there, at least, the students will have some idea of what it means to be dirt poor and exploited.

Suggested replacement: Pretty much anything by Willa Cather. She also writes about the American frontier, but her characters are far more likable and younger, too. Her writing is absolutely gorgeous, and she could write anything from a poignant love story to an epic slice-of-life. Start the kiddies with My Antonia (especially after R+J), and then when you've got 'em hooked, spring Death Comes for the Archbishop.

5. Brave New World.
I really don't like this book. It's one of my least favorite dystopian novels. In fact, for the longest time, I thought I hated science-fiction because I couldn't stand the crap they were force-feeding me in my Satire and Humanities courses in high school. What the hell. Brave New World, 1984, Cat's Cradle- I don't want to read that sh*z! I'm in high school for god's sake; don't you think I'm depressed enough already?

Suggested replacement(s): Blindness (it's foreign and it's dystopian- two birds with one stone! Give them culture while scaring the poo out of them!), Anthem (it precedes both BNW and 1984, and it's super short), The Road, and Oryx and Crake. If you haven't read Oryx and Crake, check that sucker out right now, as well as it's sequel, Year of the Flood. I can't wait for the third book. I CAN'T-

6. The Miracle Worker.
Now hold on a second, you're thinking. The Miracle Worker is about Helen Keller; surely you're not about to discriminate against a deaf person! A deaf AND blind person who taught herself to speak!

Of course not! But instead of reading a shitty, hackneyed play about Helen Keller, why not actually read about Helen Keller? She wrote her own book about her own life- and a whole lot of it appears to have gotten lost in translation (which doesn't really say much for the hearing/seeing world, if you ask me).

Suggested recommendation: The Story of My Life. I always thought she was interesting, but I fell in love with her a little more when I found out via Lies My History Teacher Told Me that Helen Keller was also a feminist AND an activist, who fought for the rights of other minorities caught on the fringe! What a bad-ass!

7. The Crucible, Inherit the wind.
[Comment has been deleted for violating the English language and pretty much all sense of common decency- rather like these books]

Suggested replacement:
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Published on October 30, 2012 12:36 • 523 views • Tags: books, feminism, literature, random, rants, reading, required-reading
I have noticed a disturbing trend in fiction these days: a glorified and romanticized portrayal of abusive men as some kind of romantic ideal. It's becoming inescapable and, frankly, it makes me sick. Physically sick.

Now I'm not saying that these issues should be swept under the table. I know people who have experienced these types of things, and talking- telling your story- can be one of the best means of catharsis. I would honestly be glad to see more books about rape and abuse, if only to shed light on just how these sorts of vicious cycles come to fruition. Because knowing is half the battle. But portraying Joe Rapist as being sexy because he's pretty and rolling in money is not okay. Rape is still rape, whether you're rich or poor, beautiful or ugly.

But no always means no.

I'll be honest. Byronic heroes are fun to write. It's boring writing about nice people because nice people generally don't eff up their lives or the lives of the people around them. Mostly they just do stuff like chilling with their friends and family, going to work and/or school, and getting on with their own lives. This is not quite so interesting to read about in fiction. I like writing about disturbed characters because they have so much depth, and it's fun to explore their personalities, and find out what makes them tick.

But I also know the difference between fantasy and reality, and 99% of the men I read about in romance novels, I would never, ever date (Mr. Tilney and Mr. Darcy being exceptions, ofc). What worries me is that a lot of young women- and even not-so-young women- don't seem to be able to tell the difference. They get a false set of expectations propagating outmoded patriarchal chauvinism not much different than what we see happening in some third world countries right now. I see otherwise intelligent and savvy women date men who make them miserable, and they think it's true love because they've got physical chemistry and nothing else. Really?

I sometimes get asked if I would ever date any of the characters in my own stories. The answer is, of course, a flat-out no. In fact, if I ever (god forbid) encountered anyone like them, I'd most likely run the other way. I make a point of condemning the male characters in my books for their bad actions and insensitive choices. A point that some seem determined to ignore. One of the critical plotpoints in my book Cloak and Dagger actually revolves around the female main character being unable to forgive an irreparable act of cruelty.

Rape is not romantic. Abuse is not romantic. Stalking is not romantic. Fear is not romantic. Control is not romantic. Subjugation is not romantic. Rather than using these attributes to portray a man as "broken" "damaged" and "tormented", romance novels should focus on the tragic consequences that arise from these sorts of relationships, and just how difficult forgiveness and redemption really are to achieve.

The fact that these stories walk hand-in-hand with purity myths and slut-shaming just makes me ill.
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Published on November 04, 2012 22:23 • 282 views • Tags: books, feminism, literature, rants
Banned books I've read

Most requested for banning from 1990-2000.

(Bolded titles are ones that I've read, italicised ones are ones that I've started and not finished.)

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry

It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
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Published on November 15, 2012 01:32 • 132 views • Tags: books, meme, reading
1. Total number of books I've owned:
Thousands. I am not joking. Literally, thousands. I probably have a couple hundred stockpiled in my room right now.

2. The last book I bought:
The last two books I received were (FREE!) ARCs by mail.

The Winter Palace, which is historical fiction about Catherine the Great and

Heat, which is nonfiction and about the world's hottest places and things.

Needless to say, I have high expectations for both.

3. The last book I read:
Brain on Fire, a really interesting memoir about a woman with a newly discovered and very rare autoimmune disease.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

...1. Jane Eyre. Because it really spoke to me, as an extremely lonely adolescent with a prolonged awkward phase.


...3. Fire and Hemlock. I've had the same copy since middle school and reread it every few years or so. It's just as good each time.

...4. White Oleander. One of the first 'grown up' books I read. I read this in middle school and loved it. My mom bought it for me new, in hardcover, and I have the same copy to this day.

...5. Ella Enchanted. Every time I feel myself giving up on happy endings, I read this book. It renews my faith in the triumph of the human spirit.

5. Tag five victims people and have them fill this out...

Well? Anybody volunteer as tribute?
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Published on November 26, 2012 17:30 • 129 views • Tags: books, meme, reading
We all know her. She's the girl we love to hate.

Wondering if the character in the book you're reading is an Uber-Sue? Or concerned about your own writing? Take this fun Mary Sue Litmus Test to find out.

I'm in the clear! My characters passed. :)
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Published on November 29, 2012 20:46 • 345 views • Tags: books, mary-sues, publishing, tests, writing
1. What's on your current book wishlist? If too many to list, describe what kind of things are on it.

EVERYTHING. No, seriously, take a look at that shit. The only genres I don't really read all that much are chick-lit, contemp. romance, westerns, thrillers, horror, and inspirational.

The genres I have the most of are probably science-fiction, gothic, fantasy, paranormal romance, historical romance, literature (classic and modern), and young-adult.

2. If you could get just one of those as a gift right now, which would it be?

Taming the Forest King. It's out of print(!) and I despair of ever getting my hands on a copy. But Wendy's review of it made the wants reach a dangerous new high so MUST HAVE. ;~;

Also, pretty much anything on the indie-books-I-desperately-want list.

3. Are there any books in your collection that you want a different or secondary copy of?

Apparently there's a graphic-novel edition of Soulless. WANT.

4. When is the last time you sold/donated/otherwise got rid of books you didn't want anymore?

Today. I get rid of books ALLLLL the time. Usually, I donate them to the library or to one of my local high schools, but I also make piles for friends and family members based on what I know they like to read.

5. Do you have any books written in a language other than your native tongue?

I have a couple books in Spanish. :)

P.S. Cloak and Dagger is now back online and available for purchase. The typos and formatting should be fixed now!
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Published on December 12, 2012 15:05 • 163 views • Tags: books, meme, random, reading
I used to hate science-fiction because the only examples I'd ever read were the horrible dystopian novels that I'd been assigned as required reading in school (1984, Cat's Cradle, Brave New World, etc.). I thought the entire genre consisted of those, and of the horrendously bad space-opera that people portray nerds reading--the kind like the Barsoom series, except with skimpier outfits and trashier writing.

It wasn't until my freshman year of college that I really got into the science-fiction and fantasy genres. I made a point to read pretty much everything I could get my hands on, and because of this, I was soon able to tell the "good" from the "bad" (at least where my own opinion is concerned).

A lot of people are confused by the distinction between science-fiction and fantasy, and tend to lump them together in one solid group (i.e. scifi-fantasy). Even though Robert Heinlein's writing unfailingly ends up pissing me off with its hackneyed prose and sexist themes, he summed up the difference between these two genres the best with his quote: One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. Basically, if the technology in question could be designed by an advanced race with the necessary skills, even if said race lives on another dimension/planet, the genre is probably science-fiction, which is why my own shelf for this genre, which mockingly thumbs its nose at Field of Dreams, is called "if-we-build-it-they-will-come."


Space Opera is pretty much my favorite subgenre of science-fiction. The bad ones are laughably bad, but the good ones are completely amazeballs and can lead to better world-building than even the best fantasy. I grew up with the Animorphs series, which is a kid-friendly sci-fi about evil aliens that take over the brains of their hosts, and the teens who try to stop them. Sound familiar? I'm pretty sure Stephenie Meyer was an Animorphs fan, because her Souls are a lot like K.A. Applegate's Yeerks.

Space Opera takes place in space. Duh. There are space-ships, aliens, interstellar traveling, and it's basically a laser-light show x 10000000. Sometimes these various races are at war with one another, and sometimes the writers take a more anthropological approach, where visiting races learn compelling facts about the native inhabitants of the planet(s) in question.

Nenia's Favorite Space-Opera:
(o) Grass by Sheri S. Tepper
(o) The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
(o) Stardoc by S.L. Viehl
(o) Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
(o) Ilium by Dan Simmons
(o) Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair


I call this shelf 'help-help-i'm-being-repressed.' A dystopian society is the opposite of a utopia. Sometimes, it is even a utopia gone wrong (most famously, The Hunger Games, where the Games are meant to deter violence and revolution, and end up causing it in spades). Sometimes the dystopia is a society run by a tyrannical and oppressive government. Sometimes it is an anarchic free-for-all, frequently in the wake of an apocalypse, with nut-jobs running around and killing whomever they please. And sometimes, there is a single oppressed group, such as clones, or robots, or altered races. And sometimes, most terrifyingly, we become our own prisoners through excessive fucking around with science, or too heavy a reliance on technology.

However, a dystopian society does not even necessitate the presence of advanced science. Sometimes just putting a bunch of dysfunctional people together and then doing the literary equivalent of shaking up a bunch of beetles in a bottle to see if they'll fight is enough. Lord of the Flies, High Rise, and Battle Royale all fall into this category of dystopian novels, which I call "survivalist" fiction.

Nenia's Favorite Dystopians:
(o) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
(o) The Road by Cormac McCarthy
(o) Under the Dome by Stephen King
(o) The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
(o) Wither by Lauren DeStefano
(o) Scored by Lauren McLaughlin


Alternatively known as, "Ahhhhh, we're all going to die!" This genre can also be tagged as pre-apocalytpic and apocalyptic, but no matter what you call it, all books in this subgenre pretty much boil down to the same thing, which is ultimately the end of the world as we know it.

You might think that there are only so many ways that one could destroy the world, but you would be wrong. The possibilities are endless! Plagues, robots, aliens, zombies, technology, genetic-manipulation, dinosaurs--these are just some of the tools writers have used in this genre in the past.*

*It's important to note that while dystopians and post-apocalytpics are often used in tandem, they are not the same thing at all, and caution should be exercised when classifying science-fiction novels with these terms if you are not personally familiar with them.

Nenia's Favorite Post-Apocalyptic:
(o) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
(o) The Stand by Stephen King
(o) Cell by Stephen King
(o) Blindness by Jose Saramago
(o) The Dawning by Hugh B. Cave


Cyberpunk novels frequently take place in the distant future and virtual-reality and/or video-games and/or the internet are all frequent and heavily used motifs in this subgenre.

After space-opera, this subgenre of science-fiction is probably my favorite. What can I say? I'm a recovering video-game addict living out my fantasies vicariously through the mode of reading.

Nenia's Favorite Cyberpunk:
(o) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
(o) Heroes Die by Matthew Stover
(o) Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane


Steampunk is the opposite of cyberpunk: it features comparatively primitive technology powered by steam or gears or ether, generally featuring nineteenth-century/early twentieth-century-era technology and terminology. This typically features a fun fusion of historical-fiction and science, though it can also take a more fantastical approach, like Soulless by Gail Carriger.

Nenia's Favorite Steampunk:
(o) The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
(o) His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
(o) A Matter of Circumstances and Celludrones by Claire Robyns
(o) anything by Ekaterina Sedia


Near future is exactly what it sounds like. It is a science-fiction novel that takes place in a foreseeable future, and builds off of the technology that we already have available. This makes it all the more realistic and frightening, IMHO.

Nenia's Favorite Near Future:
(o) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
(o) Contact by Carl Sagan
(o) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
(o) Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton


This is basically a pretext for a modern-day character to go back in the past (or into the future) and still have a narrative that is accessible to us humble twentieth and twenty-first centurions. I'm going to assume that you all know what time-travel is (trust me, I'm the Doctor), and it's such a fusion of other genres (fantasy, science-fiction, cyberpunk, dystopian, historical-fiction) that I'm not going to bother to go into it in much detail.

However, one of the best time-traveling novels I have ever read is by my favorite author, Sheri S. Tepper, and is called Beauty. It literally contains elements of everything I just described, and is such an aching portrayal of the trade-off between magic and mystery, and science and knowledge.


Before science-fiction was really established as a genre, there were still some books that fell under this umbrella and are now considered the pioneers to shaping the genre. They tend to be more speculative than scientific, and harbor many elements of fantasy, as well.

Nenia's Favorite Precursors:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

And while I'm not personally a fan, Flatland and anything by Jules Verne also fall under this category.

Hope you enjoyed! Live long, and prosper! ♥
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Published on January 10, 2013 19:32 • 153 views • Tags: books, literature, random, rants, reading, science-fiction