The Sword and Laser discussion

Dystopian for Adults?

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex | 77 comments (I assume that dystopian is allowed in an SF/F forum and I wouldn't know who else to ask but anyway...)

Maybe it's due to who I follow on booktube and on book blogs but I am seriously sick of hearing/reading about teenagers fighting back saga against the gov and all that stuff that happens in dystopians.

Surely, a dyatopian world affects every one in a book but all we seem to see is the teenager finding courage and fighting back. Surely an adult, especially one with a family, would most likely be that one's to start a rebellion in such a society.

So, long story short; what adult (if there is) books, that are dystopian and are actually about adults and our protagonist is an adult, are there?

Thankies in advance!! =)

message 2: by Louie (last edited Aug 07, 2014 11:10PM) (new)

Louie (rmutt1914) | 878 comments Killian pretty much covered all of the usually recommended dystopian novels. Here are a few I enjoyed...

The book that sparked my interest in dystopian stories was The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, which was a retelling of his earlier novel, Against the Fall of Night. I would also recommend Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, which is actually alt-history dystopian, if you want to get specific. And really the only PKD that I have enjoyed, so far. Another classic of the genre would be A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. It just might blow your mind.

EDIT: Can't believe I forgot, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Duh. And the Silo Trilogy, starting with Wool.

Also, I agree that BookTube is highly focused on dystopian YA. I wish they, as a group, would move onto something new.

message 3: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1154 comments S.M. Stirling has an interesting series that's a sort of dystopia, 1st book Dies the Fire. It's pretty much all adult main characters. And there's Hugh Howey's Wool. Also Gene Wolfe's The New Sun books which read like fantasy but are a dystopia really - though the main character is a youth it's nothing like a YA novel.

I know there's more but I'm drawing a blank now.

message 4: by Joel (new)

Joel | 235 comments I recently read Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I would say it is a horror novel with dystopian elements. Events take place that change how everyone lives in order to survive. I really enjoyed it and found it darn creepy. Warning though, there is a decent amount of foul language including frequent use of the f-word.

message 5: by artofstu (last edited Aug 01, 2014 03:51PM) (new)

artofstu | 139 comments Already mentioned, but Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey. I would also recommend his latest book,Sand Omnibus.

message 6: by Ken (last edited Aug 01, 2014 04:09PM) (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Gene Wolfe. Severian starts out as a late teen, but the story is not YA and many adults even struggle with the vocabulary, philosophical depth and scope of the story. In fact, it's safe to say it is the anti-YA. Themes of death, justice, history, language, art, legacy, religion, class and status, geography and ecology, technology, folklore. All within. Never does a curse word appear, but many archaic (and not invented!) words grace those pages which have not been used in a millennium.

I warn you though, once you've read Wolfe your conceptions will be shattered and you may find all other SF lacking in comparison.
The Shadow of the Torturer

Also, Jack Vance! Tales of the Dying Earth: The Dying Earth/The Eyes of the Overworld/Cugel's Saga/Rhialto the Marvellous

message 7: by John (new)

John (johnred) Harlan Ellison's written some great dystopias:

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
A Boy and His Dog & "Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

As has Margaret Atwood:
The Handmaid's Tale
Oryx and Crake

Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is a little different. Not sure it QUITE qualifies as dystopia, but kind of?

message 8: by Jack (last edited Aug 02, 2014 07:25AM) (new)

Jack (wineontheveldt) The Gunslinger by King. Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon. Infinite Jest by Wallace.

message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura Birks (littlebigsis) | 2 comments I'd also second Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'. I read this at A-Level and remember being blown away by it. While not normally something I would have read the class was encouraged to break out of their comfort zone as it were and try something new, then discuss it with the class. I think another dystopian novel mentioned at the time was Angela Carter's 'Heroes and Villains' which I did eventually read. While I didn't get on with it as well as 'The Handmaid's Tale' it did bring up some interesting avenues for discussion later on in the class.

message 10: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments I guess Gravity's Rainbow would be an interesting choice, since it pertains to a dystopia that almost was. Nice suggestion.

message 11: by Alicja (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 63 comments Less of a traditional dystopia is also The Lathe of Heaven, but its a fascinating read.

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2828 comments Jack wrote: "The Gunslinger by King. Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon. Infinite Jest by Wallace."

All these. Also We by Zamyatin.

Or try Noise by Darin Bradley for teens that are probably not exactly heroes. :)

message 13: by Alan (new)

Alan | 534 comments I feel like a lot of adult SF could be classified as dystopic. I'd say that John Brunner specialized in it, for example: Stand on Zanzibar.

If that one doesn't work for you because it's about a world rendered dystopic by environmental pressure rather than government action and you want more of adults fighting a repressive regime, how about Heinlein's novella Revolt in 2100?

This one might be a little obscure -- Of Men and Monsters -- but I don't know if you get much more dystopic than people reduced to living like cockroaches in the walls of aliens' houses.

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2828 comments Alan wrote: "I feel like a lot of adult SF could be classified as dystopic. "


message 15: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I think This Perfect Day doesn't get nearly enough love. It's got some troublesome parts, but absolutely blew my mind. I wish I could say why, but that would be a spoiler.

message 16: by Axion (last edited Aug 29, 2014 01:41PM) (new)

Axion (axionsalvo) | 30 comments I second John Brunner both The Sheep Look Up and what I've read of Stand on Zanzibar have been truly excellent.

Riddley Walker is a very interesting dystopia, well written, but takes some getting used to the language.

The Death of Grass is yet another top quality dystopia, this time the worlds food is running out...

Personally I did not like this one but Blindness is a well regarded piece of dystopian fiction.

Last one, but my favourite by far, Mockingbird is a criminally underrated masterpiece.

message 18: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3834 comments Probably the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds would qualify. If you think a genocidal machine race taking out spacefaring species is dystopic.

Come to think of it, the Berserker books by Saberhagen would probably qualify as well.

message 19: by Steve (new)

Steve | 15 comments Wool is great and features adults. King's "The Stand." These immediately come to mind.

message 20: by David (last edited Dec 03, 2014 11:23AM) (new)

David (dbigwood) An older book is The Iron Heel by Jack London.

A newer work not yet mentioned is The Telling by Le Guin. A woman has left Earth because of the theocracy that strictly rules only to wind up on a strictly materialistic planet. Two dystopias in one book. One of my favorite books by her.

message 21: by Joey (new)

Joey (mostlyjoe) To this day the horror of social dystopia or false utopia like Brave New World remains my favorite.

back to top