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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > 12 Dystopian Novel everyone should read...

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message 1: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments Dystopian Novels

Discuss...


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I thought The Road was amazing and depressing. The Handmaid's Tale is excellent. There are some good classics on the list and a few I haven't read.

Off the top of my head, the following should have also made the cut:
World Made by Hand
Y: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book One
A Canticle for Leibowitz


message 3: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments The Atwood book was excellent. I love her work.


message 4: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments from that list i've read the road (which i loved) and a brave new world.


message 5: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Feb 24, 2011 02:08PM) (new)

Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) I had meant to read World War Z at one point and just never did. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately...), most of my experience with dystopian has been YA.


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments I've actually read 4 of them, but 3 were quite awhile ago that I should re read them.

The Road
Fahrenheit 451
Brave New World
1984


message 7: by Ken (new)

Ken (playjerist) | 721 comments Bind together a week’s worth of transcripts of Fox News’ prime time lineup and there’s your dystopian novel.

If Winston Smith reads that, he’ll be begging to return to Oceania.


message 8: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Feb 24, 2011 02:16PM) (new)

Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) Oh I have read 1984, but that was quite some time ago. Didn't see it on the list though.


message 9: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
Ugh, Huffington Post. I'm not going to watch a slideshow when a bulleted list would suffice.

Worth reading:
The Road
Handmaid's Tale
1984

Fahrenheit 451 is worth reading if you're 12 or 13. I'm not sure it has much to offer someone who has already read several dystopian novels.


message 10: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments I’ve read a few of the books listed. I too, should give them a re-read and I like dystopian novels. Like Barb, I seem to have read Brave New World, The Chrysalids (loved it) and 1984 in the same year in high school, must be a Canadian thing. I really liked The Road, but it’s actually my least favourite by McCarthy.

I’ve read a few of Margaret Atwood’s novels and I’ve never really warmed to her. I can’t figure out why. I can’t deny she’s a great writer, her stories actually appeal to me but I just can’t get into them. I’ve tried at least four. I spanned my Atwood readings over several years too, thinking maybe I needed to be a bit older to appreciate them. No luck though. I think I might get kicked out of Canada for that!


message 11: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Hey KD. Where you been?


message 12: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Geez sorry. Hope it gets better.


message 13: by Phoenix (new)

Phoenix (phoenixapb) | 1619 comments *offers KD a hug...hopes there will be no banana mushing this time*
Is there someones ass I can kick for you? Maybe you'd like me to mail them a shit bomb? Just let me know, I'm here for ya! :)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Time for a change KD, this year will be better.


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Stacia *fingerhumping the cake wrote: "I had meant to read World War Z at one point and just never did."

I started it and I thought it was boring and quit it before page 100.


message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1679 comments King Dinösaur wrote: "Thanks guys. 2011 was a rough, rough year."

KD, I hope the rest of 2011 gets better and better!


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Lobstergirl wrote: "Fahrenheit 451 is worth reading if you're 12 or 13. I'm not sure it has much to offer someone who has already read several dystopian novels."

I'm not sure the book is even worth reading* at that level because I think kids today might be desensitized to the impact of something like censorship or government control. I think those types of things might seem benign to them in comparison to other things in life today and the story won't have an impact for them.

*"worth reading" is probably a bad word choice and I don't mean to imply the book has no worth.


Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) Michael wrote: "Stacia *fingerhumping the cake wrote: "I had meant to read World War Z at one point and just never did."

I started it and I thought it was boring and quit it before page 100."


Good to know. Moving down the list then.


message 19: by Jammies (new)

Jammies Fahrenheit 451 is a classic for a reason, and I think it's worth reading at any age.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is interesting but kind of thin.

The Handmaid's Tale is scarier now with the ubiquity of debit and credit cards and the screaming of wingnuts getting louder than it was when I first read it in 1989.

Anthem was a big fat yawn for me, and certainly didn't make the impression on me it did for the author of the article.

Never Let Me Go probably works for people who didn't grow up reading sci-fi and mysteries. (view spoiler) A whole lot of fuss over a truly meh book.


message 20: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
I think the thing about Never Let Me Go is that a lot of people read it as genre fiction when it's not really supposed to be. It should be read in the context of Ishiguro's other work, which is regular literary fiction. It was the first book of his I read. Then I read 2-3 more, and I started seeing continuities between them.


message 21: by Jammies (new)

Jammies But LG, it uses the tropes of sci-fi, so it should be evaluated by sci-fi standards, at least to me.


message 22: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
But Ishiguro was clearly aware that the sci-fi "tropes" he was using were completely unoriginal, so he wasn't trying to break ground there. He wasn't trying to tell a sci-fi story; he was trying to tell a more universal story, but layering it on top of what we're calling sci-fi. All his books I've read are about love, loss, missed opportunities, the life you end up having versus some perfect life you think you might have had. Never Let Me Go fits in with all those themes.


message 23: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I hated Never Let Me Go. Maybe I need to read his other books as LG mentioned. Are the themes of love, loss, missed opportunities what is the continuity in his books? Please elaborate LG.


message 24: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
I think so, Janice. Remains of the Day is really great, perhaps you saw the film version, which is also excellent. A Pale View of Hills is good. Very haunting. I didn't like When We Were Orphans quite as much, but it was still worth reading.


message 25: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I googled the movie and I did see it. Anthony Hopkins is one of my favourite actors. I will definitely read the book now. A Pale View of Hills sounds intriguing. Thanks for the clarification.


message 26: by Lori (new)

Lori Lobstergirl wrote: "He wasn't trying to tell a sci-fi story; he was trying to tell a more universal story, but layering it on top of what we're calling sci-fi."

I think you are pigeon holing scifi here. All the great sf novels go way beyond what you are saying is a limited genre, and have universal themes. What you are saying he did is exactly what a good sf novel should be. The definition of sf is a What If, based on science we know now, could happen. And all good authors do have themes that are dear to them, that they work through all their books.

I get miffed when people seem to denigrate what is a very great genre. Some of the best stuff is being done there.

Jammies, I know, Handmaid is downright creepy now! And I'm with Barb - Atwood's last 2 books were even better - they need to be read in order. Genius, and creepy too because you can see we are possibly headed in that direction.

Atwood also denies her books being SF which is, again, a "literary" author resisting being place in that genre.

I've always meant to read We, thanks!

The Road
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

I'm drawing a blank after those!


message 27: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
I'm not saying sci-fi doesn't have universal themes, because I think it does. I'm also not trying to denigrate the genre. I'm not interested in denigrating genres at all. I'm a big mystery reader, myself.

I was framing my response to what Jammies had said. Jammies brought up sci-fi tropes. She evaluated the book strictly in terms of sci-fi tropes. I didn't. I'm sure Ishiguro wouldn't.

I don't think it's useful to call "Never Let Me Go" sci-fi, and then to assert that it doesn't live up to what we expect from sci-fi. It wasn't trying to be sci-fi. That's what I was trying to say. Yes, it was trying to be more literary, for lack of a better term. I think it succeeded at that.

Anyone interested in this issue of genre vs. literary literature, by the way, should read a book called An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction which is excellent, and very respectful of all genres.


message 28: by Lori (new)

Lori Ah OK. As you can see, the sneering that "literary" readers give to sf/fantasy really pushes my buttons!


message 29: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
Believe you me, I have no patience for some literary literariness.


message 30: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
And what about self-published spanking erotica? So neglected by judges everywhere.


message 31: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
For the Booker.


message 32: by Misha (last edited Feb 26, 2011 12:51AM) (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) To quote science fiction author Kay Kenyon, who was engaged in this very debate a week ago at a local convention, "We're not talking about absolutes. What we're talking about is where we fucking shelve the book." That's all this distinction between "literary" and "genre" fiction is about -- where bookstores fucking shelve the book. The Road, Brave New World and The Handmaid's Tale are science fiction (or speculative fiction) by just about any definition of the genre. They just don't get sold in the SF section. That doesn't make them more or less literary than, say, anything written by Ursula K. Leguin. It just means they get shelved in a different section of the bookstore. I find it sad that more literary readers don't venture outside of their comfort zones and wander into the SF section, or that more SF readers don't wander over to the literary fiction, because that fan of Ursula K. Leguin might be missing out on Margaret Atwood, and vice versa. Good literature is good literature, regardless of whether it's a hyperrealistic view of the modern American family, or a surrealistic view of the modern American family on Mars. That's my take on it.


message 33: by Jammies (new)

Jammies LG, I didn't evaluate the book solely in terms of sci-fi tropes, I evaluated it the way I evaluate every book, in terms of how much it lifts me into another world, and because I am a long-time reader of sci-fi, I was aware of a critical problem that made the suspension of disbelief impossible for me. Nothing in the book was able to overcome that difficulty.

Anyway, I agree with both Bun and Misha, and I would go further and say that I wish we didn't have all these pigeonholes and just had books for everyone.


message 34: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24153 comments Mod
Jammies wrote: "LG, I didn't evaluate the book solely in terms of sci-fi tropes, I evaluated it the way I evaluate every book, in terms of how much it lifts me into another world, and because I am a long-time read..."

Fair enough, Jammies. As I was reading the book, I felt underwhelmed. The narrative had a bland, unremarkable feel to it and I thought I must be missing something. But once I'd finished it, I couldn't get the book out of my head. It affected me on some emotional level. The way all of Ishiguro's books have.


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