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Commonly extrapolating elements of current society, dystopian fiction explores the darker side of possible worlds. Discover more than a Brave New World here.
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. A brilliant thriller with a modern sensibility and super-fast pace and suspense that will delight fans of classic thrillers and films. Carrying on the tradition of ‘what if’ history novels started by Len Deighton with SS GB and continued with Robert Harris’ Fatherland The Afrika Reich is set in an alternative 1952. After the fiasco at Dunkirk forced Britain into an uneasy peace with Germany the Third Reich now control Europe and most of Africa. A personal feud forces a British mercenary on a reckless ‘last mission’, it goes horribly wrong and he is hunted down. This explosive thriller is a meticulously researched debut novel that is a must read for any fan of Robert Harris or Len Deighton. Click here to visit Guy Saville's blog and find out more about the book.
The Road meets 28 Days Later in this heart-stopping, page-turning saga of rage, hope and survival. A global earthquake has released an inner rage in some people throughout the world that they cannot fight. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive - at any cost - and for three in particular life as they knew it has gone...
June 2012 Guest Editor Joanne Harris on Lord of the Flies... I first read this when I was ten. It terrified and fascinated me. It still does. The Lovereading view... William Golding’s iconic and enduring novel is interesting in many ways. Firstly it was a debut book and secondly it was rejected by numerous publishers and editors before it was picked up off the ‘slush-pile’ by a young editor at Faber and Faber. More than 50 years later the schoolboys to savages story is still a relevant, disturbing and shocking comment on the human condition.
One of Belle de Jour's favourite books. September 2010 Guest Editor Belle de Jour on Margaret Atwood... Atwood’s books hugely influenced my reading style (though probably not my writing style!). I love the way she weaves research so seamlessly into her stories. In the hands of a lesser writer, some of her books might be mere dystopian sci-fi, but she makes the characters as real as documentary. The Handmaid’s Tale, in particular, influenced a lot how I think about politics, religion, and feminism.
One of the 8 titles longlisted for the Guardian Children's Book Prize 2011. Momentum is an action-packed thriller with a warm heart but a disturbing message of what can happen in a broken society. The setting is a disintegrating London in a not too distant future. Power supplies are unreliable and the streets are unsafe. Factions rule the city and there is constant danger from the Kossaks who shoot freely as they keep the peace violently. Teenager Hunter is one of the privileged Citizens but he searches for a life with more meaning in the run-down homes of the Outsiders. Hunter's involvement brings great risks but through it he learns the importance of real feelings. Titles longlisted for the 2011 Guardian Children's Book Prize: My Name is Mina by David Almond Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge Momentum by Saci Lloyd Moon Pie by Simon Mason Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton
Introducing a rare new talent and almost certainly one of the biggest Young Adult debuts of the year, this is the first in an utterly compelling, visionary and imaginative series that is set to be a sensation. The book is already an international phenomenon with rights being sold in a fierce bidding war at auction in over twenty eight languages. Film rights have been snapped up by Disney. Set against the backdrop of a near-future society that prompts difficult questions about our own, it cleverly combines a completely page-turning plot with a devastating romance and it will leave you desperate to learn the fate of the star-crossed lovers. In a nutshell, Matched marks a new trend in teen publishing for dystopian fiction. Think Never Let Me Go meets The Handmaid's Tale for the iPod generation.
It’s the end of the world, but not as we know it. The rise of a zombie plague, and life in the aftermath, but a real cut above the usual hack-slash thrillers of the genre. In fact I think it should have been three volumes. It is enormous, but worth it. A moving and involving story charting the fall of civilisation, then chronicling life in the new world a few generations later. Really powerful stuff. One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. STOP PRESS – The eagerly awaited sequel to The Passage is out at the end of October 2012. It’s called The Twelve and you can read an exclusive extract right now here on Lovereading. In addition to our expert opinion above and below for The Passage, we’ve also managed to secure a few copies so that Lovereading members can review it for us. Just scroll down this page to see what they think. May 2011 Mega Book of the Month. Maxim Jakubowski's view... A truly epic masterpiece that will have you hanging on for dear life for both its conclusion and the next volume. It's a chilling end of the world as we know it saga, this first volume of a trilogy has all the impact of Stephen King’s THE STAND in breadth of vision and length. Following a failed military experiment, America falls to a zombie/vampire epidemic and only a curious little girl and a group of doughty survivors hold the key to survival. 'Read 15 pages, and you will find yourself captivated; read 30 and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It had the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears.' Stephen King Why I Wrote The Passage by Justin Cronin... You write the book that asks to be written, and THE PASSAGE asked me to write it on a seriesof long jogs in the fall of 2005, taken in the company of my daughter, Iris, age eight, who rodebeside me on her bicycle. Click here to read more...
If you're on the hunt for an original plot that's thought-provoking and chilling then The Hunt will be just up your street. Gene is human in a world where they've been made extinct other than those held in an Institute. For 17 years he's managed to keep all usual human emotions well hidden from those around him but now having been selected to go on the once a decade hunt of humankind he must somehow learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about what he really is grow. Praise has been heaped on this debut by the author of the Vampire Academy series among others for its brilliantly original theme.
I Am Legend was one of the first, and certainly the most brilliant, fusions of horror and science fiction. Its powerful and disturbing reworking of the vampire myth has made it a classic and enduring novel that has had a profound impact on generations of writers.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 10 March 2011. If you've not yet read this unputdownable and devastating book then you should do so either before or after you've seen the film. Ideally before!!! This is a devastating, sad, atmospheric, beautiful novel about wasted lives in a dystopian society. The main scientific theme has been handled by other writers but not like this. I won’t tell you too much for you have 150 pages of fine writing before the core is mentioned, and it would be so good to come to it unaware as I was. I think it is his best since The Remains of the Day, a wonderful book.Comparison: Adam Thorpe, Michael Ondaatje. The opening film of the BFI London Film Festival on 13th October was Never Let Me Go starring Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan. The film was released countrywide on 21st January 2011.
Dystopia - The opposite of Utopia.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from dys-‘bad’ + Utopia. An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.
H.G. Wells was the first popular dystopian writer with the Time Machine (1895) in which the future doesn’t bring continuous improvements in human kind, rather its demise to the baser darker side of our nature. Through Metamorphosis (1915) by Franz Kafka, Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by George Orwell and on to The Handmaid's Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood dystopian fiction continues to probe the darker areas of the human condition.
Perhaps all the end of world prophecies have fueled the demand, never the less the contemporary dystopian offerings are proving popular reading – especially among a younger audience. We hope you enjoy the selection.