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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.
January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects The Road... Technically and philosophically, this is probably not McCarthy’s best book. His masterpiece, probably, is Blood Meridian – although I also love Child of God. And Outer Dark. And . . . Well, everything else McCarthy has produced. But The Road, I would say, is my favourite of his novels, if only for the devastating portrait he paints of a father’s love for his son. I must have read this novel four or five times now (I’ve seen the film, too, but only once and never again). Devastatingly simple, yet dazzling in so many ways, this is the book I wish I had written. A 2012 World Book Night selection. Winner of The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2007.Once in a while a book comes along that is so powerful, so terrible and so beautiful that you are left staggered at its close. This is one such. A journey through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America that is both frightening and strangely hopeful. It’s not an easy read but once embarked upon, it’s hard to draw away. Father and son share their dreadful experiences and their love. It has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and been chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club so it’s going to sell bucket-loads in America and deserves to do the same over here.Similar this month: None.Comparison: J G Ballard, J D Salinger.
This is a quite remarkable and moving debut novel that was causing waves well before it was published. The author has crafted a powerful and at times frightening tale that explores humanity’s unfailing desire not just to survive, but to live, even in its darkest hours. Beautifully written, terrifically paced and featuring one of the most relatable and identifiable characters in young adult fiction The Forest of Hands and Teeth will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages with its mix of horror, redemption and sheer breathtaking storytelling. Told through the eyes of a young girl called Mary, this is set to be the debut of the year we reckon. Forest of Hands and Teeth series:1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth2. The Dead-Tossed Waves3. The Dark and Hollow Places
Gripping from the first moment, this is a scary, an unputdownable and a brilliantly plotted fantasy. One minute all the adults are there - next they're gone! Only the children remain and they are trapped, cut off from the outside world and, scarily, left to rule themselves. Can they survive? With no guidance, gangs start to form. Danger lurks at every corner and everyone has to make a choice – to be cruel or humane. It’s a chilling prospect and the new world order is scary for all. It's Lord of the Flies for the Heroes generation with just a dash of the X-Men thrown in for good measure. The complete list of books in this epic series is.... 1 Gone 2 Hunger 3 Lies 4 Plague 5 Fear 6 Light .......................................................................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Gone a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This underrated, terrifyingly good book is a brilliant what-if book. We have discovered a better series than The Hunger Games. Teen reading simply doesn’t get better than this.'.... Scroll down to read more reviews.
Gripping from the first moment on, this is a scary, an unputdownable and a brilliantly plotted fantasy. One minute all the adults are there - next they're gone! Only the children remain and they are trapped, cut off from the outside world and, scarily, left to rule themselves. Can they survive? With no guidance, gangs start to form. Danger lurks at every corner and everyone has to make a choice – to be cruel or humane. It’s a chilling prospect and the new world order is scary for all. It's Lord of the Flies for the Heroes generation with just a dash of the X-Men thrown in for good measure. There has been more talk in the publishing world about this title since it was bought in a hotly contested auction last year. Some lucky people including a couple of teenagers have already been lucky enough to read it. This is what they've said: Hugh, aged 13: This is a gripping novel about the world suddenly changing. In the blink of an eye, everyone over fifteen suddenly disappears in a small town in California. No one knows why and a shimmering barrier that cannot be passed appears in an exact ten mile radius of the local nuclear power plant. A few months before a few people and animals began to develop powers such as healing and telekinesis. Their powers are hard to control and scare them as much as they scare the others. This may seem like a bad sci-fi story and this could put you off but don't let it. The main character is a boy of fourteen who has no idea what is going on and many people look to him to take charge. It is mainly a story about the maturing of these children and how the world suddenly turns upside down. People try and take charge but some turn into power hungry bullies. All the eldest children live in fear of the day they turn fifteen. Any one who enjoyed 'The Lord of the Flies' will enjoy this. It has an original plot which is ever-changing and you can never predict. People come out of themselves and change character entirely. The smartest girl in the school suddenly cannot explain anything and the surfer is looked to for help, yet the two, who have never spoken before the change, become drawn to each other. I would highly recommend this book. It is gripping story with many sub-plots and you cannot put it down. Claudia (aged 16) What an amazing book! I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down. It's a book that has everything; Excitement, Tension, Danger and Romance, making it a brilliant read for just about anyone. There were characters that a reader could totally warm to and sympathise with and the reaction of the children to the situation was totally believable. I would recommend this book to anyone; definitely a must read.
The astonishing bestseller is now a fantastic movie. Here is the original novel with new movie artwork on the cover. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. In a dark vision of the near future, The Hunger Games is set in the ruins of a place once known as North America. The cruel Capitol keeps order in its twelve outlying districts by forcing them each to send one boy and girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a terrifying reality TV show broadcasting a live fight to the death. Click on the link to visit the Hunger Games website - www.thehungergames.co.uk The Hunger Games came into the author's psyche whilst she flicked between television channels broadcasting real war coverage and reality television programmes. It is the first in a trilogy. The Hunger Games Trilogy: 1. The Hunger Games 2. Catching Fire 3. Mockingjay
January 2011 Guest Editor Lisa Gardner on Suzanne Collins... I read the first novel of her trilogy, The Hunger Games, over the summer, and was mesmerized. I'm not huge into futuristics, but this book worked for me because the world she created felt so real, and her characters even more genuine. Her sixteen-year old protagonist, Katniss, is everything a heroine should be--tough, vulnerable, determined, desperate, gifted and flawed. Plus, the whole set up of kids being forced to fight to the death for the amusement of a bored nation--to look at TV offerings these days, we're halfway there. The Lovereading view... The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. In a dark vision of the near future, The Hunger Games is set in the ruins of a place once known as North America. The cruel Capitol keeps order in its twelve outlying districts by forcing them each to send one boy and girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a terrifying reality TV show broadcasting a live fight to the death. Without really meaning to, 16 year old Katniss becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever. The Hunger Games came into the author's psyche whilst she flicked between television channels broadcasting real war coverage and reality television programmes. It is the first in a trilogy. The Hunger Games Trilogy: 1. The Hunger Games 2. Catching Fire 3. Mockingjay
A 2013 World Book Night selection. The electrifying and unflinching young adult debut novel about the impossible choices of growing up by award-winning fiction writer Patrick Ness. Shortlisted for the 2009 Branford Boase Best Debut Novel Award. Shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009. Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2008 and Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008. A word from the author: 'The Knife of Never Letting Go started as an idea about information overload. We're constantly surrounded by information - internet, emails, texts, etc - whether we want to be or not. To me, this can sometimes see overwhelming, sometime just so incredibly loud that it's impossible to make sense of. And I start thinking, what if you really couldn't escape? What if information never, ever stopped? And that gave me the idea of the Noise and of an intelligent, thoughtful young man buckling under the weight of it. There would come a day when he'd have no choice but to run...' What the Carnegie Award judges said: 'A bleak and unflinching novel with fascinating characters and extraordinary dialogue which creates a fully-realised world that the reader really buys into. The dog Manchee is an inspired creation! Ness conveys a real sense of terror and the ending is devastating. A novel that really stands out.' Click here to see The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009
David Strorm's father doesn't approve of Angus Morton's unusually large horses, calling them blasphemies against nature. Little does he realize that his own son, his niece Rosalind and their friends, have their own secret aberration which would label them as mutants. But as David and Rosalind grow older it becomes more difficult to conceal their differences from the village elders. Soon they face a choice: wait for eventual discovery or flee to the terrifying and mutable Badlands.
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. Nineteen Eight-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
Written in 1932, this is an amazing dystopian fiction is set in a futuristic world state where everyone has been conditioned to be content and perform according to a social and intelligence-based hierarchy. In a world where there have been scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning and behaviour conditioning the question is posed through Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson and John, is it better to be manipulated and happy or to be free? A must-read for all science-fiction fans.
Fifty years from now, our world is unrecognisable. Pollution and warfare have poisoned the skies, the water and the soil. Pockets of society still exist, living in highly fortified strongholds, while those outside the walls roam the landscape - either predator or prey. But even these isolated compounds are not safe; armies of demons and once-men assault their defences, and inevitably, one by one, they succumb. Civilisation has fallen and anarchy is the only law. Logan Tom and Angel Perez are the last two Knights to stand against the forces of chaos. These two extraordinary people have the ability to resist the dark tide, and to them will fall twin tasks: to find and protect a very old and a very new magic. They are humanity's last hope. Although the odds are stacked against them, Logan and Angel have the power to halt the destruction of the Old World. It will be up to others to usher in the New ...
With an introduction by William Boyd who says, 'Lanark will leave its trace on your life', this is a work of extraordinary imagination and wide range, its playful narrative techniques convey a profound message, both personal and political, about humankind's inability to love, and yet our compulsion to go on trying. Widely recognised as a modern classic, Alasdair Gray's magnum opus was first published in 1981 and immediately established him as one of Britain's leading writers. Comparisons have been made to Dante, Blake, Joyce, Orwell, Kafka, Huxley and Lewis Carroll. This timely new edition should cement his reputation as one of our greatest living writers.
When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels, if he is ever to return to his own era.
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.