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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.
Immensely enjoyable, this high fantasy novel contains characters and a storyline to die for. Oh, and if you think you don’t like fantasy, you might want to think again - this has heaps of drama, action, and thoughtful intrigue, as well as allowing an escape from the reality of the world we are living in. Ashes of the Sun is the first book in the new Burninglade and Silvereye Series. Gyre seeks revenge on the Twilight Order who took his little sister Maya twelve years ago, but when the siblings meet again they find themselves on opposing sides in a war for survival. When it comes to fantasy novels I am a reading fiend, I find that this particular genre offers some of the very best series going and can already safely say that this will be a series I will be camping outside of bookshops for. Django Wexler has built a post-apocalyptic world that you can immerse yourself in, I didn’t stop, doubt, question, just wholeheartedly believed. I grew in knowledge alongside Gyre and Maya, and absolutely loved the combination of technology and inner power. Not only is this a fast-paced beautifully diverse read, I found the humour perfectly timed. In the acknowledgements Django Wexler says that the novel originated after a series of conversations about Star Wars, and you can definitely see some influences as you read. Ashes of the Sun has it all, and comes with the higher than highly recommended tag from me.
In 'BEYOND: The Frozen Future' Ema Cory offers us a terrifying version of the future for our planet. Her short science fiction/horror story builds on trends already evident in society today and progresses them in a frightening but thought-provoking way. The writing is crisp and concise, the characterisations clever and original and the use of Biblical sounding titles to the chapters reinforces the apocalyptic feel of the storyline. The year is 2279. After WWIII devastates the world's population, China and North Korea are put on an enforced zero-child regime and the world's essentials- food, water, waste, housing and transport- are placed under the control of a global organisation. Climate change creates millions of refugees, terrorism millions more, who along with the indigenous poor, live largely on the streets, beneath a smothering of smog and constant drone cover. The elite live in climate-controlled luxury, barely venturing outdoors, thanks to a well-developed teleportation system. When or just before their time comes, life expectancy having stalled at 90 thanks to the failure of science to eradicate disease, those who can pay have themselves and their loved ones cryogenically frozen, whether they believe in the system or not. Alison Greshwood is the CEO and majority shareholder of Life Beyond, one of the largest body freezing organisations in the world, based in London. Through her we learn of the history, organisation and weaknesses of the company, the latter eventually culminating in it's demise as the US Threat Protection Committee puts it's secret plan into action. We are left with the promise of a continuation of Alison's story as she puts Code Black into operation and disappears. Can't wait! Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambasador
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.
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. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
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.
A welcome return to the world first encountered in Matched. It’s a world in which society decides who you should love – and everything else about your life. When Cassia broke the rules because she found her own true love, everything went into meltdown. Now Cassia must try to take control again. Bravely she heads off in search of Ky. Can she save him and can she stay safe herself? Told sometimes by Cassia and sometimes by Ky the story twists and turns with danger lurking never far away. An exciting and passionate story set in a bleak and uncompromising world which raises many questions about why freedom to choose matters.
An action-packed narrative that is utterly compelling and characters you will really love. The world as we know it is crumbling and has been for years; this is the story of a group who left earth aboard a space ship, which has become their home. Now 16 years on, two of them, born on the spaceship, have fallen in love.
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.
As mankind strives to rebuild society in the wake of climate change, over-population and global food shortages, every day is a struggle for people like Sid and his younger sister Lo. They are 'runners'- people whose very survival the government has outlawed. As they move west, trying to find family or somewhere they can call home, they must work out which of the people they meet on the way can be trusted, and which want to cut their adventure short. Encountering people on both sides of the law, as well as those who seem to exist outside it, Sid and Lo make and lose friends as they fight for their lives and each other.
The fully restored fiftieth anniversary edition foreward by Martin Amis first published by William Heinemann in 1962, A Clockwork Orange is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. This special edition, compiled and edited by Andrew Biswell, Burgess' biographer, restores the text of the novel as Burgess originally wrote it, and includes a selection of interviews, articles, reviews and other previously unpublished material.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Fast-paced, page-turning, moving, yet with a streak of dark humour, The Disappeared is a dystopian thriller from a fantastic new British talent, with shades of Orwell and Huxley. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Disappeared a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read their reviews.
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
An extraordinarily readable and fascinating exploration of ourselves, of what it is to be human. This is a novel that feels completely unique, it is also one that made me consider, ponder, wonder. Open the pages and discover our Earth, yet different, it is 1990 and a British Police Inspector is called to investigate the killings of a species in the Delta, South America. I started to read and was immediately taken away from everything I knew, or thought I knew. Chris Beckett has created a world that is at once distinctively familiar and peculiar, the otherworldly aspect encouraged my thoughts to travel in unexpected directions while I viewed human interaction playing out in typical fashion. Police officer Ben is full of shade and contrast, I found the different strands that knitted and weaved together as the different characters came into play so intriuging. There is a subtlety at play here, the descriptive detail is beautiful, if a little unsettling at times, and I felt I was being allowed to discover the Delta at my own pace. ‘Beneath The World, A Sea’ is different, it is so different that I am still thinking about it, it stirred up feelings and has left them whirling.
Jean lives in an America in which women have been forced to surrender all freedoms and are restricted to speaking 100 words a day, for the new government has decreed that women need to be Pure. They need to learn a lesson, as do gays and lesbians, who’ve been herded into camps. As to how this happened, the novel is sharp on collective collusion, and also shows the consequences of the coward’s sidestepping “I was only following orders” excuse. Indeed, the excruciating personal repercussions of the new regime are piercingly portrayed. Jean doesn’t have enough words to read bedtime stories to her daughter. One of her sons spouts patriarchal propaganda he’s picked up in class. Quite simply, it’s hard for her not to hate her male kin at times. Then, Jean’s constraints in this censorious new world loosen a little when she’s told that the President’s brother has sustained a brain injury and her seminal aphasia research means she’s called on to cure him. As this powerful debut unfolds, undulating with personal conflicts and the discovery of sinister political programs, it also explores the essentialness of speech. It serves as a potent reminder to speak out when you’re able, for speech deprivation, whether due to force or illness, is a painful state of existence. Shocking, suspenseful and compulsive, this is a formidable cautionary tale for our time.
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.