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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 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.
35 years after the release of The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood takes us back to Gilead. Following three characters we are introduced to perspectives outside of those of the Handmaids. This is a terrific book that rounds out Gilead and tells of its downfall as opposed to being a direct sequel. A perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about this restrictive, dystopian regime and for anyone who wants the questions they had at the end of The Handmaid's Tale answered. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
A fascinating and disturbing premise that has the ability to swing a profound sledgehammer into your consciousness. Set in what feels like a very possible future, Carl is isolated in a remote Scottish village and finds himself mentally as well as physically detached and confined. It takes a little while to settle in to this story, to get used to the writing style and understand the world you are in; it is worth the wait though. Chapters are grouped into a time period and at first zigzag back and forwards in time. The initial feeling of dislocation feels quite deliberate, it helps you empathise and feel a connection with the village community. There is a vulnerability to Carl, and while he isn't particularly likeable, he is an intriguing and captivating character. As time passes and Carl begins to understand his surroundings we start to hear from other villagers and they add a shot of positiveness to proceedings. This intense exploration of human instinct and glimpse into an imagined world, is ultimately an interesting and thought-provoking read.
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.
January 2012 NewGen Book of the Month. Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2011. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious love story make this a truly sensatonal YA debut novel. Much of the author's inspiration came from the epic movies she grew up with, from Gone with the Wind to The Searchers to The Wizard of Oz. The novel has been optioned by Ridley Scott and screenwriter Jack Thorne is in the process of adapting it for film. Moira Young says: “To be shortlisted with such experienced and acclaimed writers and their excellent books was wonderful. To win the Costa Children's Book Award is amazing. I am immensely gratified that the story and characters I’ve lived with and cared about for so long seem to speak not only to young people but readers of all ages.” A piece of passion from Marion Lloyd, publisher of Marion Lloyd Books: “Every publisher dreams of reading the first page of a new submission and instantly knowing they’ve found something special. I felt that electric shock with Blood Red Road. Moira Young’s searing, soaring survival story is arresting from the very first line. It is written in a compelling but very accessible dialect with an extremely distinctive authorial voice. The scope of the plot is epic and the pace is fierce, with unexpected twists. It is incredibly original. I am immensely proud to be publishing Moira Young’s astonishing debut novel which will set the summer of 2011 alight.” She adds: "Moira Young is a new writer of phenomenally powerful skills. To have the Costa judges crown her first novel as the winner of the children’s book award is simply fabulous.” You can also find out more by visiting the Facebook page for this book - http://www.facebook.com/BloodRedRoadBook Titles shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Children's Book Award: Flip - Martyn Bedford The Unforgotten Coat - Frank Cottrell Boyce Small Change for Stuart - Lissa Evans Blood Red Road - Moira Young MORE NEWS: Moira's publisher Scholastic have created a fabulous free newpaper for teens featuring a variety of their fantastic teen titles. Click here to have a read.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2011. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious love story make this a truly sensatonal YA debut novel.
Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
The human race faces annihilation. An alien threat is on the horizon, ready to strike. And if humanity is to be defended, the government must create the greatest military commander in history. The brilliant young Ender Wiggin is their last hope. But first he must survive the rigours of a brutal military training programme - to prove that he can be the leader of all leaders. A saviour for mankind must be produced, through whatever means possible. But are they creating a hero or a monster? This is the multiple award-winning classic ENDER'S GAME - a groundbreaking tale of war, strategy and survival.
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
A CITY IN QUARANTINE London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed. A MURDERED CHILD At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified. A POWERFUL CONSPIRACY D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first - the virus or the killers? Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.
The outstanding novel that became the cult classic film Blade Runner. Considered to be one of the great works of science fiction, it raises important questions about religion, technology and what defines us as human beings.
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.