Commonly extrapolating elements of current society, dystopian fiction explores the darker side of possible worlds. Discover more than a Brave New World here.
Told in narrator Newt’s distinctive phonetic English, this dark debut dazzles with originality and delivers a potent case for combatting inequality. Bearmouth is home to a grim mining business, where men and children labour under inhumane conditions to make their Master wealthy. They work under the earth, under the omniscient Mayker who - so workers are told - “sen us down into the dark Earf/To atone for the sins o our forefarvers an muvvers”. Naïve Newt hasn’t seen daylight in years, but takes pride in being taught to read and write by fatherly Thomas, blithely accepting this lot until the arrival of new boy Devlin. Devlin’s talk of “revolushun” makes Newt feel that things are “unravellin slowly slowly lyke a bootlayce comin all undun.” Life in Bearmouth is beyond bleak, but the sparks of Devlin’s revolutionary spirit catch light and drive Thomas to ask the Master for “more coinage” for the workers, to question why they must pay for essential clothes, to demand to know when the promised safety lamps are coming. Then when tragedy strikes, Newt too realises that things “ent bloody well ryte” and takes on Devlin’s insurgent tendencies, with explosive effects. Emotionally engaging, this searingly original novel about standing up to abuses of power and fighting for freedom is radiant with story-telling excellence.
March 2012 New Gen Debut of the Month. Refreshingly free of vampires and werewolves this is a stunning debut novel. Written for teenage readers, categorised YA (Young Adult) in the trade, but don't be put off as it is a great read for any dystopian fan and could be seen as The Handmaid's Tale for a new generation. Genetic engineering gone wrong has lead to a radically different population structure and teenage girls are forced to breed to keep the human race alive. The first in a trilogy and this edition contains a sneak preview of the sequel, Fever, and a brand new short story by Lauren DeStefano: The First Bride.
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. An excellent book unlike any other. The life of bees is examined and fictionalised as never before. These bees are not anthropomorphised or overly sentimentalised into cute cartoon characters; the action and communication is kept as realistic as possible whilst still providing a novel with depth of emotion and excellent characterisation. Propelled by a set of strange coincidences and lucky accidents of time and place, the lowly worker bee, Flora, works her way through the whole hive; the nursery, the morgue, even the Queen’s chamber; and learns a few more secrets than she should. Her story is incredible, fast, gripping, delightfully easy to read and full of great ideas. This book is great for the teen market but really anyone could enjoy it and indeed should, for it is quite something. January 2015 Debut of the Month. One of our Books of the Year 2014.
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.
Selected for the Man Booker 2005 Shortlist. Kazuo Ishiguro has been acclaimed in the Sunday Times for 'extending the possibilities of fiction'. In Never Let Me Go he has fashioned another remarkable story - a story of love, loss and hidden truths - that takes its place among his finest work. Download an extract and make up your own mind.
Oh… my… word, this is one fabulous debut! I found a deceptively simple, and stark dystopian foray into a world blighted by bombs and sickness. Monster is completely alone until one day she finds a child. She becomes mother and passes on her knowledge, but are her mothering skills being received in the way she is expecting them to be? Told in the first person, Katie Hale has created short chapters where thoughts scatter, bounce, zigzag. I filed away feelings and emotions as I read, each within touching distance, lying in wait to prod and provoke. This feels honest, as though looking at a future just within grasp, or back to a history that has already happened. The feelings are raw, sometimes painful, yet relatable and believable. I found the premise of this novel absolutely fascinating, I explored interpretation of meaning, motherhood, and thoughts on the basic cycle of life. ‘My Name is Monster’ is poignant, moving and wonderfully different, it is also incredibly intimate, readable and surprisingly beautiful, I adored it. 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.
July 2012 Debut of the Month. This stunning debut has a fascinating premise that 'The earth is slowing down' and it provides a unique framework for this memorable, haunting and bittersweet coming of age novel. It is seen through the eyes and experiences of Julia, an 11 year old girl whose turbulent life, seems to mirror the changes in the world outside. Reminiscent in part to The Time Traveller’s Wife this science fiction like idea doesn't get in the way, and shouldn't put you off for reading this book is a pretty special experience.
May 2013 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month. The Passage was a huge and sweeping thriller telling the story of the end of civilisation and what happened to the survivors. This excellent sequel goes back to tell a different side of the titanic struggle as vampires take over the USA, then tells the continuation of The Passage, picking up the lives of characters we had come to love. A highly enjoyable and engrossing read with a bit more substance than your average monster apocalypse story. The Lovereading view... When the dystopian vampire epic The Passage came out in 2010 it was, deservedly, incredibly well reviewed and The Twelve is the eagerly awaited sequel. A military experiment to create humans with superior fighting capabilities goes horrifically wrong and the fate of the human race hangs in the balance. Can the remaining humans fight back? The compulsive sequel shifts back and forward in time building on the first book but also adding new characters and depth to the story. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Twelve a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'What can I say about The Twelve except Magnificent...Justin Cronin you have one very happy new fan.' Glynis Elliott - Scroll down to read more reviews.
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...
Thrilling and thought-provoking in equal measure, this is a novel about hope and survival. Set in an imaginatively (yet, quite possibly realistic) created Glasgow of the future (It’s 2099) and beautifully written in stark, yet simple and lyrical prose. Don’t think of the novel as science fiction or fantasy just because it’s set in the future for this is a book that should be read by all for given the current serious discussions on climate change and its consequences, it could well be very relevant to our whole future. We've picked this out from the crowd as the sequel - Zenith- to it is published later this month and for all those who've yet to read this one, we thought we should give you the chance to do so.
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar, benevolently. Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'. Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.
A darkly rich and foreboding fantasy which hovers on the frightening edge of a believable future. Set in an alternate England, so very similar to our own, volume one of ‘The Black Dawn’ focuses on two teenagers in two different time frames. Gordon is born at the beginning of an environmental apocalypse and Megan in the future, into a technology free world; both are destined to search for the Crowman. As with all new worlds, it takes a short while to connect to the time and story line. Joseph D’Lacey begins by setting alternate chapters to introduce the pair, however as they walk their dreams and their lives start to intertwine, their tales merge and flow together, into and around you. There are moments of real menace and dread as the Earth hits back against humans, the descriptive writing scorches your imagination. The sequel, ’The Book of the Crowman’ promises answers, although I must admit to being a little worried about what the future holds for Gordon and Megan. So, allow yourself to sink into the deeply unnerving depths of ‘Black Feathers’, to walk into dark places and through past places in this stimulating and captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson December 2015 Book of the Month.
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.