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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.
Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award for Science Fiction 2015. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. Following four wonderful literary crime novels (to be issued in the UK later), Canadian author Mandel breaks through with a beautifully modulated post-apocalypse tale, where a virus has decimated the world and a troupe of musicians and Shakespearean actors tour the Great Lakes area and hold up the flame of culture and civilisation. Through the prism of a variety of interlinked characters before and after the fall of society, Mandel offers a melancholy and poetic lullaby for the power of art and the succour of relationships. Full of striking images and strands: the rise and fall of a Falstaffian actor, the coming of age of a young girl in a brand new world, an airport that becomes a museum for humanity, the stark realities of a land now at war with itself and full of feral survivors, a comic strip whose provenance is prophetic, Mandel weaves a clever and moving web that will stay with you for a very long time. Chair of the Arthur C. Clarke Award judges, Andrew M Butler, said: “While many post-apocalypse novels focus on the survival of humanity, Station Eleven focuses instead on the survival of our culture, with the novel becoming an elegy for the hyper-globalised present.” Maxim Jakubowski October 2014 Highly Recommended. Sarah Broadhurst's view.. Not another plague apocalyptic book you cry! Oh yes, only this one is a bit special. It describes the ‘end of civilisation as we know it’ and the accompanying death of most of the world’s population in a highly effective, gentle way. Short snippets tell of gigantic events. We get lives before and after the ‘Georgia flu’ concentrating on an actor, a comic graphic artist and a group of travelling performers. The comic, starring one Dr Eleven, links both sections in a poignant manner. This is a very impressive work, a thrilling tale, a must read.
I did enjoy this book and was intrigued why a procession of men were walking together with their hands round each other's necks. I loved some of the characters trying to find out why and found Alice and Max very believable if a little slow on the uptake. They stayed near the place where one of the 'processions' started and enlisted other people to help them investigate. I find it hard to write a review without giving away the whole plot but I will say it was rather unusual and yet strangely compelling even if a little slow in the middle, it is worth the read though. Carol Peace, A LoveReading Ambassador
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.
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.
We found this an utterly compelling debut novel. It is set in a disturbing near future where society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed towards mental illness. There's a real passion for dystopian fiction at present and this one is one of the best.
So, so readable, Of Ants and Dinosaurs with the lightest and brightest of touches, made my brain itch with its creativity and klaxon alarm. Perfect for readers from young adult on, this sets itself as a “satirical fable, a political allegory and ecological warning”. In a time long long ago ants and dinosaurs joined forces to build a magnificent civilisation, when doom threatens will the dinosaurs listen to the ants? Cixin Liu is China’s number one science-fiction writer and his The Three-Body Problem was the first translated novel to win a Hugo award. I just love the cover, and the ants marching across the chapter pages had me smiling. As soon as I started to read my attention was well and truly caught. The prologue sets the scene with wonder and I read and believed without a moment's doubt. While portraying the ant and dinosaur alliance, there is very much a warning to the human race here. Deceptively simple and brilliantly clever, Of Ants and Dinosaurs just has to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I simply adored it.
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.
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 plotline 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.
IN THIS WORLD, PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING 'Terrifyingly plausible' Louise Candlish 'Devastating and brilliant' Woman & Home 'Thought-provoking' Alice Feeney 'Shocking . . . A powerful tale' Cosmopolitan 'Timely' Kia Abdullah Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state's new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that's swept the country is all about perfection. Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don't measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted. Elena tells herself it's not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her. But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined... What readers are saying about Q 'To everyone that loved Vox and wants to read another like it this is just for you!!' 'I love Dalcher's books, they grip me from the beginning and I find them impossible to put down' 'I read this book in 24 hours! I loved it.' 'An amazing read . . . thought provoking and made me eager to know what is coming next from this brilliant author.' 'This book had me hooked from start to finish. 'Both timely and chilling. Q is a thrilling read'
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.
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
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.
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.