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 the most renowned classics of all time was brought to us by George Orwell in 1949. A compelling, striking nightmarish vision of a dystopian world, this remains one of the most chilling yet favourite books I've ever read and one of the best openings of a book ever: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" So much of it has entered our language, becoming an integrated part of our common cultural inheritance, that I'm sure many people don't even realise their beginnings. It is the year 1984 and the world is divided into three superstates each at war with eachother. Britain is Airstrip One ruled by the Party and led by Big Brother, the symbolic face of totalitarianism. Even love is considered subversive and we follow the story of Winston Smith who works in the Ministry of Truth where his job is to rewrite the past to fit the present. Depicting everyman, Winston begins to subtlely rebel by writing a secret diary, a deadly thought crime in a society where the actions and thoughts of the people are strictly controlled through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment. Where will it end? This book will stay with you, and will never be forgotten.
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novel as Burgess originally wrote it, and includes a selection of interviews, articles, reviews and other previously unpublished material.
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
I am an absolute sucker both for quest-through-the-wilderness tales, and for post-apocalyptic landscapes. Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation delivers both, in creepily brilliant and utterly unforgettable style. Narrated by an unnamed female biologist, it tells of a scientific expedition - the latest of many failed ventures - into a desolate wilderness known as Area X, where they hear a "low, powerful moaning" at dusk. "I would tell you the names of the other three, if it mattered," the biologist tells us, doomily, "but only the surveyor would last more than the next day or two." It all gets progressively more sinister and alien and uncanny and disastrous - I'm not sure I've read a book which scared me, and stayed with me so much, for years - with the story expanded on in the world outside Area X in the following two novels in VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Authority and Acceptance. A slice of dreamily written, haunting literary science fiction flows through the whole trilogy. ~ Alison Flood The Southern Reach Trilogy:1. Annihilation2. Authority3. Acceptance
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 ...
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.