Commonly extrapolating elements of current society, dystopian fiction explores the darker side of possible worlds. Discover more than a Brave New World here.
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.
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. Nineteen Eight-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
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.
Nearly a quarter of a century after its initial appearance, Gibson’s groundbreaking cyberpunk debut has lost none of its modernity and fascination. Extrapolating the world of the internet and video games culture, an unforgettable vision of a future where data, sprawling cities, artificial intelligences and multi corporations fight an invisible war, as seen through the buccaneering computer jockeys who surf its interfaces.
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.
One of the 8 titles longlisted for the Guardian Children's Book Prize 2011. Momentum is an action-packed thriller with a warm heart but a disturbing message of what can happen in a broken society. The setting is a disintegrating London in a not too distant future. Power supplies are unreliable and the streets are unsafe. Factions rule the city and there is constant danger from the Kossaks who shoot freely as they keep the peace violently. Teenager Hunter is one of the privileged Citizens but he searches for a life with more meaning in the run-down homes of the Outsiders. Hunter's involvement brings great risks but through it he learns the importance of real feelings. Titles longlisted for the 2011 Guardian Children's Book Prize: My Name is Mina by David Almond Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge Momentum by Saci Lloyd Moon Pie by Simon Mason Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton
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.
In the author’s alternate 1980s Britain (which he parallels with the current political climate), Britain has lost the Falklands War, Thatcher is fighting for her political life as Tony Benn’s socialism engenders feverish devotion from young voters, and the country is on the verge of leaving Europe. Alongside these tides of change Alan Turing has created a small quantity of expensive, advanced artificial humans called Adams and Eves. Enter our drifter protagonist, 32-year-old Charlie Friend, who blows most of his inheritance on an Adam. He and his younger girlfriend Miranda share in Adam’s co-creation, both of them having a hand in determining Adam’s personality. The first of many challenges come when Adam and Miranda have sex, which leaves Charlie angry and humiliated: “He was a bipedal vibrator and I was the very latest in cuckolds”. And then Adam betrays Miranda, revealing to Charlie that she’s been lying to him. Moral dilemmas and existential questions abound when it seems that Adam is in love with Miranda in a very human sense, a love that’s partly exhibited through his penning of thousands of heartfelt love haikus. Alongside the oft-explored questions around sentience and what it means to be human, this often entertaining novel provokes fresh thought through Miranda’s complicated, tragic past, the characters’ complex current love triangle, and the future she and Charlie might forge for themselves.
June 2012 Guest Editor Joanne Harris on Lord of the Flies... I first read this when I was ten. It terrified and fascinated me. It still does. The Lovereading view... William Golding’s iconic and enduring novel is interesting in many ways. Firstly it was a debut book and secondly it was rejected by numerous publishers and editors before it was picked up off the ‘slush-pile’ by a young editor at Faber and Faber. More than 50 years later the schoolboys to savages story is still a relevant, disturbing and shocking comment on the human condition.
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.
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.
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.