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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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
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.
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.
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. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
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.