Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Favorites: DYSTOPIAS

I love a good dystopian novel. I mean, LOVE. Dystopian is, by far, my favorite genre. These books make me think hard about where society is headed, and about whether I like it or want to go a different way. They make me think about who I am, and what I stand for. They help me to define myself. And, perhaps strangely, I find them to be rather affirming. (I might have some issues with questioning authority and some control-freak tendencies going on there. Just maybe.)

So, let's talk good dystopians! Some of my faves are:

FAHRENHEIT 451, by Ray Bradbury. This is one of the classics, guys. If you used the Cliff's Notes when you were supposed to read this in High School, then shame on you. This is a world where real thinking is shunned in favor of mindless pap, and where reading as an intellectual pursuit is illegal. As an aside, the TODAY show this morning featured stories about how and why men are pursuing more and more plastic surgery, and the phenomenon of "WombTubing," in which women video-document their pregnancies (from the first reading of the pregnancy test onwards) and post the vids on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. I don't really need to say any more than that, do I? Go read this book. And if you've already read it, re-read it.

1984, by George Orwell (who also wrote ANIMAL FARM, another of my favorites). TV is ubiquitous, the government is totalitarian, and everybody tries to be the same as everybody else. The only part I don't recognize as I look around me now is the totalitarian government part. This book is possibly the most prescient piece of literature ever created, with the exception of:

FEED, by MT Anderson. I would give both my legs and a kidney to be able to write like this. And did I mention that even I am on Twitter? And when I'm not online, I wonder what information I'm missing out on? Look out, guys: The Feed is coming.

There are more, of course, but these are the ones I'd take with me to a deserted island if I could. (Which makes it sound like I would WANT to go to a deserted island... Which, come to think of it, I might. Peace and quiet and sunshine and ocean, anyone?)

How about you? What are your favorite dystopians? And if you hate the genre, what is your favorite genre?


  1. Favourite recents: MATCHED by Ally Condie, THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy (his was the first post-apocalyptic that I read, and it ruined me forever).
    I've read a few others that were just okay, but I really enjoy this genre. There's always something to challenges the world we live in. I have to get FEED now. That's twice you've mentioned it!

  2. distopia is one of my favorites too! I love speculative fiction, in fact my 3 YA novel projects are all in this genre so I hope when they are published you will read them! My favorites are:
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
    Unidentified by Rae Mariz

  3. FEED is my all-time favorite now. It's brilliant and funny and horrifying. Recently, I got an audiobook from the library of 451 and loved it again from that different way of consuming the story. Oh, wait, another all-time favorite is THE HANDMAID's TALE. That one gets me every time I read it.
    Yeah, I love dystopian for the same reasons you do.

  4. My favorite genre right now is just regular old literary...I haven't found a good one lately, so I'm looking everywhere.

    But I must read FEED! Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. I really enjoyed Matched, Hunger Games, and Possession. My favorite genre though is fantasy.

  6. I enjoy a good dystopian. But it's not my favorite genre to read. Too depressing? I do end up liking the ones that are more scientifically advanced in a future gone wrong rather than life has reverted back to living hovel while everyone in a fortified city lives the good life. Seen too much of it.

  7. Sarah, I've heard a lot of good stuff about THE ROAD - I'll be sure to look for it.

    Phyllis, I've never read either of the books you mentioned, so I'll check those out as well.

    Tricia, I have THE HANDMAID'S TALE, but I haven't managed to read it yet. But I will!

    Anita, FEED is great.

    Natalie, I'm dying to read POSSESSION!

    Laura, you would love FEED. It's very much what you described. And I prefer those types of dystopians, too - I wonder why? More hopeful in an odd way, maybe? Or maybe just not as "done."