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What dystopian novels have you enjoyed?

DunDunDunpachi

Patient MembeR
A dystopia is a society characterized by a focus on that which is contrary to the author's ethos, such as mass poverty, public mistrust and suspicion, a police state or oppression. Most authors of dystopian fiction explore at least one reason why things are that way, often as an analogy for similar issues in the real world. Dystopian literature is used to "provide fresh perspectives on problematic social and political practices that might otherwise be taken for granted or considered natural and inevitable". Definition at Wikipedia.​

I've read a number of these novels over the years, but I'm curious as to which ones have stuck with you GAFers.

Some well-known titles/authors below to jog your memory:

Animal Farm and 1984 - George Orwell
We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Candide - Voltaire
Philip K Dick (spin in a circle and pick a book of his and it likely has dystopian themes somewhere)

And some lesser-known ones (please contribute your own)
Radix - A.A. Attanasio
Wool - Hugh Howey
Dying Earth series - Jack Vance
Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K Leguin
Maze Runner - James Dashner

I could spend all day clipping favorite quotes, so I'll just pick the one that came to mind first:

“The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They're Caeser's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.” -- Fahrenheit 451
 

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
The Children of Men by P.D. James is essential to this list. Also made into one of the best films of the 2000s.
 

Makariel

Member
From those mentioned I quite liked 1984, We, Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and The Man in the High Castle.

I'd like to add to the list:
Franz Kafka - The Trial (which is arguably also the work of Kafka which is the easiest to get into ;))
William Golding - Lord of the Flies

How come you mention Hunger Games but not Battle Royale?

Logan's Run and Running Man I only know the movies, never read the novels they are based on.
 
I really liked This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. It is a world that has merged all races into one, there are a total of 8 names (4 male, 4 female), people are drugged daily which keeps them pacified and in a kinda pre pubescent state. All of this is controlled by a large computer system people in the past implemented.

It is a great read. I often compare it to 1984 and Brave New World.
 

Nymphae

Banned
Haven't really read many. But one I did not enjoy was The Road. Everyone said it was the greatest book ever, and I'm not sure I've ever read a more boring book. And I thought the ending was insultingly bad.

Edit: Oops I was thinking post apocalyptic not dystopian
 
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Cybrwzrd

Banned
Don't forget The Giver. I read it when I was quite young (5th or 6th grade?), but it always stuck with me.
 

Kadayi

Banned
Off the top of my head: -

JG Ballard - Highrise. Basically about a High Rise development that's operates as a metaphor for class struggle and especially when the infrastructure systems start to break down. The book is better than the film, but the film does make a decent attempt to capture the essence of the book and is a good supplemental: -


JG Ballard - Cocaine Nights. In my view probably one of Ballards finest novels, taking the simple premise of a man investigating the murderous actions of his brother is a sleepy Mediterranean ex-pat resort and gradually getting drawn into events. If ever there was a project that begs for a David Lynch adaptation (Film or Television) this is it.

Phil.K.Dick - Through a Scanner Darkly. An undercover narcotics agent is tasked with the ultimate investigation in the pursuit of finding out and uncovering the source of the extremely dangerous and highly addictive substance-D. A real departure from a lot of the more sci-fi heavy aspects of his other works, but a compelling and ultimately very moving piece. Richard Linklater made a rotoscoped film version with a cast to die for of Keanu, RDJ, Woody H & Winona Ryder that is very true to the novel: -

 

#Phonepunk#

Banned
Kurt Vonnegut - Slapstick

this was pretty enjoyable. mostly it makes me think of Bowie's Diamond Dogs, "Halloween Jack is a real cool cat and he lives on top of Manhattan Chase, the elevator's broke so he slides down a rope" etc. basically describing the characters in this novel. great stuff.

the classics are all wonderful as well. 1984 is, sadly, now a cliche, but that original novel still packs a punch. the film Brazil is a great follow-up or spiritual sequel. Animal Farm is just wonderful and a breezy read, as a middle schooler i picked it up and read it in one day.

Farenheit 451 is really great, and the 60's movie is awesome. Clockwork Orange of course, is incredible, and Kubrick's bizarrely stylish film is one of the most unique things to come out of 70's sci fi/dytopian film. i like how the book includes the glossary.
 

Dark Star

Member
Off the top of my head: -


Phil.K.Dick - Through a Scanner Darkly. An undercover narcotics agent is tasked with the ultimate investigation in the pursuit of finding out and uncovering the source of the extremely dangerous and highly addictive substance-D. A real departure from a lot of the more sci-fi heavy aspects of his other works, but a compelling and ultimately very moving piece. Richard Linklater made a rotoscoped film version with a cast to die for of Keanu, RDJ, Woody H & Winona Ryder that is very true to the novel: -


A SCANNER DARKLY is one of my faves!
really great film, very trippy.
i like the rotoscope visual on everything, it's like Waking Life.
the story is very dystopian, and Keanu hits a homerun with his performance
(along with the rest of the cast, who are all equally essential)
 
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Kadayi

Banned
Resetera.com

 

Kadayi

Banned
I'm not sure whether I'd necessarily say that they're dystopian per se but I'm a big fan of Gene Wolfe Epic 'The book of the New Sun' Series which in a similar vein to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series (another favourite) is set in a period where the Earth's Sun is waning. It's a sprawling tale told from the perspective of an unreliable narrator but is very enjoyable regardless, with some extremely epic moments to it. It's the sort of work that begs to be turned into a TV series by HBO or Netflix.
 

DunDunDunpachi

Patient MembeR
I'm not sure whether I'd necessarily say that they're dystopian per se but I'm a big fan of Gene Wolfe Epic 'The book of the New Sun' Series which in a similar vein to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series (another favourite) is set in a period where the Earth's Sun is waning. It's a sprawling tale told from the perspective of an unreliable narrator but is very enjoyable regardless, with some extremely epic moments to it. It's the sort of work that begs to be turned into a TV series by HBO or Netflix.
I feel the same way about New Sun. I'm a big fan of Gene Wolfe. I dunno if I'd call that dystopian though.
I guess in a sense, sure. It's about as far-flung as Radix and I'd consider Radix pretty dystopian.
 

petran79

Banned
Jack London's Call of the Wild and Wild Fang are classics for all readers who love nature and adventure, but The Iron Heel and Star Rover are on a whole other level for grown up readers.
 

Geki-D

Banned
I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and I was blown away by how utterly shit it was. It felt like a sci-fi world made up by a 10 year old. Really put my off reading any more Philip K Dick. Is that what to generally expect from his works or is it an outlier stinker?
 

strange headache

Fluctuat nec mergitur


“What was civilization ever, really, but the attempt by man to talk himself into being good? Only good, mind you. The rest had to be shoved somewhere out of sight, under the rug. Which History indeed did, at times politely, at times police-ly, and yet something was always sticking out, breaking loose, overthrowing.”

“Above the podium stood a decorated board showing the agenda for the day. The first item of business was the world urban crisis, the second—the ecology crisis, the third—the air pollution crisis, the fourth—the energy crisis, the fifth—the food crisis. Then adjournment.”

“Really, Tichy. Don’t be so demonic. Ours is simply a world in which more than twenty billion people live. Did you read today’s Herald? The government of Pakistan claims that in this year’s famine only 970,000 perished, while the opposition gives a figure of six million. In such a world where are you going to find Chablis, pheasants, tenderloin with sauce béarnaise? The last pheasant died a quarter of a century ago. That bird is a corpse, only excellently preserved, for we have become masters of its mummification—or rather: we have learned how to hide its death.”

“Dear patient (first name, last name)! You are presently located in our experimental state hospital. The measures taken to save your life were drastic, extremely drastic (circle one). Our finest surgeons, availing themselves of the very latest achievements of modern medicine, performed one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten operations (circle one) on you. They were forced, acting wholly in your interest to replace certain parts of your organism with parts obtained from other persons, in strict accordance with Federal Law (Rev. Stat. Comm. 1-989/0-001/89/1). The notice you are now reading was thoughtfully prepared in order to help you make the best possible adjustment to these new if somewhat unexpected circumstances in your life, which, we hasten to remind you, we have saved. Although it was found necessary to remove your arms, legs, spine, skill, lungs, stomach, kidneys, liver, other (circle one or more), rest assured that these mortal remains were disposed of in a manner fully in keeping with the dictates of your religion; they were, with the proper ritual, interred, embalmed, mummified, buried at sea, cremated with the ashes scattered in the wind—preserved in an urn—thrown in the garbage (circle one). The new form in which you will henceforth lead a happy and healthy existence may possibly occasion you some surprise, but we promise that in time you will become, as indeed all our dear patients do, quite accustomed to it We have supplemented your organism with the very best, the best, perfectly functional, adequate, the only available (circle one) organs at our disposal, and they are fully guaranteed to last a year, six months, three months, three weeks, six days (circle one).”

“We owe our liberation to chemistry," he went on. "For all perception is but a change in the concentration of hydrogen ions on the surface of the brain cells. Seeing me, you actually experience a disturbance in the sodium-potassium equilibrium across your neuron membranes. So all we have to do is send a few well-chosen molecules down into those cortical mitochondria, activate the right neurohumoral-synaptic transmission effector sites, and your fondest dreams come true. But you know all this," he concluded, subdued.”

"We keep this civilization narcotized, for otherwise it could not endure itself. That is why its sleep must not be disturbed..."
 

Yoshi

Headmaster of Console Warrior Jugendstrafanstalt
I'm currently reading and enjoying the Ender series (planning on making a thread about the importance to not look at the author's political opinions to decide what to read) and the first book, Ender's Game I think qualifies as a dystopian novel. It is also pretty great. Everything in society seems optimised to producing warrior children and training them into being cruel killing machines while reatining just enough empathy to understand the enemy's actions.
 
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