Dystopian Futures

Posted on September 29, 2017. Filed under: Fiction | Tags: , |

To paraphrase Barabosa in “Pirates of the Caribbean” – you best start believing in dystopian futures  Miss Turner… you’re in one!

The concept was originated by John Stuart Mill in the 19th Century. He meant it to be the exact opposite of a Utopia. A dystopia is an imaginary place where society has been degraded, the quality of life diminished, and a type of government (type can vary) is enforced to the exclusions of all other political viewpoints.

Generally, there is an explanation as to how the society went from a utopian or near utopian state to a dystopia – a war, a virus, overpopulation, etc. Also, while most characters live in fear, one or more characters will find themselves in opposition to this dystopian society, perhaps through no fault of their own. This character may or may not survive.

Stories about Dystopian Futures are very popular lately. Why not check one out? Here are some dystopian novels available at the library:

9780804172448_p0_v2_s550x406Station Eleven: A Novel
by Emily St. John Mandel

“One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: ‘Because survival is insufficient.’ But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780345807298_p0_v2_s550x406The Circle
by Dave Eggers

“When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge(Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781401208417_p0_v1_s550x406

V for Vendetta
Written by Alan Moore
Art by David Lloyd
Coloring by David Lloyd, Steve Whitaker, & Siobhan Dodds
Lettering by Jenny O’Connor, Steve Craddock, & Elitta Fell
Art for “Vincent” and additional art for “Valerie” and “The vacation” by Tony Weare

“A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V for Vendetta takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet. In a world without political freedom, personal freedom, and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

There are few passages I’ve found more touching than the “we had roses…” passage.

9788499890944_p0_v2_s192x300Nineteen eighty-four
by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four revealed George Orwell as one of the twentieth century’s greatest myth makers. While the totalitarian system that provoked him into writing it has since passed into oblivion, his harrowing cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare has had the opposite fate: its relevance and power to disturb our complacency seem to grow decade by decade.

In Winston Smith’s desperate struggle to free himself from an all-encompassing, malevolent state, Orwell zeroed in on tendencies apparent in every modern society, and made vivid the universal predicament of the individual” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780061726835_p0_v4_s550x406Delirium
By Lauren Oliver

“In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love? (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780525435006_p0_v1_s550x406The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood

“Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780061430367_p0_v2_s192x300Daughters of the North
By  Sarah Hall

England is in a state of environmental crisis and economic collapse. There has been a census, and all citizens have been herded into urban centers. Reproduction has become a lottery, with contraceptive coils fitted to every female of childbearing age.

A girl who will become known only as ‘Sister’ escapes the confines of her repressive marriage to find an isolated group of women living as ‘un-officials’ in Carhullan, a remote northern farm, where she must find out whether she has it in herself to become a rebel fighter” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780345539809_p0_v2_s550x406Red Rising
By Pierce Brown

“Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him, are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.

He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies—even if it means he has to become one of them to do so” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781632153661_p0_v1_s550x406Bitch Planet
Book one: Extraordinary machine

Script & Co-Creator: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art & Covers & Co-Creator: Valentine De Landro

“In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy.

When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Kevin Purtell

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