Thursday, 27 March 2014

Are You Fed Up With The End Of The World?

I think I may have a problem.

Looking at my bookcase I was faced with black spines begging to be read (or in some cases re-read), these books all have something in common and it occurred to me that I have a serious end of the world dystopian habit.

I can pinpoint exactly when it started.  Many years ago I read three books over a short period of time and those books changed my reading habits for a lifetime.

The first book was the epic Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien which set of a love affair with fantasy and introduced me to the likes of George R R Martin and Terry Pratchett.

The epic Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

The next two books set off my obsession with all things dystopian, they were 1984 by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.



As an impressionable teenager I was totally floored by the imagination of these authors and the future worlds that they created.  I remember reading 1984 thinking "imagine if this happens", it is happening! There are words in use these days that Big Brother's newspeak would be proud off, just sending a simple text these days eradicates the use of many words, plus our steps are traced the minute we leave the house, our phones make sure that we can be located and CCTV tracks our every move, Big Brother is watching.

Since reading these books then I have actively looked for more books in this genre and along this way also adding to this obsession bleaker end of the world novels.  Now we have the wonder of the internet, certain popular websites spout off recommendations left, right and centre making the finding of similar books much easier.

I think the one thing that grabbed me about these books is that they set the scene for what we can expect in the future, a future so totally different to our own.

Getting back to my bookcase! These books are now flooding the market, bleak dystopias are the basis for multi million selling novels and blockbuster movies.  Both The Hunger Games and Divergent are fantasic books set in an alternative future where something or someone has happened to the planet and they are now both blockbuster films with gorgeous Hollywood stars.

There are variations on the whole end of the world thing of course - you have your common garden nuclear holocaust, alien invasion, alien invasion but done sneakily taking over bodies (the host!), dark angels, global warming, zombies, vampires, asteroids, other supernatural creatures, I could go on.

But they all show such a bleak dark world, do we need more of them?  Every week there seems to be a new trilogy or series with one of the above themes, do we need more books showing human misery and suffering?

In a word yes!

These books do not just show misery and suffering, they show hope, they show love and they show the fact the no matter what crap hits the fan, humans just endure it, they need to survive its written in to our DNA, we do not just roll over and die.

This is why I love these books, yes they can be dark and if I have read a particular grim book I fully admit to going away and reading the fluffiest romance I can find but I think we have a need to know whats coming next and these books give us a glimpse in to what horrors could potentially befall us.  We can from the comfort of our beds walk through ruins of cities, live underground or be part of a society where every decision is made for you.

So yes, bring it on I want more disasters, I want more suffering and I know with this it will bring the love and hope that we so love about these books.

What is your favourite dystopian book? Why do you like it?  I would love to hear from you.


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4 comments

  1. I love dystopia too. ACID by Emma Pass, THE ELITES by Natasha Ngan, THE GLIMPSE by Claire Merle, SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi, THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, and DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth are among my favourites. The list is long!

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    1. I am actually halfway through ACID just now and have SHATTER ME waiting to be read, love Veronica Roth (love Four!!) and Suzanne Collins but have never read anything by Claire Merle so will have a look! Thanks for reading and replying!

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  2. Replies
    1. A truly excellent choice, you should read Wool Gathering an anthology of WOOLiverse stories!

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