Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Looking for some new Dystopia? How about some old Dystopia instead!

So let's discuss Dystopia (again?!!)

I love the Dystopia genre, from a young age I was obsessed with these stories which take the world that we live in and turn it upside down and inside out.  I have read a considerable number of books in the last few years in this genre that have reignited my passion, if there is a great nuclear bomb about to go off, a zombie coming through the window or the world has just plain gone to the dogs then I'm there.

It got me thinking though, whilst looking for my next read, maybe I should go back and re-read some of the books that got me excited in the first place and to also share them with you guys.

Maybe you have read some of these, maybe not but these six books and the pics below are my original books are what turned me from a Nancy Drew reading teen in to a avid reader of everything (via The Lord of The Rings) so without further ado let me introduce them to you.



Z FOR ZACHARIAH BY ROBERT O'BRIEN

I remember seeing this in my school library and being intrigued by the cover, we had just done an English project on Nuclear power, to be honest I'm not sure why we were doing that and not reading the classics but whilst doing this project we were made to watch the film Threads, (never seen it? Look it up, I have only watched it once and that was enough *chills*) and because of that I checked this out and took it home.

I have re-read it several times over the years, the story of a young girl by herself trying to survive after Nuclear war has devastated the States is a compelling story, it is bleak and depressing but most of all it's human.  As a stranger in a radiation suit arrives in her valley, will he turn out to be friend or foe.

I believe this book is getting the Hollywood treatment and being turned in to a film, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Buy from Amazon here

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NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR BY GEORGE ORWELL

I remember buying this from Waterstones many many years ago, in fact I think it was 1993, the cover did it for me first of all,. I love it and to be quite honest if I could find a large copy of it, it would be on my wall at home. 

I had read Animal Farm at school as I'm sure a lot of you did and this encouraged me to look past the cover and read another Orwell novel.  The first time I read it, I couldn't finish it, maybe I was too young, the second time a year later I tried again and finished it, I loved it.

The whole re-imagining of our government and language seemed a far fetched idea but Big Brother is everywhere, our speech is condensed in to text talk, what next?

I think this is a book everybody should read, maybe kids read it a school these days, I don't know but if they don't it should be on the curriculum, it is an impressive read and one of my top ten favourite books ever.

Buy from Amazon here

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BRAVE NEW WORLD BY ALDOUS HUXLEY

After I had properly read Nineteen Eighty-Four, I went back to Waterstones and looked for something else, this of course was in the days before Amazon and because you like this you should buy this.  

Raking around I came across Brave New World, once more intrigued I plunged in to this story.

A future setting where humans are genetically modified and placed in to their social groupings, the lowly Epsilon to the high ranking Alpha's.  Sex and recreational drugs are high on everyones list and keep them all happy.

Brave New World follows one man who is not happy, he visits a savage reservation where life is still the same as the old days, his visit may change his view on life. 

I believe there is a quote on the back of my copy which says "This is all bound to happen eventually", I can quite believe it.

Buy from Amazon here

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CHILDREN OF THE DUST BY LOUISE LAWRENCE

As I mentioned above during English at school I did a project on Nuclear power, we were made to read this book, now thinking back I really don't know if it was such a good idea reading these books as impressionable teenagers, one night out I caught a friend crying her eyes out as she was convinced we were going to be nuked at any minute.  

Thankfully that was not the case but this book did leave a lasting impression.

It starts of a with young family dealing with the immediate after effects of a full out nuclear strike and the resulting fall out and fight for survival, it made for a harrowing read but life progresses and through the book we see the future as we meet the next generation and generation after that as they rebuild the world as we now know it.

It is scary stuff, maybe tamer by todays standards but it scared me enough to leave a lasting impression.

Buy from Amazon here

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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE BY ANTHONY BURGESS

Is this Dystopian? 

I'm not sure but reading and finally seeing the film, to me it looked like a totally different kind of world,  so to me it is.

It freaked me out, the violence, the language but the style got to me, the white outfits, the darkness of the teens in it really did get under my skin.  

The film as you may now was banned for a long time, tame by today's standards when it came out it was seen as a gruesome violent horrible film by many inlcuding the late Mary Whitehouse.

It is maybe not an easy book to read but it is one you should read.

Buy from Amazon here

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THE GUARDIANS BY JOHN CHRISTOPHER

This was another book I read at school, the story revolves around a young boy who escapes from the big city also called the conurbs, this is where the poor live and he finds his way to the countryside where the gentry live.  No easy job as there is a fence separating the two, he risks his life to break through.

Safely on the other side he finds himself befriended by another young boy and he becomes part of his perfect family, well off complete with servants but is everything as happy as they make it out to be?

The Guardians was another book that left a lasting impression on me, and along with Children of the Dust above this was a book I actively seeked out in my twenties to read again.

Buy from Amazon here
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All of these books above have left their mark upon me, I still compare current Dystopian reads to these, In my mind they are the benchmark for me,  for anything Dystopian I read.

What I am hoping to do in 2015 is to read these again and review them for you in greater detail as I always find something that you read as a child can read totally different as an adult.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has some favourites old Dystopian novels as there will be authors I have not mentioned such as HG Wells, let me know! I'm always looking out for my next book!!

I hope this gives you a little bit of inspiration to look further back for a brilliant Dystopian read.

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