I love a book about a bleak future…. I don’t know why… I am quite a happy person really, but I do like the drama and I like to think about consequences… so I suppose it makes sense. Dystopia is obviously the opposite of utopia, so instead of a fabulous, happy shining world, you are looking at one which is inherently flawed, disturbing and strange (a bit like ours can be sometimes). I have never been a massive one for science fiction, but many of my favourite dystopian novels do border on that.
Most recently, I read The Passage by Justin Cronin. Although this does not make it into my top 10 (see list below) I did enjoy it. In this novel we are shown the results of a governmental experiment to create super soldiers using the DNA of a bat from South America. The resulting “virals” have attacked the human population of America and we find ourselves in a safe haven with a group of humans whose light source (the only way to deter the “mmm”) is failing. Alongside the story is the one of ‘Amy’ who is connected to the virals but somehow different. For one she is a child and she is also not feeding on humans. We don’t know just how many people have survived, whether America is the only affected country or even how Amy fits into it all. We do know that some people have survived, as certain chapters are excerpts from a diary of one of the characters which is being reviewed by a conference of world leaders in the far future.
The book is a serious investment of your time, it is a big story and I felt that there were parts of it that could have been better explored. So if you are going to head down the Dystopian road… here are my top 10 books (to date… I suspect I will add to this)
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
- 1984 – George Orwell
- Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
- The Road – Cormac McCarthy
- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
- Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
- Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Attwood
- The Carhullan Army – Sarah Hall
- Ubik – Philip K Dick
Doesn’t quite make the cut:
- We by Yevgeny Zamyatin which was hard going but inspired George Orwell
- Under the Skin, which is a favourite of mine, but is not technically dystopian.