Monday, April 25, 2011

Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic

Utopia Now!
Sinclair Lewis put it best in Main Street when he simply stated, "We want our utopia now."  And we must.  How else do you explain all these books written about dystopian societies created in the pursuit of perfection?  This is a genre that has seen a huge boom in the publishing (especially in the young adult) industry lately and with it, brings a few questions.

What the heck is a dystopia?  Sounds like a disease.
In a way it is a cure that mutated into a disease so you're definitely on the right track!  Dystopia is a play on the word Utopia which is a concept for an imagined state of perfection within a community or society.  In dystopian fiction, an organization or government has taken a diseased society (such as the one we currently live in) and tried to fix it, usually through complete control over every aspect of an individual's life.  The end result is a seemingly perfect society . . . or is it?  Thus, a dystopia is born.

What about post-apocalyptic?  Is that the same thing?
In post-apocalyptic literature, the focus is generally on surviving a catastrophic event of some kind that nearly destroys humanity.  From the ashes of such events, dystopian fiction is often built.  In other words, they are very different, but not mutually exclusive.  In fact, combining the two has become increasingly popular over the years, which is why many of the books on this list may have post-apocalyptic elements.

So why should I read such weird sounding books?
Although some of the concepts in these books may sometimes seem a bit ridiculous (um yeah, like I totally want to look like everyone else and be a Barbie doll!), their underlying message to be ever vigilant in our care and awareness of ourselves and our communities is important for all people.

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Young Adult
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Eve by Anna Carey
Crossed by Ally Condie
Matched by Ally Condie
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Dark Life by Kat Falls
Incarceron/Sapphquie by Catherine Fisher
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
The Giver/Gathering Blue/Messenger by Lois Lowry
Legend by Marie Lu
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Inside Out/Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

The Atherton Series by Patrick Carman

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  1. I love how you did the Q&A!

    I can't wait to read some of these! I've read a few, but not all. I started the Uglies on a DB recording, but I think I'd rather read the books. The voice was so annoying!

    1. Thanks Steff! Yes, you should definitely give Uglies a try again but keep in mind that the main character is naturally annoying. ;)