7 Dystopian Novels

As I have read a fair bit of dystopian literature of late, I am devoting this week’s blog post to the subject.

Definition: Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’…(more)

Here are 7 dystopian novels by 7 different authors, all of which I have read. They are presented in chronological order.

 

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (1895)

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells’s seminal work is about a man who builds himself a time machine, and then travels over 800,000 years into the future. At first it appears this world is a wonderful place, but the Traveller soon discovers that there is a sinister, hidden subterranean class. This bestseller is credited with launching the time-travel genre.

My Review: N/A

Rating: Good

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Brave New World

Brave New World utilises erudite social commentary to explore mankind’s inherent nature. Huxley’s portentous vision has proven to be prescient in its prediction of a science-controlled, consumer culture.

My Review: Brave New World is set in a society where everything is controlled. The parentless, manufactured, free-loving population are dependent on a state-endorsed hallucinogenic, happiness drug called Soma. Helicopters serve as the primary mode of transport. Entertainment takes…(more)

My Rating: Good

 

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

1984

This dystopian classic is set in a world of constant war, government surveillance and manipulation. The novel’s protagonist works for the Ministry of Truth, which is responsible for historical revisionism and propaganda. 1984 warns of totalitarian censorship. It has been viewed as controversial since its publication due to its themes of nationalism and censorship.

My Review: N/A

My Rating: Excellent

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Fahrenheit 451

There is much to ponder in this satirical book whose motif is a warning about the threat posed by state censorship. Bradbury’s seminal work predicts our increasing obsession with mass media.

My Review: Books are banned in this dystopian world, where firemen are employed to burn them. Guy Montag is a fireman, who lives an unfulfilling existence with Mildred, his sedentary, parlour-consuming wife: parlours being an in-house form of entertainment…(more)

My Rating: Quite Good

 

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange is a controversial book whose themes include behaviourism, free will and the role of the state. It employs an imaginary teenage dialect called ‘nadsat’.

My Review: Alex is an eccentric 15-year-old delinquent with a penchant for classical music and drinking milk. He and his fellow ‘droogs’ assault, rob and rape with impunity, that is until a serious incident sees him arrested and incarcerated…(more)

My Rating: Good

 

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)

Man in High Castle

This alternative history dystopia is set in a world in which the allies lost The War. It is a somewhat chaotic work containing many intrigues.

My Review: After the allies lost World War II America was divided in half. The Germans occupied the east, the Japanese the west. It is now 1962. Robert Childan is the owner of an Americana antiques shop in San Francisco…(more)

My Rating: Okay but convoluted.

 

High-Rise by J. G. Ballard (1975)

High-Rise

High-Rise is a tale about how the social order can fragment. Tense, bleak and satirical, it explores the connection between technology and the human condition.

My Review: Set in an apartment tower block in London, High-Rise is a dystopian tale about the intense animosity that develops between the building’s various floors. The story centres around three main characters – Robert Laing, an instructor at…(more)

My Rating: Quite Good

 

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