Source: Ahmadreza H
Books have been used to push perspectives and ideologies for many millennia now. They can gain strength over time, take religious. They can be made illegal out of authoritative fear. They can motivate small groups of men to change society from one system to another. They can motivate protests, revolutions, or as is often the case, a book might be a big thing in one year to be largely forgotten in later years. Or maybe it will be proven a fraud, the discipline could fall out of public favor. Many theorists go unread as they’re not translated or because they haven’t been pushed as other authors have. Some authors are so difficult their ideas go unnoticed. Books basically hold so many answers but are so difficult to circulate to all that it’s likely many answers to many problems will most likely gather dust.
Fiction, being more widely read than Non-Fiction can be a great tool to use to show the world how the world could be better, or worse off. How society may actually be on course for a situation worse than it’s currently experiencing. Societal change isn’t always slow. It can be radical and abrupt allowing no one to prepare. These books become a part of the public’s narrative and end up being placeholders to describe a situation. Below, are 9 Dystopian books that focus on the suffering and injustice that can be brought about in society, have a read and let us know what you think.
A book from Canada everyone should read, especially since book two, The Testaments, will be released on the 10th of September (2019). I haven’t watched the TV series (though I’ve heard great things) so I can’t comment but the book is enlightening. The American government is overthrown by Christian Extremists and women, minorities, and followers of certain ideologies find themselves ostracised.
Considering that America has a higher number of Extremist Christian factions who aren’t shy to expose themselves to negative media attention. Good, bad, or ugly. If you aren’t read up on this subject you can google The Christian Right in America. This book exemplifies how America could rapidly change if these groups aligned to bring about social change. Whilst America has been used as an example, in this case, other parts of the world are also seeing a rise in these groups.
The best part of this book, Atwood based everything in the book on real-life events so she couldn’t be blamed for having a messed up imagination.
America has changed, and whilst old positions remain. The jobs are now completely different. Take Firefighters. It was once their job to stop fires, their job now is to search for books, burn them, and incarcerate readers. Reading is illegal, it creates too much dissent. People, Families, Towns, simply go missing and no one cares. The world is always at war. History, ideas, and knowledge finds itself under the control of governments.
Bradbury was worried by how occupied and influenced people were with Television and more importantly how it can be used as a tool of control. Sadly, little has changed. Published before the widespread expansion of Social Media the book is oddly striking and relatable to modern everyday life.
One of my favourite things about this book? This American classic was published by entrepreneur Hugh Hefner. A truly diversified entrepreneur Hefner founded playboy, published his own books and put his money into many successful ventures. Other than Bradbury, Roald Dahl (children’s author known for Matilda, The Witches, etc) wrote for Hefners Playboy as well as Margaret Atwood (known for The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace), Vladimir Nabakov (known for Lolita), as well as Gabriel Garcia Marquez (known for One Hundred Years of Solitude). The Playboy Magazine was a great outlet for authors.
Women are experiencing various different situations around the globe. Then something miraculous happens. You’ll have to read the book to find out what. This something changes everything. Wars break out, political alliances form and terrorist cells hoping to bring the old social order back push with vigor.
With numerous overlapping storylines taking place all over the world, there will 100% be a story that strikes a chord.
This book is fairly new to the world, published in 2016. Already it is widely read, accumulating more than 109,000 views on Goodreads only 3 years later. Books haven’t died just yet. It strikes many similarities with The Handmaid’s Tale but ultimately is completely different.
This book is more often read by women then men, at a Celebrity memorial I attended I spotted a young lady reading this book. I was instantly drawn to her and inquired into what she was currently thinking of the book. Bam! A friendship was struck, just how I like them, over a shared interest.
Whilst the film is widely watched. Not many people tend to read V For Vendetta which is a shame. The Comic (Graphic Novel some may say) is a fantastic modern-day retelling of Guy Fawkes sprinkled with Concentration Camps, Genocide, Self Recreation and Media Propaganda in an Oppressive Britain.
It’s a great piece of art, weaving in and out of different lives and characters in Britain’s current Social Hierarchy.
One of my favourite reads! I can’t say much other than pick this one up.
A worldwide blockbuster, who doesn’t know the story. Who hasn’t watched the movie? But how many have read the book? I would say give this one a try. Suzanne Collins beautifully weaves a love story into a society that has sunken to the levels of Gladiator deaths from children to incite fear into its citizen’s hearts. It’s a dark society where your position is set in stone.
When writing to show others how dark and gloomy society is, it can be hard to weave in the simple parts of human nature. Crushes, friendship, hating authority, and family love. Even better you watch the ‘good movement’ use people as symbols. By force. Now just think, how many movements have or have had a ‘face’. How many of these people wanted to be there?
Take Tommy Robinson, he was the face of the EDL for many years and as the face had to push a certain message/face public backlash. When in prison he was left to be nearly beaten to death by other prisoners. But by him leaving the EDL does that show that at some point he may have been coerced? He has been open about how the Mi5 tried to force him into working for them, threatening to lock up his wife and operating raids on his home to reinforce their power. He has since sued the police.
A classic book by George Orwell aiming to show how far individual freedom can fall under the influence of government control. The TV adaption of the book, which hardly aims to examine societal truths in their fullest, truly does Orwell no honour.
In this society, the government, or Big Brother sees everything, here’s everything and thereby controls everything. There is a certain way to live and all citizens are expected to simply be another brick in the wall. Children, who have been indoctrinated from birth spy, and inform back to the government. They believe this is the way to live. Camps have been set up to re-educate those who don’t comply with the status quo.
Not all stories have a happy ending and this is one of them. In fact, don’t read the ending!
Another book by Orwell on the list. In Why I Write, Orwell outlines how as a Communist he is always aiming to exemplify the issues of capitalism in the most engaging way. His medium of choice was literature, essays, and articles.
The farmer in Animal Farm isn’t well liked, he’s been showing favoritism. He gets drunk, sometimes he mistreats the animals and therefore, animals and later people in the community have lost some rest for him. He is overthrown, we get to watch a revolution on a small scale. At first, everything seems fine nearly perfect, but as time goes on a hierarchy forms. Quite similar to the previous one.
Rules are put in place which benefit those at the top and make their position evermore comfortable. The old system is replaced by something worse. A great book that acts as a critique of both Capitalism and Communism. A MUST read!!!
The Racial dynamics of society have been reversed. Terrorists are running rampant, and certain romances have become more than taboo.
In this book, two friends from different sides of the track go down two different paths. Rather than never be aligned their destinies overlap in the worst way possible proving to be fatal for decades later. Following desegregation, blacks and whites were allowed legally to marry and consummate children but relations between blacks and whites had already been solidified.
R a p e was a word screamed on both sides and this book looks at what happens when society can’t believe in interracial love. A book series, book 1 may be all you need to see where Malorie Blackman is going.
Think of a world where tinder has become government policy. I read this book some years ago, I was a teenager and Tinder hadn’t even been created yet. Without giving the story away, the premise of the book is that the government chooses if you will be single for life or Matched. If matched, they then decide who you will be matched with. Literally, Tinder as government policy.
Which other Dystopian books do you think are worth a read? Comment below and I’ll read, or connect on Goodreads to see what I’m currently reading.
By Shaneka Knight
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