Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

(But Most Likely Because of the Haze from a Nuclear Winter or Because My Eyes Have Been Gouged Out in A Stoning)

Though I’m generally a glass half full, power of positive thinking kinda gal, I do have a darker side when it comes to my reading tastes.  I love bleak noir featuring troubled, hard-drinking private eyes.  I like true crime and serial killer thrillers.  I have a soft spot for horror, especially flesh-eating zombies. But most of all, I’m a real sucker for a good dystopian novel that tells of a bleak future, most likely involving post-apocalyptic hijinks or a good old fashioned theocratic, patriarchal government takeover. 

Dystopian novels have become a sub-genre unto themselves, categorized loosely under the Science Fiction umbrella.  Superfans will split hairs between P.A. (post apocalyptic) and straight up dystopian.  And of course there are the requisite sub-sub genres of ecotopian fiction, feminist utopias, etc.  One thing I’ve found in reading books of this ilk is that in the bleak future we’re all headed for, there’s a little something for every reading taste:

Lovers of classic literature can of course turn to the triumvirate of mid-twentieth century dystopian classics - Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and George Orwell’s 1984.  A lesser known work by a classic author is Jack London’s The Iron Heel, written in 1907 and considered to be the first “modern dystopian” novel.

Book clubbers will most certainly gravitate to one of the big books of this fall season, When She Woke by Hilary Jordan.  I just cracked this one and so far, it totally lives up to the hype and the critical praise, which describes it as “Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter via Margaret Atwood.”  I have read Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale several times and highly recommend it as a good book club pick as well. 

If you’re a fan of cult fiction and looking for a lesser-known book that will stand out in a crowd, try John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids, a great novel about bioengineered super plants with a killer opening scene.  Other cult faves include A Canticle for Leibowitz, wherein an order of monks must preserve scientific knowledge in a post-apocalyptic southwestern United States, and Alas, Babylon, set in Florida, centered around a one-day nuclear war, and is considered to be the first apocalyptic novel of the nuclear age.
As always, happy reading!

Susan , LPL Marketing


Anonymous said...

There is no scientific evidence for the idea of a "nuclear winter". Soviet scientists made it up to scare the West and other scientists just believed them. So, you don't have to worry about that any more, If you don't want to;)

Diana Lee said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I love this genre & have read all the usual suspects. Time for something new!

What Remains Now said...

Adding When She Woke to my reading list.