Regarding literature, many of you have probably heard of the term dystopia. You can find it at book stores, in films, and in reviews. But what does it mean? In this case, dystopia refers to a type of literature which observes government and societal structures. Being the opposite of utopia (which is an illustration of an “ideal” society), dystopia consists of undesirable and degraded societies. Dystopian fiction can be also known as apocalyptic fiction since these societies usually arise after extreme changes on Earth.
Today, dystipian fiction is becoming increasingly popular and is appearing more frequently around the world. New individuals are becoming captivated by these addicting fictional worlds. And yet, this sudden hype for dystopia hasn’t appeared out of nowhere. In fact, this concept has already been seen in literature for decades. With the influence of Young Adult post-apocalyptic novels such as the famous The Hunger Games series, more individuals are being drawn into this genre.
Are you new to this genre and hope to get started? Or have you read The Hunger Games and wish to discover more novels? Here a list of outstanding dystopian novels that are perfect for everyone.
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Published in 1993, this novel is has been a favourite for many years. It features Jonas, a twelve year old boy who lives in a so called “perfect” society where everyone and everything is the same. Every year, there is a ceremony for the twelve year olds that are given their occupation for the rest of their adult lives by the Community. Once Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver, he meets a man called the Giver and his perception of the world changes forever.
2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is a thoughtful and well told story of five year old named Andrew “Ender” Wiggin who has been drafted into Battle School (a school in space which trains selected individuals in a military-like fashion). In hopes to fight off an alien race called Buggers, the International Fleet is looking for the perfect commander capable of leading armies and making difficult choices. Being specially born for this task, Ender is forced to handle bullies, zero-gravity, as well as the constant pressure to be the smartest and the best. This novel written by Orson Scott Card leaves the readers in awe as they reflect on the meaning of humanity, passion, and warfare.
3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Winston Smith lives in Airstrip One (formerly called Great Britain), Oceania, a country ruled by a totalitarian government known as the Party. With telescreens that never turn off, a new language named Newspeak, and spies that lurk in every corner, all the citizens are forced to obey the rules and love Big Brother – the leader. Winston secretly loathes the Party and wishes to rebel against them. When he finds Julia, a beautiful woman who also hates Big Brother, they try to start a rebellion. But they must be careful. Big Brother is watching you. This chilling book written by George Orwell is not only a classic, but perhaps an insight of what our present day could potentially become.
4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Thomas wakes up only remembering his name. Without any insight on his past or the world, Thomas is introduced to several boys who live in the Glade. The Glade is a self-run society with every member (or Glader) assigned a specific job. As Thomas adapts to his new life, he becomes interested in becoming a Runner. Surrounded by a maze, these Runners go out into the unknown to try and find an escape. However one day, everything the boys have known change when a girl appears. Filled with action and suspense, James Dashner illustrates a horrific world that will captivate teenagers as well as adults.
Other novels featuring dystopia include Brave New World, Chaos Walking Trilogy, Divergent, and Fahrenheit 451.
Whether it’s for school, a book club or to past the time, dystopian novels are not only entertaining, but able to provoke thought about our societies and governments today.
Photo Credits: en.wikipedia.org, goodreads.com, hannahjanewrites.com, thestudentreview.co.uk
About the contributor: Ellen is a high school student who enjoys many activities such as reading, writing, playing various instruments and watching movies. She hopes to one day pursue a career in journalism.