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They brought a virus with them that almost wiped out humanity, and then made themselves at home in the wild. Survivors banded together in underground communities run by totalitarian governments, keeping remnants of civilization intact.

Broken Worlds: Dystopian Stories

Sky has never been outside her community, but when she finds a letter from her father who left many years ago, she decides to follow the instructions he left her and travel to Lake Michigan to find him. With her best friend, Shawn, she sets off into the dinosaur-infested outside world. But Sky and Shawn are woefully unprepared to survive in an ordinary world, let alone one full of predators! But the animals are real, and they have come to Kester to ask for help saving the last bit of the wild, where there are still living creatures.

To save the animals, Kester will have to trust them, and trust a stubborn girl named Polly who also knows that there is more of the wild still left than the dystopian government will admit to. If Kester and his allies, both human and animal, can persevere, they can find the key to undo the mass extinction and heal the planet.

Mutated animals, the Unnaturals, which are pitted against each other in the arena. Castor, an ordinary stray dog, never wanted to be a fighter. Nor did he want enormous wings and eagle talons. Castor and the other animals in his batch of Unnaturals seem to have no choice. Then Castor finds a most unlikely friend in the veteran fighter Pookie, a Chihuahua crossed with a giant spider, who helps him believe he can stay true to himself and maybe even find a way to escape…. The sequel takes Castor and his fellow mutants on a dangerous journey toward freedom.

15 Underseen And Overlooked Dystopian Futures In Film

Parched , by Melanie Crowder This one is set in a near future version of southern Africa, where rising sea levels have turned fresh water undrinkable, and the coastal cities have collapsed into chaos. For now, she can keep herself and the family dogs alive…and the dogs themselves wonder, in bits of narration from their doggish perspective, what will become of them.

In one of the crumbling cities, a boy named Musa has a gift for finding water.

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Women are forced to harvest so many eggs that their hips crack, food crises lead to everyone eating just meat, children start mysteriously floating, warriors fight with sound guns … the level of imagination is staggering, but the book remains grounded in the dismal fact of human adaptation or is it resignation? Reading The City of Ember is an experience tinged with a constant, low-grade anxiety, like the moment before a jump scare in a horror movie.

Lina Mayfleet lives in a world of scarcity, with food supplies depleting and no means of getting more. Even more terrifying, she lives in a world of encroaching darkness — the sky and world beyond her underground city are black and, like the food supply, the light bulbs are running out. When the book begins, flickers and power shortages are commonplace, and Lina never knows when an outage might be permanent.

Of course, we get the standard dystopian tropes: career assigned to you in this case by picking out of a bag , no strong parental figures, a younger sibling to care for. But what makes it unique among the bevy of early aughts young-adult books is how visceral her fear is.

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  • There is a clock running out, and we have no idea how much time is left. With the self-centeredness of just about any high-school-aged kid, narrator Kathy details the drama of a love triangle and the sexual awkwardness that comes with being young and curious. But as she grows older, it becomes apparent that Kathy and her schoolmates are meant for a different life: to be cogs in the wheel of a larger system that is so dominant, so all-consuming, that mere thoughts of rebellion never even emerge.

    Here, she finds state-of-the-art fitness equipment, art and cultural materials, and a friendly staff. It all seems decidedly pleasant — except for the mandatory nature of it, and the fate of all of the residents there. The result is a powerful meditation on questions of societal obligations, families or the lack thereof , and how one best leaves a mark on the world.

    Instead, he zeroes in on essential questions: What does it mean to be part of a family as the world reverts to a state of nature? Is it more important to uphold some remnant of morality and idealism in this broken world, or does survival take precedence over everything else? This is not the kind of dystopian narrative that extrapolates contemporary events far into the future, or uses fantastical or uncanny elements to heighten a mood. The novel follows the title character as she escapes from a totalitarian nation and finds herself in a series of nightmarish scenarios, from grotesque industries to urban violence.

    As she ventures north, she joins up with a group of like-minded women living on a farm called Carhullan. In the U. There are a few stylish flourishes that make this novel veer in unexpected ways. Hall offers plenty for sociopolitically minded readers to ponder in this haunting narrative. Can poetry also bring the reader into a dystopian landscape? Most definitely — there are several writers whose experiments with literary forms and narratives take them into futuristic spaces and transformative narratives. The writings of Bhanu Kapil come to mind. In these poems, Hong also hearkens back to a horrific real-world incident of political oppression: the Gwangju uprising, in which South Korean citizens protested military rule and encountered a violent response.

    Sometimes the dystopian narrative extrapolates contemporary trends and fears; sometimes it summons up memories of a grim moment from history. Beukes is fantastic at capturing metropolises where things have gone ever-so-slightly off. Her first novel, Moxyland , uses the lives of four characters to zero in on questions of class, commercialization, and the overlap of media and technology — urgent ones to this moment in time.

    The South African author writes about pop culture better than most, both in terms of forecasting the plausible artists and trends of tomorrow and how media consumption in the future might look. The series that launched a million think pieces. Say what you will about the craze that followed, but this novel brought a new era of young readers into bookstores, had them questioning authority, and turned the braid into an act of rebellion.

    Modern Dystopian Fiction

    While it will perhaps not be remembered for its prose, generations to come will know the international phenomenon The Hunger Games ignited. Though its most prescient social commentary was warning us how easily reality TV could take over politics. When the world is on fire, will you be a passive viewer, or will you volunteer as tribute?

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    For all of the heightened talk of reducing societal dependence on fossil fuels in recent years, said fuels still play a significant role in our lives. The Windup Girl offers an in-depth look at a society where oil is no more and kinetic energy is abundant. The ravages of genetic engineering is a frequent theme in science fiction — the way that the promise of science can suddenly give rise to something that brutally alters the fabric of society. Nearly everything here seems off: The rationale for the missions suggests that things are deeply wrong with this society.

    Shteyngart imagines a financially gutted New York City that the world has left behind, where a vaguely and aimlessly authoritarian federal government issues labels and missives with obvious typos and everyone lives in fear of their publicly readable credit score. There is no apocalypse on the horizon, just more malaise. And yet, the next-most-operative word is love , as the romance in the foreground — however troubled it is — reminds you that common, private humanity survives in almost any fallen world.

    On one hand, Ready Player One is an all-encompassing tribute to all forms of geek culture and fandom. But in its midst-century setting, where environmental catastrophes and economic issues have radically upended the U. Can nostalgia be dystopian in and of itself? It just might. This is a subtly postapocalyptic world; some of the conflicts feel timeless, and a subplot about weaponized rape is particularly wrenching to read. The novel takes place in a future Sudan, where the light-skinned Nuru oppress the dark-skinned Okeke.


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    Martin attached as executive producer. Forget what you know from the HBO show. Can the people who remain, the titular leftovers, resume their normal lives when such an event has taken place? And, yes, although some characters find meaning in joining a cultlike community called the Guilty Remnant, who chain-smoke cigarettes while wearing white, Perrotta is at his best when he focuses on the mundane — the teenage girls who have regular teenage-girl problems, even while the world feels so profoundly broken.

    The ripest fruit borne of the Hunger Games tree. In the wake of Katniss mania, a new era of YA dystopia was ushered in, and Divergent was the cream of the crop. Every teenager has seen these groups before: The Dauntless are brave jocks ; the Erudite are intelligent nerds ; the Amity are peaceful do-gooders. Though the series takes many convoluted turns and ends on a pretty unsatisfying note, Roth created a story where every reader could see themselves and imagine what their role in the rebellion to come would be.

    But what makes this novel lodge in the mind is the inherent fragility of nearly everything: the shreds of civilization looking to piece themselves together; the wall keeping parts of lower Manhattan safe; even the handful of zombies who remain stationary, a reminder of the people they used to be. Whitehead impressively blends fatalism with a sense of hope, and sustains tension on multiple levels throughout the narrative. The novel memorably encompasses the complexities of a society in which art, love, and politics are intertwined.

    The collapse of technology; diseases that decimate the population; natural disasters; the arrival of an extraterrestrial menace. In The 5th Wave — the first book of a trilogy — humanity must deal with all of these things in rapid succession. Sometimes, an abundance of disasters can make for a compelling read; such is the case here. On Such a Full Sea taps into that sense of community in memorable ways. Lee posits a future in which isolated communities are populated by the children and grandchildren of migrant workers who settled in the United States.

    The novel is more interested in the marriage at its center: Cal and Frida are making the most of the apocalypse, living off the land, interacting only with a bartering network to exchange for the goods they need. Lepucki manages to remind us that if the world were to end, human drama would exist until its last breath.

    Like her postmodern predecessors, Kleeman gives us a story that holds a warped mirror to the world we live in, saturated with ready-made foods and ads, making for interchangeable consumers.

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