Maybe this will help.
Did Charlie Brooker cast me?
Social media the morning of election was a cry of posts with people pleading to have woken in an episode of Black Mirror.
Given the trajectory of this past year, there are many nations divided by how they feel the world is looking as this current time. Some are enthused and others are horrified.
Whether you are in celebration or commiseration; to help you mark the events of this past year, here is a reading list of some of the best Dystopian novels.
1984 by George Orwell
A classic that some have marked the beginning of the Dystopian novel. A story exploring the expanse of media and government control. Analysing how the two institutes have conformed society to a set of ideologies that are governing the free will of the public. Word of warning: if you are searching for a happy ending, Orwell has not prescribed you one. How much does your privacy and choice mean to you?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The pillar novel always held in comparison to Orwell’s 1984. Huxley takes a different approach to immersing us in this dystonic world, by first having us believe that it works well. You will find yourself in a torrent of mixed reactions to the fantasy world he has created, perhaps believing it idyllic at some points, but then finding yourself disgusted by the principles that have created it. Beautiful descriptive language will have you bathing in the heartbeat of this place from the get go, while the characters will bring this world first alive for you, then will rip out its heart.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Surrealist, absurdly terrifying and yet completely relatable and representation of the world we live in today; just in a more metaphorical literary. The disturbing and twisted plot commentates on the state of mental illness, the perception of the unseen mind in an external world. The book highlights the juxtaposition of the beliefs of a traditional society and those of a younger generation. It discusses the stereotypes and fear attached to youth culture, where people associate only negativity to this generation; and label them delinquents and insane because they are scared of the changes a new generation can bring. The book is violent, graphic and detailed in its explorations of these concepts as it takes us through the life of a young man living in this dystopian fantasy future.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
A story spanning many different periods and locations, coming from the perspectives of six different main characters. A complex web or intricate and carefully planned novels that spell an interconnected set of actions leading to the final act of revolution. The reader is moved from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future. In this journey there is an exploration of the concept of time, of the transgressions of the human soul and how all of us are capable of actions good and bad. A heart-warming look into how all the small things matter, exploring the connection of events, choices and people and how it all fits together and what it can mean. Probably one of the most hopeful novels out of the ones listed.
The Breast by Phillip Roth
Arguably a detour from traditional dystopian literature, and in comparison to the novel aforementioned, certainly does transgress. So why list this book? Because in many ways it acts as a dystopian text by offering us a fantastical perspective of narrative to make comment on issues threatening our society at present. The story follows a Professor that transforms into a giant breast, and from living life this way we are shown the journey of his innermost thoughts and the realisations it throws upon the narrow minded and selfish professor. Following a similar construction of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, this may help you to understand the surreal imagery and frames used in this novel that will intrigue, disarm and prod your thoughts into turmoil and revelation. This novel highlights perfectly the breadth and variety available under the dystopian novel label.