Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Dystopia Challenge 2012

Image Links to Challenge Page

I”m a bit nervous about this one. Mainly because I am a sissy.

I’ve read lots of the classics in this field, and probably at too-young an age.

George Orwell’s 1984
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We 
Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz
John Christopher’s The White Mountains (and sequels)
Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (and sequels)
Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies 
Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing
P.D. James’ The Children of Men
Stephen King’s The Stand
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go 
Sheri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country 
Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker

When I have nightmares, this is what I’m dreaming about.

So nowadays I tend to read this stuff on really sunny days.

And not too early in the morning, and not too late at night.

And not when I’m home alone and feeling antsy about it.

Translation: there is a very narrow window of reading comfort on this theme for me.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I want to read in this vein.

So here’s hoping that I can not only achieve my goal of Asocial (5 books) but pass the mark to Contagion (15 books).

✔ Newer volumes in the Walking Dead series (Volume 15: We Find Ourselves)
Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay
Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death
Dmitry Glukovsky’s Metro 2033
Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke
Doris Lessing’s Mara and Dann (Book One)
✔ Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go (Book One)
Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother
John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids
John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids
Carrie Mac’s The Droughtlanders (Book One)
Cormac McCarthys’ The Road
Max Brooks’ World War Z
Robert McCammon’s Swan Song
Nevil Shute’s On the Beach
Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City
Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man Unmanned (Book One)
Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now
Marcel Theroux’s Far North
M.K. Wren’s A Gift Upon the Shore
John Lindqvist’s Handling the Undead
Frank Herbert’s The White Plague
Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Book One)
Moira Young’s Blood Red Road (Book One)
Colson Whitehead’s Zone One

If you have any suggestions — given that I’ve enjoyed all the classics that I listed near the top of the page, and given that I don’t have a very long list of possibles above, if I would truly — if secretly, or not-so-secretly — like to get to 15, please let me know!

I’ll record my reads for the Asocial level of this challenge below:
1. Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)
2. Alex Adams’ White Horse (2012)
3. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Volume 15: We Find Ourselves (2011)
4. Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008)
5. Jeff Lemire’s Out of the Woods (2010; Sweet Tooth, Volume 1)

And, now I’m shooting for the Contagion Level.

6. Jeff Lemire’s In Captivity (2010; Sweet Tooth, Volume 2)
7. Jeff Lemire’s Animal Armies (2011; Sweet Tooth, Volume 3)
8. Jeff Lemire’s Endangered Species (2012; Sweet Tooth, Volume 4)
9. Nalo Hopkinson’s The Chaos (2012)

Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay (2010)

December Notes: So, I made my goal, and fell a good ways short of Contagion (15 books), but I’ve enjoyed what I read. Obviously there are still lots of great dystopic reads on my shelves (I’ve only finished two of the books that I’d been considering, although I will finish Mockingjay before the end of the year), so I have lots of good reading ahead.

Thanks very much to the host and to the other dystopic readers who had some great recommendations along the way and introduced me to many new potential favourite authors.


4 comments to Dystopia Challenge 2012

  • Great list! And so much to choose from too, which is always a good thing. I replied to your comment back on BA and here’s the recommended dystopia list I mentioned. It looks like you’ve either read most of them or already have them on your to read list, but there’s a few on the list that I can see in yours. Hopefully it will add or at least give you some more ideas.

  • Thanks, Bonnie, for the link and the encouragement. I didn’t get a book read towards this challenge in January, but I’m eyeing one in particular for February. Ironically, it’s not even on my list, but it is on my shelves, and the first few pages were quite absorbing… *rubs palms*

  • A notable omission is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Off the top of my head, others to look out for are Replay by Ken Grimwood and the Hater trilogy by David Moody. Oh, and, while not strictly dystopian, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas has elements of dystopia, never mind the fact that it is an exceptional piece of literature.

    • You’re right, Ryan: the Bradbury book should be listed there. I read it more than twenty years ago, and I’m positive that I shouldn’t even be counting it as read anymore, and should definitely be re-reading. I have Cloud Atlas in mind, because I’ve adopted the idea that Mitchell is a favourite author even though I’ve not read a thing of his (heh), but I hadn’t heard of either of the others you’ve mentioned, so they’re on my list to investigate. Thanks very much for the thoughts! Don’t hesitate to add others, if you think of something…

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