New Dystopian Novels

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New Dystopian Novels

1avaland
Jan 11, 2008, 8:47am

I thought we could use a thread to note any new dystopian novels that come out.

Here's one I discovered while perusing the reviews of Publishers Weekly at the library; I may have mentioned it before, although I have not read it.

Our American King by David Lozell Martin (came out in September of last year)

From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. At the start of Martin's compelling postapocalyptic novel, which reads like The Road as told by the crusty old woman from Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Mary and her husband, John, perch precariously in a tree while a huge, corpse-eating pig waits below. Flashback a few decades: Mary and John are starving in suburban Maryland outside Washington, D.C., after a disaster known as the calamity destroyed much of the country's infrastructure. The top .1% of America's richest citizens have bought up all the commodities and withdrawn to enclaves guarded by hired thugs. After a man known as Tazza emerges as a strong local leader, John declares him king. Martin (The Crying Heart Tattoo) charts Tazza's self-sustaining kingdom from its early bucolic beginnings to its final bloody battles against rapacious Canadians hired by a resurgent American government bent on subduing this upstart leader. Filled with action, romance and terrific characters, this intelligent cautionary tale deserves a wide readership.

2avaland
Edited: Jan 17, 2008, 7:47am

edited to delete notes no longer valid. . .

ooo, and we get to battle "rapacious Canadians"!

3fannyprice
Jan 11, 2008, 5:38pm

Gotta watch out for those Canadians!

4avaland
Jan 14, 2008, 7:18am

Now that I'm halfway through the book I need to add that the book is satirical somewhat reminiscent in my mind of works by James Morrow, maybe Sheri Tepper in The Fresco, or Kit Reed in Thinner than Thou. However, like any intelligent satire it makes its points . It's an interesting mix of thoughtfulness and wit.

5avaland
Edited: Jan 17, 2008, 7:51am

I have finished the book and left some notes as a review. As I have said in other places it was weirdly entertaining. It's laugh-out-funny in places and very grim in others. I read the one other review of the book and because of it I would suggest that if one does not understand how satire works, one shouldn't read the novel. One is bound to be offended by some thing or another or chide the novel for not being 'realistic'.

I have deleted my notes above because they were in error, at least with regards to this novel. In any event, I need to rethink them. The apocalyptic 'happening' in this book is only referred to as a social 'calamity' and suggests it happened over a certain course of time and not suddenly (as in a comet hitting the earth).

6avaland
Jan 24, 2008, 8:55am

Due out here in the US in April is The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson.

Here's the synopsis/blurb from the US publisher:

This new world weighs a yatto-gram.

But everything is trial-size; tread-on-me-tiny or blurred-out-offocus huge. There are leaves that have grown as big as cities, and there are birds that nest in cockleshells. On the white sand there are long-toed claw prints deep as nightmares, and there are rock pools in hand-hollows finned by invisible fish . . .

Mankind has rendered its planet unlivable and is beginning to colonize a new blue planet. Our heroine Billie Crusoe’s flight to the future is also a return to the distant past—“Everything is imprinted forever with what once was.” What begins as a witty, satirical futurist adventure deepens into a dazzling exploration of our relationship to environment, to power and technology, and to what defines us as humans.

For over twenty years Jeanette Winterson has consistently been one of our most brilliant writers. Lyrical, visionary, by turns funny and devastating, The Stone Gods is fiction at its most provocative.


A more extensive excerpt is on Winterson's website.

7avaland
Jan 24, 2008, 8:57am

Not exactly dystopian, but I thought it would be of interest.

8andyl
Jan 24, 2008, 9:49am

#6-7

In the Observer, Tim Adams said "Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods, a human-robot love story set in a dystopian future, is enlivened by a sliver of autobiography"

Ursula K. LeGuin's review of it starts off with a bit of a rant.

Like most of the characters in this book Winterson is fond of saying 'I hate science fiction. But good writers about science, such as Jim Crace and Margaret Atwood, are great. They take on science because it's crucial to our world, and they use language to give energy to ideas." She also said "There's not a single thing in The Stone Gods that's not plausible; it's not flights of fantasy or science fiction, but completely within our reach."

Her next book is also probably not going to be SF. It’s called Robot Love and it’s for kids. A girl builds a multi-gendered robot, which then kills her parents because it sees them mistreat her, so they both go on the run.

Of course that doesn't mean that the book is unmitigated crap.

It would be quite fun to see a debate between Winterson and Le Guin (or even Doris Lessing).

Found on a blog -
"Dear Jeanette--
Bite me.
Sincerely,
Pat Cadigan"

Full disclaimer - I have an aversion to Winterson due to her propensity to promote woo over science and common sense - homeopathic remedies to Botswana to treat HIV, making life changing decisions (like buying a house) on a personal astrologer's say so.

9nohrt4me
Jan 24, 2008, 8:27pm

But everything is trial-size; tread-on-me-tiny or blurred-out-offocus huge.

Stone Gods doesn't sound like dystopia. It sounds like me trying to use my cell phone or find my way around the sprawling building where I'm supposed to teach my course, and all the signs are posted so high up the wall, I can't read them because I have neck arthritis. I'm not a freakin' giraffe, architects!

What is "woo"? I get the general idea from context, but from whence does this word come?

I may need to start using it a lot now.

10andyl
Jan 25, 2008, 4:32am

I'm not sure as to its etymology. It is a common term on Ben Goldacre's www.badscience.net site (some of the articles also get published in The Guardian newspaper). The best definition I have found is this.

11avaland
Jan 25, 2008, 12:03pm

After I posted, I noticed the book had already been published in the UK, so I hoped for some interesting responses.

I, personally, am approaching the book as someone who enjoys clever literature. I know almost nothing about Winterson, except through the little bit of her work I have read. The fact the Le Guin doesn't like it will not affect my interest in the book; the Cadigan comment affects me even less. However, it could affect whether I buy a hardcover or a paperback:-)

andyl, so what have the non-SF critics thought of the book generally?

12andyl
Jan 25, 2008, 12:41pm

Well, The Times gave it a good review. However the reviewer for The Independent said "The Stone Gods reveals her at her most uneven. It alternates brilliant ideas with foolish ones, predicting a future at times utterly convincing, at others about as considered as a 12-year-old's essay". Which kind of matches what Le Guin said in The Guardian once she got over the "I hate science fiction" bit.

Oh and it was also nominated by for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award but was beaten into first place by Norman Mailer.

13avaland
Jan 26, 2008, 10:02am

er...define "bad sex" ... (kind of subjective, isn't it?). I suppose they mean bad writing about sex, right?

14andyl
Jan 26, 2008, 11:56am

Yep - it is awarded to the author with the worst depiction of sex in a novel. The rationale of the award is "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it".

15sean2euro
Mar 2, 2008, 1:59pm

i got an intresting book called Martin Martin's on the other side by Mark wernham. i think its Dystopian, least thats what i taged it as. yeah i just checked the blurb and it uses Dystopian there. it's as strange as we and as frantic as Clockwork orange. i thought it was great and yet there are only two of us on LT who own it.

16avaland
Mar 7, 2008, 6:51am

So what's it about, sean2euro. . .

17sean2euro
Mar 7, 2008, 6:09pm

i'll just write out the blurb as i'm not sure where to start. "fresh out of study center 16, Jenson wants to pay off his student debts as soon as possible and blag his way to the top, helping the government instil its dream and mantra: Unity and Success. And there will be other rewards: a life of government-sanctioned vice is guaranteed, he'll get to live out his days in the floodlit saftey of south London, never venturing into the wastlands of the north with its povos and tramps.
His first assignment is a simple one: keep an eye on Reg Rankin, leader of the Martin Martinists, a small group who believe that Martin Martin, a tv psychic consigned to the daytime schedules back in 2008 was the saviour and a prophet. the government murdered him. now they are planning the revelation which will finally bring truth, justice, revenge.
Jensen infiltrates this small cell, which is not without its benifits-theres a pretty girl called claire.
Then the floating starts.
Jenson floats out the window. Or he shuts his eyes and finds himself in the past, in the tv studio with Martin martin. the world is not what it seemed. It is turned upside down, sometimes literally".

hope that answers your question. there was an extract from it in the british Independent sunday supplement a few weeks back which is where i heard about it

18sean2euro
Mar 10, 2008, 11:49pm

i found a video made by Mark wernham about his book on youtube if anyone is interested.

http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=G1eIRdw1Y88

19kiwidoc
Mar 24, 2008, 8:50pm

I am nearly finished Sarah Hall and her dystopian novel The Carhullan Army. This is an English novel which describes a post-apocalyptic (appears like a financial/ecological collapse occurs). The protagonist joins a feminist colony and discusses the interpersonal and social dynamics of the colony. Quite good, not a 5 star, although I still have 50 pages to see how it wraps up.

20nohrt4me
Mar 26, 2008, 9:01am

A story about a feminist colony is a dystopian? :-)

21kiwidoc
Mar 26, 2008, 6:59pm

The apocalyptic calamity which is the basis of their new society and reaction to this is what makes it dystopian. Perhaps Hall was trying to define something of a utopian world with the colony but I am not sure.

22avaland
Edited: Apr 2, 2008, 2:18pm

hm. Sounds interesting, karenwardill.

The YA book I just finished -The Shadow Speaker is post-apocalyptic set in 2070 in Niger after the "Great Change" but the culture presented seems no more dystopian than what came before (ha ha, maybe that's the point - 'dystopias r us'!). One young girl must recognize and use her gifts to stop a war between Earth and other worlds which see the Earth's warlike tendencies and polluting technologies as a threat.

23avaland
May 1, 2008, 11:41am

While not brand new, The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall has now won several awards including the John Llewellyn Rhys prize (a UK award for best fiction) and the Tiptree Award. Here's a link to an article in the Guardian on it. As best I can tell reviews from readers have been mixed (the average rating here on LT is 3.5 stars, for example). First published in 2007, the book is now available in the UK in paperback.

24kiwidoc
Edited: May 7, 2008, 10:57am

#23 I was one of those who was not hugely impressed - although she is talented for sure and I wouldn't want to put anyone off!!

My review is here

25avaland
May 7, 2008, 1:06pm

duh! I can't believe I repeat-posted the same book, karenwardill. Apologies!

Thanks for the link to your review though. I may wait until The Handmaid's Tale is out of my mind before tackling this one.

26Unreachableshelf
May 12, 2008, 3:31pm

The Age of the Conglomerates by Thomas Nevins is coming out in August. Of course the touchstones aren't working at the moment, but I just posted my ER review and there's already another up.

28nohrt4me
May 13, 2008, 6:47pm

I've enjoyed the novella The Brief and Terrifying Reign of Phil and collection of short stories Persuasion Nation by George Saunders. Both relatively new.

29avaland
Jul 25, 2008, 1:41pm

OK, not new but new to me. The Fat Man in History by Peter Carey. I found this at a library sale - it was a Peter Carey title I had not heard of and the back cover blurb intrigued me:

If, in some post-Marxist utopia, obesity were declared counterrevolutionary, how would a houseful of far men strike back? If it were possible to win a new body by lottery, what kind of people would choose ugliness? If two gun-toting thugs decided to take over a business--and run it through sheer terror--how far would their methods take them?

These are the questions that Peter Carey, author of The Inspector and Oscar and Lucinda, brilliantly explores in this collection of stories. Exquisitely written and thoroughly envisioned, the tales in The Fat Man in History reach beyond their arresting premises to utter deep and often frightening truths about our brightest and darkest selves.


The stories seem to have been written in the 1970s, first compilation in 1980; this edition 1992.

30avaland
May 16, 2009, 9:36am

Margaret Atwood's forthcoming novel, The Year of the Flood is a parallel story to her Oryx and Crake set in the same world but outside the gated compounds. I've posted my comments on the book's page if one is interested (no spoilers included). It can be read without having read O&C, but it's kind of cool to know what is going on in the compounds at roughly the same time as the back story of this book.

31avaland
Aug 12, 2009, 8:43am

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
Translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy

Blurb from the publisher, Other Press:

Overview

One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?

THE UNIT is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the “dispensable” ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the “necessary” ones. Ninni Holmqvist has created a debut novel of humor, sorrow, and rage about love, the close bonds of friendship, and about a cynical, utilitarian way of thinking disguised as care.

32avaland
Feb 10, 2010, 4:29pm

Due out March 18th from Overlook Press:

2017: A Novel
by Olga Slavnikova
Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

As best I can tell it''s a satirical dystopia/political thriller set in 2017, 100 years after the Russian revolution.

33KromesTomes
Feb 10, 2010, 9:45pm

In the "new-to-me" category: Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin. I just picked it up at a used book sale and haven't read it yet, but it sounds fascinating:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika_Night

34redroc
Edited: Apr 20, 2010, 2:44pm

Just noticed METRO 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky in the amazon sci-fi chart. The synopsis looks good and it is getting good reviews. Apparently its a game as well?!

35LamSon
Apr 25, 2010, 4:43pm

A link to apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian...novels, with the following caveat from the compiler of the list: "this list contains material that is not strictly apocalyptic or post apocalyptic, but that may contain elements that have that fresh roasted apocalyptic feel."

http://www.paforge.com/files/resources/pa_books.pdf

36avaland
Edited: May 14, 2010, 8:48am

If not mentioned before:

Veracity by Laura Bynum.

From Publishers Weekly: In this emotionally gripping first novel, Harper Adams, a Monitor capable of reading people's emotions, identifies enemies of the Confederation of the Willing, a nasty dystopian state reminiscent of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale. Like everyone else, she has a slate implanted in her neck, primed to execute her if she utters one of the many words that have been outlawed or Red-Listed by the government. Pushed to revolt when her daughter's name, Veracity, is Red-Listed, Harper is recruited by the resistance and becomes their secret weapon. Bynum makes her protagonist's emotional turmoil painfully believable and creates a number of other interesting and thorny characters, but her plot is occasionally incoherent. Though the cartoonishly powerful Confederacy is never entirely convincing as a workable totalitarian state, its opponents also seem too quixotic and undermanned to fight it as successfully as they do.

Hmm. Everyone has a chip implanted. I'm speculating it's the Facebook chip:-)

37avaland
May 29, 2010, 11:39am

Coming out in July from Small Beer Press, a dystopian satire:

Meeks by Julia Holmes.

“A highly imaginative debut finds a stark Darwinian logic in a rigidly hierarchical society. . . . Holmes has fashioned a terrifying and utterly convincing world in which the perfect human being is one stripped of all illusions.”
—Publishers Weekly

http://smallbeerpress.com/forthcoming/2009/12/06/meeks/

38isimagen
Jun 1, 2010, 11:48am

It's a great book!

39Toby_Ball
Jun 1, 2010, 1:00pm

China Mieville's The City and the City is really good and is new in paperback. The hook is that there is a city with two major ethnic groups who are not allowed to interact or even "see" each other. Very interesting and well-written.

40avaland
Jun 3, 2010, 2:11pm

>39 Toby_Ball: Well, that just killed the delight in discovery:-) Those first 6 chapters were awesome because the 'Big Idea" was being unveiled. However, I suppose by now most people know the fundamental idea behind The City and the City. His new one is not as good, imo, but an interesting and adventurous romp through a contemporary London that we don't see (various weird cults, Londonmancers...etc). A bit overcrowded, imo, but I'll put up with almost anything from him:-)

>38 isimagen: I really enjoyed the book, but I've yet to conclude what criticisms the author is making. It seems to me that in most dystopias, particularly dystopian satires, it's reasonably clear what elements of our contemporary society they are criticizing or poking fun of. I didn't think it was terribly clear in "Meeks". Rigid social norms? marriage? the 'need' for an enemy? What did you think?

41KromesTomes
Jun 9, 2010, 2:55pm

Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson was a winner ... the premise is that some time in the recent past, modern-day England has forcibly "rearranged" its population based on the medieval humors ... all sanguine people have to live in one quarter, all choleric people in another, etc.

A fascinating book by an excellent, always surprising author.

42Bcteagirl
Jan 28, 2011, 3:42pm

Just bumping this up for discussion!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth now has a sequel Dead Tossed Waves and a third follow up Dead and Hollow Places.

Windup Girl and Shipbreaker both sound interesting, I have managed to snag a copy of Windup Girl off Bookmooch.

Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood for those who liked Oryx and Crake

New to me also are:
Deadfall: A Zombie Novel by Anthony Giangregorio (Touchstones not working:
http://www.librarything.com/work/8500677/book/67792749

Blood of the Dead: A Zombie Novel
http://www.librarything.com/work/7508014/book/67792799

And Domain of the Dead
http://www.librarything.com/work/8239067/book/67792694

Tricky touchstones today!

I would love to hear more about upcoming, new to you, or new release dystopian novels!

43LamSon
Feb 1, 2011, 3:49pm

Has anyone read the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness? Good, bad, mediocre?

44RBeffa
Feb 1, 2011, 10:56pm

The Chaos Walking series is very good. Besides the three books, Ness also has a free prequel 20 some page short story called "The New World" It was available on a website linked off of his blog if i remember right. I would recommend reading it AFTER book 1. There are some good reviews up on LT. Be prepared to read all three - each book ends on a cliffhanger. I liked the first book better after reading the 2nd - the 2nd book enhanced it. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the end of the series but it isn't a deux ex machina or anything. These stories constantly twisted in ways I never expected - they were good reads.

45RBeffa
Feb 1, 2011, 10:59pm

Here's the link to the free pdf for the Patrick Ness prequel book.

http://www.booktrust.org.uk/show/feature/New-World-intro

I don't kindle, but if you do you can also get it for free from Amazon.

46LamSon
Feb 2, 2011, 11:05am

47avaland
Feb 2, 2011, 8:00pm

Forthcoming in May:

America Pacific by Anna North

"Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica--one of the last places on earth that is still habitable, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food, and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The rich live in "Manhattanville" mansions made from the last pieces of wood and stone, while the poor cower in the shantytown slums of "Hell City" and "Little Los Angeles," places built out of heaped up trash that is slowly crumbling into the sea. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy.

But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home--the only one she's ever known. In spite of their poverty she lives contentedly with her mother, who works as a pearl diver. It's only when her mother doesn't come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former "Mainlander," and her mother's role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica. Darcy embarks on a quest to find her mother, navigating the dark underbelly of the island, learning along the way the disturbing truth of Pacifica's early history, the far-reaching influence of its egomaniacal leader, and the possible plot to murder some of the island's first inhabitants--including her mother. "

48SusieBookworm
Edited: Feb 18, 2011, 5:00pm

New steampunk dystopia - I'm not sure whether it's fantasy or science fiction:
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
It comes out February 22, though I just got an ARC of it and can't wait to start reading. It's pretty long, close to 500 pages.

49DystopiaPress
Feb 19, 2011, 5:01pm

Hello all!

I just wanted to say that Dystopia Press is preparing to release its first title 20 Years Later by Emma Newman, which is set in 2032 in post-plague London. The ebook will be available across all major platforms on May 1, 2011, with the hardback following on July 5, 2011 in the United States. Dates for a UK release date are currently being worked out.

Plus, 20 Years Later will be a part of the April batch of books in LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

50SusieBookworm
Feb 23, 2011, 4:17pm

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (sorry, no touchstone) comes out in June. Looks like a YA dystopia, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing.

51SusieBookworm
Mar 10, 2011, 7:51am

There's a blog called League of Extraordinary Writers that's run by a group of (currently) five debut sci-fi authors who have published/have forthcoming dystopias.

http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/

I've read both Across the Universe and Memento Nora and enjoyed both immensely.

52Bcteagirl
Mar 10, 2011, 4:41pm

Thanks Susie! :)

53DystopiaPress
Edited: Mar 20, 2011, 3:37pm

Hi all,

Read/download the first 5 chapters of Emma Newman's forthcoming dystopian YA novel 20 years later here: http://bit.ly/sample20YL

54avaland
Mar 15, 2011, 6:53am

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (2011, UK)

From the publisher:
"Jessie Lamb is an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times: as her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her towards the ultimate act of heroism. If the human race is to survive, it’s up to her. Set just a month or two in the future, in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman’s determination to make her life count for something, as the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart.

Jane Rogers has written eight novels including Her living Image (Somerset Maugham Award), Mr Wroe’s Virgins (Guardian Fiction Prize runner-up), Promised Lands (Writers Guild Best Novel Award), Island (Orange long-listed), and The Voyage Home. She has written drama for radio and TV, including an award-winning adaptation of Mr Wroe’s Virgins for BBC2. Her radio work includes both original drama and Classic Serial adaptations. She has taught writing at the University of Adelaide, Paris Sorbonne IV, and on a radio-writing project in Eastern Uganda. She is Professor of Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jane lives on the edge of the moors in Lancashire."

Here's a review in The Independent.

I've been a fan of Jane Rogers for years. Her work has a bit of Gothic creepiness I enjoy so I didn't think it much of a stretch for her to write a near-future dystopia. I'm reading it now, but can't say much more about it yet.

55LamSon
Edited: Mar 26, 2011, 2:23pm

Finished the trilogy by Gemma Malley which consists of The Declaration, The Resistance and The Legacy.
A drug has been developed that allows people to live forever. Children are illegal as a way of maintaining a stable population. Any illegal children are brought to boarding where the are brainwashed into viewing themselves as a drain on the world's resources. The series wraps up when complications with drug all of a sudden start killing people.
There is the businessman who owns the company making the drug and a very authoritarian government; who controls who is a matter for debate.

Overall I would give rating of 3.5 stars. It was worth the time it to read. However, don't read it at the same time as Winter's End by Jean Claude Mourlevat. The stories have several similarities and it's easy to lose track of which character belong to which story.

Touchstones didn't completely work.

56JohnGNelson
Sep 20, 2011, 9:05pm

My novel Against Nature was released in May 2011. It's a dystopian thriller about a global pandemic. It's a contemporary dystopia.

57Bcteagirl
Edited: Sep 20, 2011, 9:16pm

Intersting cover! You may want to add some information to the book description on the Against Nature page so others can get a better idea of what it is about :)

Touchstone not working yet.

58CharlieWade
Oct 19, 2011, 7:33am

I've recently selfpublished a post credit-crunch dystopia set in the UK, The Bailout. The first 10,000 words are free to download on Smashwords if anyone wants to take a look.

59Sanz71
Oct 23, 2011, 5:26pm

I would recommend Ashfall by Mike Mullin for my review see link http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.com/2011/09/ashfall-by-mike-mullins.html

60JonnyGibbings
May 30, 2012, 1:37pm

I'm not gonna talk about mine, cos that's make mer a spammy-twat, but publishers don't like to risk them (cos they are book snobs most of the time and not fans of the transgressive). But I have a lobve for dystopian comedy. Apathy and other small victories is bloody good, but not new...

61lady_fuchia
Aug 5, 2012, 6:03am

Hi guys, I'm new to the group, great to meet you all!

What, nobody mentioned Ben Elton's Blind Faith??? :) This is a wonderful book. When you read it, it seems like a nice comfy read, but it's been three years now and it still gives me shivers. Elton is superb in his sarcasm. I've looked through the library now and can see that since then, he's written another one - Meltdown - also dystopian judging by the title, so I think I'll look into this one, as well.

I'm also a big lover of dystopian fiction in translation, and nothing beats Russians there, from the classical stuff like Zamyatin's We to Metro 2033 and the most recent one, Memoria (a dystopian thriller) by Alex Bobl. I haven't read 2017 yet so I'm very curious.

62nohrt4me2
Aug 7, 2012, 3:02pm

Welcome, Lady F., to the site where we love to talk about how everything's going to hell in a handbasket.

Thanks for those rec's.

Yes, Russians write great dystopian literature. Amazing to read We and see how it affected dystopian writing in the West. My sense is that Ayn Rand stole a lot from We in Anthem, written in the 1930s.

63lady_fuchia
Aug 7, 2012, 6:01pm

Thank you very much! For Anthem, as well: I've never heard about it (blushes)

64nohrt4me2
Aug 7, 2012, 11:40pm

Don't feel bad. I always feel I should blush with shame whenever I mention Ayn Rand ...

65crdf
Edited: Sep 25, 2013, 1:01pm

It is also free, or at least it was until recently. Have you read This Perfect Day by Ira Levin?

66nohrt4me2
Sep 25, 2013, 1:07pm

Yes! A million years ago. Completely forgot about Levin's book. Thanks for the memory jog.

67crdf
Sep 26, 2013, 11:03am

I just want to say that Greatfall is a fan-fiction novel in the WOOL universe by Jason Gurley and the book is free. If you are in the UK though you might need to get in touch with the author, to be send out a copy as "Kindle Worlds" is limited to US. Additionally the book could be read online (from anywhere). I still haven't read the book but it was recommended to me by another author, though I intend to finish Shift and Dust first.

68nohrt4me2
Oct 11, 2013, 11:44am

Highly recommend Dave Eggers' new book "The Circle" (touchstone funky). I hear there is some plagiarism claim against the book, but the novel's exploration of privacy in the digital age surprised me coming from A Young Person like Eggers.

70avaland
Jan 28, 2015, 1:41pm

I'm hearing good things here on LT about Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. And there's some general buzz about The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. Here's a review of it from The Guardian.

71nohrt4me2
Jan 30, 2015, 11:43am

>70 avaland: Yes, Station Eleven is very good, despite this terrain having been covered by Olivia Butler, Stephen King, and Margaret Atwood.

72avaland
Edited: Apr 19, 2015, 6:36am

>72 avaland: That is disappointing.

The hubby finished The Country of Ice Cream Star and liked it well enough, but was furious that it ended abruptly. He says he is unlikely to read a second book. I'll let you know if he posts a review.

73avaland
Edited: Apr 19, 2015, 6:52am

On another note, I find it interesting that dystopian/post apocalyptic novels are making the award longlists, at least lists not accustomed to including them. The Testament of Jessie Lamb made the 2011 Booker Prize longlist (Oryx and Crake by Atwood made the list in 2004, Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro made the shortlist in 2005), and both Station Eleven and The Country of Ice Cream Star made the Bailey's longlist this year (formerly known as the Orange Prize). I haven't been following the Bailey's list closely in recent years so there may be others.

BTW, the Atwood trilogy is in development by HBO under the title of "MaddAddam" (He was the guy behind the movie "Pi" so we'll see what he can do with a dystopian satire)

74auntmarge64
Apr 19, 2015, 2:37pm

I loved Station Eleven. A really good yarn. I did download The Country of Ice Cream from my library and then forgot it. Now I'm thinking maybe I'll just get it some other time. But do give S11 a try.

75nohrt4me2
Apr 19, 2015, 7:13pm

Anyone read An Etiquette Guide to the End Times? Sounded kind of funny, so downloaded it with The Testament of Jessie Lamb.

76avaland
Edited: Mar 30, 2016, 5:20pm

The NYTBR features a terrific review by Joyce Carol Oates of Irish author Edna O'Brien's new novel, a near future dystopian tale.

Here's a review in the Guardian

Here's the publisher's synopsis (the reviews are a more worthy read than this)

A woman discovers that the foreigner she thinks will redeem her life is a notorious war criminal.

Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed.

Fidelma, disgraced, flees to England and seeks work among the other migrants displaced by wars and persecution. But it is not until she confronts him-her nemesis-at the tribunal in The Hague, that her physical and emotional journey reaches its breathtaking climax.

THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS is a book about love, and the endless search for it. It is also a book about mankind's fascination with evil, and how long, how crooked, is the road towards Home.


77nohrt4me2
Mar 30, 2016, 5:46pm

>76 avaland: Thanks for the heads up!

I've been re-reading a bunch of Vonnegut for spring break, which I intended to do last year after I picked up a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five somebody at the office was giving away.

Just finished God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater with its eponymous Holy Fool. On to Sirens of Titan, which I should be able to read before I have to start teaching again Monday.

I hadn't read Vonnegut in 30 years. Read almost everything he wrote up to Galapagos, and I thought his stuff was getting stale.

But his work holds up for an "older" reader.

Also, sort of by serendipity, David Brancaccio on NPR, this week referred to a 2005 interview with Vonnegut. (Brancaccio is trying to get people interested in Vonnegut's idea of a cabinet post for Secretary of the Future.) Transcript of the 2005 interview is here: http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcriptNOW140_full.html

78avaland
Apr 3, 2016, 4:52pm

I never got into Vonnegut, not sure why.

79nohrt4me2
Edited: Apr 4, 2016, 10:41pm

>78 avaland: There was some controversy about Vonnegut's nomination into the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a lot of people though he just wasn't that good.

I always appreciated the social commentary in his books, in which the satire and farce covered a deep grief over the human condition. What I find interesting is how well it's all held up. I haven't read some of this stuff for 40 years.

Fair to say that some people might find him tiresome; he often covered the same themes over and over, often with the same images and characters. But I sort of liked the way all the novels created a kind of Vonnegut-verse.

Often Vonnegut intrudes on his own work to offer some biographical aside. Sort of like Brecht's alienation effect. (I see after a cursory search that I'm not the only one who has made that connection.)

I always liked Vonnegut's observation (in Slapstick maybe?) that he didn't believe in love, a concept that struck him as nebulous and open misunderstanding, but in "common decency."

Vonnegut may not be to everyone's taste. But if Garrison Keillor and his twee little stories about Lake Woebegon (which I utterly loathe, even as I confess to being seduced by them, as a life-long Midwesterner) can be in the Academy, Vonnegut certainly belongs there.

Oh, dear, this went on, didn't it?

80avaland
Apr 19, 2016, 3:29am

>79 nohrt4me2: Thanks for the interesting Vonnegut overview, I appreciate it, really.

81stellarexplorer
Apr 19, 2016, 11:30am

>81 stellarexplorer: Great comparison of Vonnegut's worthiness if placed beside Keillor (whose work I too detest).

It's hard for me to assess Vonnegut's real merit -- I read him so early. But for a teenager, he was just the right medicine to twist around a head that needed more twisting!

82nohrt4me2
Apr 19, 2016, 7:27pm

>80 avaland:, 81 I found, on re-reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, myself thinking about St. Francis and other Holy Fools. The damaged and alienated character who is generally a better person than the people around him is one who keeps popping up in Vonnegut's work. My sense is that all Vonnegut's books are morality tales that often address social justice issues. Again, a lot like Brecht.

83nohrt4me2
May 6, 2016, 8:58pm

Not sure Zero K by DonDeLillo is a true dystopian, but falls under speculative fiction. Takes place in a future time at a cryogenics facility for the ultra-wealthy. About halfway through. So far interesting/notable for the way DeLillo examines what human identity is and how central the idea of death is. Will be interested to see how he wraps it up.

84avaland
May 24, 2016, 11:39am

>83 nohrt4me2: Sounds interesting. I've not read DeLillo. I've moved somewhat away from dystopias for the moment; I think I'll blame the election coverage.

85nohrt4me2
May 24, 2016, 11:52pm

DeLillo is a writer of some power, interesting set up and landscape. Certainly a novel of ideas with lots to think about. But it's so cerebral that I just didn't care that much about what happened or feel invested in the characters.

86nohrt4me2
Jun 12, 2016, 8:25pm

On to City of Bohane, which is about a generally lawless town in the west of Ireland. I'm not sure if this is dystopian, post-apocalyptic, speculative, or what, but it's pretty damn good. Also enjoyed Kevin Barry's Beatlebone. Wonderful ear for dialogue and dialect.

87nohrt4me2
Jun 24, 2016, 7:35pm

City of Bohane is really worth a read for dystopian fans. Colson Whitehead's Zone One is turning out to be very good. Not sure why he's only getting three stars on this book on Amazon. Love his writing.

88avaland
Jun 28, 2016, 7:55am

>86 nohrt4me2:/87 Will keep that in mind! I think I had an arc of the Whitehead at one point but I never did get around to reading it.

Ratings: I pay no mind to star ratings. Some of the most interesting books I've read have low ratings.

89amysisson
Jun 28, 2016, 9:47am

I quite liked The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell. It takes a few pages to get used to the narrator's very ungrammatical way of speaking. In that sense, it reminded me of Peter Heller's The Dog Stars. In both books, I was sure I was going to get hung up on the unconventional style, and in both cases it instead became transparent for me as I got into the story.

90avaland
Jul 29, 2016, 2:02pm

Saw this in Publishers Weekly, described as a near future, dystopian thriller.

Bounty by Michael Byrne

“Michael Byrnes fuses science fiction and espionage in this smart, near-futuristic dystopic thriller. . . . The action-packed story line is full of plot twists and explores such topical matters as cyberterrorism and hacktivism. Byrnes raises some serious questions about humankind’s increasing dependence on—and assimilation with—the digital world.”—Publishers Weekly

“Vigilantism goes viral in this thriller about a website that pays bounties for the killing of unpunished child abusers, financial scammers, human rights violators, and other bad actors. . . . Charles Bronson’s Death Wish meets the Internet.”—Kirkus Reviews

91avaland
Oct 28, 2016, 3:57pm

Lionel Shriver, noted author of We Need to Talk about Kevin and other novels, has a new hardcover out and it's a dystopian satire.

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/08/the-mandibles-lionel-shriver-revie...

"Shriver presents this future with her familiar undercurrent of black humour and a sly nod to the reader; having gone to so much trouble to make the story’s economic foundation solid, she also reminds us now and again of its artifice. “Plots set in the future are about what people fear in the present. They’re not about the future at all,” Lowell pompously tells his daughter. “The truth is, throughout history things keep getting better… But writers and film-makers keep predicting that everything’s going to fall apart. It’s almost funny,” he adds, right before everything falls apart."

92avaland
Oct 28, 2016, 4:02pm

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch is a forthcoming post apocalyptic dystopian novel.

"In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet’s now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head: the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin.

Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule—galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one—not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself—can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations.

A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places—even at the extreme end of post-human experience—Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival."

Published by HarperCollins, April 2017

93nohrt4me2
Nov 6, 2016, 11:39pm

>92 avaland: Had not heard of The Book of Joan. Sounds like there might be interesting reverbs with the St. Joan story.

94avaland
Nov 14, 2016, 8:31pm

>93 nohrt4me2: If I get to it anytime in the near future, I'll send it to you after :-)

95nohrt4me2
Mar 21, 2017, 8:07pm

Reading A Friend of the Earth, a near-future eco-disaster novel (so more speculative fiction than dystopian) by T.C. Boyle. About a third of the way in, and so far so good. I went off Boyle when he was writing those biographies (about Kellogg and F.L. Wright). This would make a good companion read with Atwood's Mad Adam trilogy.

96avaland
Edited: Mar 21, 2017, 10:07pm

The latest issue of World Literature Today touts "Dystopian Visions: 13 Writers with Doomsday Imaginations." There are a few pieces of poetry, an author interview, a couple of articles and a piece of fiction by Egyptian author Basma Abdel Aziz titled, "Scenes from the Life of an Autocrat."

The NYTBR for March 10th features a long piece by Margaret Atwood about her novel, Handmaid's Tale. It seems to not be letting me link to the article, so just Google it.
Margaret Atwood on What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump

97nohrt4me2
Mar 24, 2017, 1:05pm

Thanks, avaland. We gave up our paper copy of the Sunday NYT, and I have a daily digital subscription instead (fewer trees killed, less expensive). It's OK, but I don't get the book review like I used to and I miss the Xword puzzle and magazine.

I have heard that The Handmaid's Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four both enjoyed renewed attention after the recent election.

Trailer for the new "Handmaid's Tale" movie. Just watched it, and I guess I won't go take my blood pressure just now: https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2017/mar/24/the-handmaids-tale-elisabeth-...

98avaland
Mar 26, 2017, 7:02pm

>97 nohrt4me2: I think some of the new dystopian novels coming out will probably suffer because they don't measure up to current reality; however others, like the two older titles you mention, are getting some renewed interest and some newer titles may enjoy that, too.

Hubby recently read Kim Stanley Robinson's latest book, New York: 2140, and he says it's right on point and it leans a bit more towards the utopian.

99nohrt4me2
Mar 27, 2017, 10:53am

I hear that "House of Cards" producers worry that their ratings will fall now that we have a real political trainwreck to watch.

The BBC version of the show was wonderful because it had a clear, overarching plot line. While Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are shiveringly good, I think the show is becoming a bit convoluted and lost in plotlines. I had to make a list of characters.

Last season's ender was pretty stunning, though.

100avaland
Apr 2, 2017, 3:49pm

>99 nohrt4me2: I can't decide whether I will watch the latest season. I wish I could say that at least no one is pushing people in front of trains, but...

I'm finding some shows just hard to watch. We are enjoying "Legion," a show that forces the audience to pay attention because it messes with one's head (created by the same guy doing the "Fargo" series...and he has to have been a fan of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" --it's got that "retro-futuristic" look about it). I like intelligent & creative TV, but I do have a limit on dark (I think "American Crime" is a masterful and thoughtful show, but it's realistically bleak, no artificial happy endings...easier to take before the election.

101nohrt4me2
Apr 3, 2017, 9:22am

I really like "Black Mirror," a sporadic series from the UK. Also "Orphan Black."

102Darth-Heather
Apr 3, 2017, 1:35pm

>101 nohrt4me2: I watched one episode of Black Mirror. It's the one about the pig. I admit it is cleverly written, but I'm not sure about watching any others...

103john257hopper
Apr 3, 2017, 2:16pm

I'm re-reading It Can't Happen Here and it's right on the button for so much about Trump and the attitudes and assumptions of his supporters, at least as it seems to me from the other side of the Atlantic.

104john257hopper
Apr 3, 2017, 2:17pm

I might try Handmaid's Tale again, wasn't hugely taken with it when I read it about two and a half years ago.

105nohrt4me2
Edited: Apr 4, 2017, 9:36am

>104 john257hopper: Yeah, if you live long enough you realize how right Sinclair Lewis was about pretty much everything and why it drove him to drink.

106auntmarge64
Apr 4, 2017, 10:50am

>99 nohrt4me2: Last season's ender was pretty stunning, though.

I thought the final 10 seconds, when Robin Wright, uh, did what she did (no spoilers here), was one of the scariest moments I've ever seen on screen. It made me want to hide.

107auntmarge64
Apr 4, 2017, 11:00am

I agree with many of the posters here - something about my viewing and reading habits has changed since the election. It was several months before I could watch the news, and these days I'd just as soon read some science fiction or watch a murder mystery than view or read anything heavy and meaningful. Dystopian anything seems too life-like. I did attempt to read Robinson's New York 2140 but got only a third of the way through. His ideas are creative and often brilliant, but even his masterpiece, the Mars trilogy, is painful to read for it's lack of characterization and drama. And while I love his ideas about what humanity could do with other-world settlement or huge ocean level rises here, the idea that humanity would ever work together well enough to bring about such solutions seems really, really optimistic. Still, it never hurts to dream.

108nohrt4me2
Apr 5, 2017, 3:24pm

>106 auntmarge64: Yes, Robin Wright does such a great job with that part!

109stellarexplorer
Edited: Apr 5, 2017, 11:59pm

>107 auntmarge64: I know his Mars Trilogy was highly awarded, but personally I think his Science in the Capital Trilogy starting with Forty Signs of Rain is Kim Stanley Robinson's best work.

For me whatever his books lack, they are still wonderful for their originality, ideas and smarts. And it doesn't hurt to have someone hold on to the possibility that there may be a human future ;)

110auntmarge64
Apr 6, 2017, 11:16am

>107 auntmarge64: And it doesn't hurt to have someone hold on to the possibility that there may be a human future ;)

Very true. And, maybe his ideas will spur some research or inventions that will help us.

111john257hopper
Apr 6, 2017, 3:57pm

#107 - I know what you mean about Kim Stanley Robinson, he is very much an ideas man, like many SF authors, but they often don't seem to translate into really good novels. I read the first two volumes of the Mars trilogy back in 1999 but never bothered with the third. I have them all on Kindle now and may try them again, but there are so many books to read, too little time...

112john257hopper
Apr 6, 2017, 3:58pm

I thought The Years of Rice and Salt was his best work of those I have read.

113auntmarge64
Apr 6, 2017, 9:58pm

>111 john257hopper:

I have The Years of Salt and Rice on my Kindle. :)

As I recall, the third volume of the trilogy was well worth reading, and while I would give the individual volumes 3½-4 stars, I'd give the series 5 stars.

114avaland
Apr 7, 2017, 2:57am

>101 nohrt4me2: Have loved Orphan Black

115avaland
Apr 29, 2017, 5:57am

Here's two forthcoming titles:

Amatka by Karen Tidbeck. Vintage books, due out June 27th

From the publisher:
Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.

Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.

In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.

When the English Fall by David Williams. Algonquin Books, due out July 11th.

From Publishers Weekly:
Williams’s satisfying postapocalyptic novel shows the complex interlacing of Amish and “English” (non-Amish) life. Jacob, an Amish father, lives in a small Pennsylvania district with his wife and two teen children. His daughter, Sadie, has preternatural abilities to foresee the future, a curious note in an otherwise very realistic story. In a journal, Jacob recounts the immediate effects of a massive solar storm that wipes out all electronics. Over two and a half months, the community is called to provide for the cities that were less prepared for the loss of modern life, and increasingly desperate outsiders begin to threaten them, driven to violence by need. This new world tests the Amish injunction to peacefully sacrifice. The diary format means the scientific details of the storm’s effects are vague and the most horrifying events are only rumored; this increases tension and keeps the narrative from becoming as dehumanizing or shockingly violent as other tales of the end of the world. The unique spin draws readers into an alarmingly plausible story of contemporary civilization’s demise.

116nohrt4me2
Edited: May 4, 2017, 8:28am

Hokey Smoke! Amish dystopian. I have Amish in-laws, and I find elements of the utopian and dystopian in their communities.

I have Pennsylvania Omnibus, an Amish sci fi space travel book in my tbr pile. Maybe I should make this a mini theme for summer.

117avaland
May 21, 2017, 10:38am

118koolfrogs
May 23, 2017, 8:07am

Sunwalker by S. T. Sanchez is a new one.

119avaland
May 28, 2017, 8:22am

>118 koolfrogs: Your book and author links don't connect to the correct books....

120avaland
Jun 26, 2017, 8:00am

Interesting article on "What lies beneath the brave new world of feminist dystopian sci-fi?" (i.e Naomi Alderman winning the Bailey Prize in the UK, previous known as the Orange Prize)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/24/feminist-dystopian-sci-fi-naomi-al...

121nohrt4me2
Edited: Jun 27, 2017, 7:21pm

Thanks! You can make a nice little reading list from that article.

On Hystopia by David Means, which is a kind of alternate history of the Vietnam era/satire. He owes a lot to Vonnegut. It's a bit too experimental for my taste, but interesting. Once I'm done, I should have fun outlining the structure.

122avaland
Jul 2, 2017, 8:53am

A few more titles that came into the bookstore recently:

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones (published by Putnam, due out Sept. 2017)

From the Kirkus Review:

Adventure travel in the dystopian future involves braving killer ticks and drug-farming rebels.

“By the time you feel the itching, the female miner tick has created a tiny cavity under your skin and settled into place….Over the next several hours, the area around the bite will erupt in hundreds of pustules.…If you don’t scratch the pustules open yourself to try to soothe the itch, the miner ticks will eventually tear their way out.” This is Andy, a guide for Outer Limits Excursions, lecturing the trainees in his tour group, “a bunch of people with more money than sense.” Since the advent of these horrific ticks, the U.S. has receded into walled zones, isolated by both chemical and physical barriers. Outside the walls are many things these tourists have never seen before—“sunrise from a rock precipice. A hawk circling over your head.” There are also settlements of rebels who would rather face the tick problem than submit to the limitations of life in-zone. Among the travelers are a well-known country music star and his bartender girlfriend; the boy genius who invented Pocketz, an important financial app of the new society; a Japanese electronics tycoon and his sister; and Marta Perrone, the wife of a wealthy businessman who is also both a crime lord and a rising political power. Marta has been sent to spy on the boy genius for nefarious purposes, but soon she will lose all interest in doing her husband's bidding. Jones’ (The Next Time You See Me, 2013, etc.) darkly clever worldbuilding creates a nightmare that seems far from unthinkable, from the bug-borne health crisis and climate issues to anti-abortion legislation (they call it feticide) and severe socio-economic division.

It’s The Hunger Games meets The Godfather meets Robin Cook, with female characters playing all the key roles. Hell, yeah.

123avaland
Jul 2, 2017, 8:57am

Another forthcoming book"

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill (Harper Voyager, due out Sept 2017)

It's seems more post-apocalyptic than a dystopia, but I thought I'd include it.

From the publisher:
"

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins."

124avaland
Jul 2, 2017, 9:01am

And another...

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King (also from Harper Voyager and due out Sept. 2017)

Also from Kirkus Reviews:
In her provocative debut, King imagines a world in which China's One Child Policy has created a dystopian future of longing, inequality, and constant surveillance.

At 40, Lee Wei-guo is a well-established physical trainer. He’s even been “voted one of Beijing’s top master personal trainers the last five years in a row by The Worldly Bachelor.” Like the other men he knows, Wei-guo longs for the companionship of marriage, but China’s One Child Policy and preference for male children has created a future in which it’s notoriously difficult—and expensive—for men to marry. Women are allowed to take multiple husbands to try and breed more daughters, an authoritarian State has criminalized homosexuality and mental illness, and men are provided with State-regulated outlets for both pleasure and aggression. But when Wei-guo meets Wu May-ling through an expensive matchmaker, he intuits that she and her Advanced family may be the ticket to his future happiness. Despite his growing connection with May-ling and her two husbands, brothers Hann and XX, Wei-guo’s hopes for a straightforward marriage contract are thrown into chaos when a battle in the Strategic Games turns unexpectedly deadly. Can Wei-guo outsmart the State-sponsored violence that has rendered men like him so dispensable? Told in alternating viewpoints, King's novel takes its cues from classic sci-fi dystopias, from The Handmaid’s Tale to Ender’s Game, to demonstrate the repressive control mechanisms already at work in everyday life.

An intelligent, incisive commentary on how love survives—or doesn’t—under the heel of the State.

125avaland
Jul 2, 2017, 9:09am

I should also mention that "Great Courses" has a 2017 course now on Utopian and Dystopia literature done by Pamela Bedore of the University of Connecticut.

I managed to get one of these online used via Amazon. I've started it and am into Lecture 2 where she discusses Thomas More.

Check the website for a list of lectures.

126nohrt4me2
Jul 4, 2017, 8:02pm

"An Excess Male" sounds interesting. I read somewhere that doting parents will import women from friendly Asian States for their "little emperors." What this might do to the social and cultural pecking order will be interesting.

127avaland
Jul 5, 2017, 8:57am

>126 nohrt4me2: Just finished that one. It was very interesting and certainly kept my attention. More than anything, it's a story of family, though the latter half of the book does have some tension and suspense. I thought it difficult for me to judge how dystopian some of it was with regards to government surveillance, oppression...etc. I guess I have to trust the author that things are better there at the moment than they are in the book.

Will send it to you (I left a note on your profile page).

128avaland
Jul 11, 2017, 10:58am

Coming Nov 2017

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich.

From the publisher:

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.

129avaland
Edited: Aug 11, 2017, 7:21am

More a crime novel with a futuristic setting, but I thought I'd include it here"

Yesterday: A Novel by Felicia Yap

From the publisher: Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day's worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality-until...

A beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England's River Cam. The woman is Mark's mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator's and the suspect's memories are constantly erased--how can anyone learn the truth?

Told from four different perspectives, that of Mark, Claire, the detective on the case, and the victim--Felicia Yap's staggeringly inventive debut leads us on a race against an ever-resetting clock to find the killer. With the science-fiction world-building of Philip K. Dick and the twisted ingenuity of Memento, Yesterday is a thriller you'll never forget.

130dianeham
Dec 28, 2017, 11:02pm

When the English Fall by David Williams - post-apocalypse in Amish country. "English" refers to the non-Amish. The Amish of course have no trouble surviving without electricity, computers or banks. Also they keep private stores of food which they grow themselves.

131avaland
Jan 30, 2018, 4:31pm

>130 dianeham: Interesting!

132avaland
Aug 17, 2018, 3:09pm

I suppose I should add a few new ones:

Vox by Christine Dalcher,

Christina Dalcher’s debut novel, set in a recognizable near future and sure to beg comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale, asks: if the number of words you could speak each day was suddenly and severely limited, what would you do to be heard? A novel ripe for the era of #MeToo, VOX (Berkley) presents an exaggerated scenario of women lacking a voice: in the United States, they are subject to a hundred-word limit per day (on average, a human utters about 16,000). Considering the threat of a society in which children like the protagonist’s six-year-old daughter are deprived of language, VOX highlights the urgency of movements like #MeToo, but also of the basic importance of language —Vanity Fair

Personally, I thought the first half of this excellent - very thought-provoking. However, it slips into a thriller in the second half and loses some of its punch. Due out in Sept.

Scribe by Alyson Hagy

Set after a civil war and deadly fevers decimate the country, Hagy’s (Boleto, 2012, etc.) new novel is a slim and affecting powerhouse. The nameless main character is a scribe who lives alone in her family’s Appalachian farmhouse. Under the watchful eye of local overseer Billy Kingery and the Uninvited, a migrant group living on her land, she finds a way to exist in relative harmony with the people who worshiped her late sister but only tolerate her. In order to protect herself from her neighbors, she barters her gift of writing letters “on behalf of the guilty and possessed.” When a mysterious man named Hendricks asks her to write a letter for him, an unknowable (yet devastating) series of events is set in motion. As Hendricks and the narrator each fulfill their end of the bargain, the secrets they have been keeping from themselves and each other are unearthed. When the letter is completed, she must journey through the wild and dangerous terrain to a crossroads to deliver it. Hagy is a careful writer; each sentence feels as solid and sturdy as stone. The descriptions of nature are especially lush: “air-burned hints of lightning” and “the sunset was the color of persimmons.” Steeped in folklore, the mystical and unexplainable lace themselves throughout the novel: Dreams bleed into reality; apparitions appear; time becomes malleable. Stories—whether written, oral, or biblical—are at the book’s center. In this post-apocalyptic world, the stories we tell about ourselves and others can be a matter of life or death.

Timely and timeless; a deft novel about the consequences and resilience of storytelling.
--Kirkus Reviews

I think this review is very accurate to my reading. It's a short book; excellent writing and quite an engaging story. Due out in October.

133avaland
Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 4:43pm

There's so many dystopias that have come out and are coming out ....

The Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates. Due out in late November. No touchstone yet, apparently.

"An ingenious, dystopian novel of one young woman’s resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society, from the inventive imagination of Joyce Carol Oates

“Time travel” — and its hazards—are made literal in this astonishing new novel in which a recklessly idealistic girl dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled (future) world and is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America — “Wainscotia, Wisconsin”—that existed eighty years before. Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town she is set upon a course of “rehabilitation”—but cannot resist falling in love with a fellow exile and questioning the constrains of the Wainscotia world with results that are both devastating and liberating. "

134nohrt4me2
Edited: Aug 22, 2018, 8:22pm

Review of dystopian apocalyptic Severance.

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/640570793/severance-is-a-sardonic-wake-up-call-fo...

Snip:

The premise of Severance is that America and much of the rest of the world has been struck by something called Shen Fever — a fungal disease that originated in the factories of Southern China. Once infected, "the fevered," as they're called, forget to eat or bathe; instead, they "loop indefinitely," until they die, performing rote tasks like folding sweaters or vacantly turning the pages of a book over and over.

135avaland
Aug 11, 2019, 9:42am

Good grief, I haven't posted for a year (but, hey, 10 years is a good run). Am still keeping my eyes out for intriguing new dystopias but as noted above, there are far, far too many coming out these days.

136ptittle
Jul 22, 2020, 1:59pm

It Wasn't Enough, Peg Tittle

What if one day, all of the women suddenly disappeared, leaving the men to take their places, fill their roles, do what they did. What would happen? How would the men react?

A feminist dystopia.

Free until the end of July at Smashwords; review copies available after that from the author (you need only consider writing a review -- if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, no problem).

137ptittle
Jul 22, 2020, 2:00pm

Gender Fraud: a fiction, Peg Tittle

I hope that 'gender recognition' legislation, which reveals a failure to differentiate between sex and gender and, with respect to sex, a denial of the definitive role of chromosomes, will soon be repealed. I fear that this horror story will take its place.

Free until the end of July at Smashwords; review copies available after that from the author (you need only consider writing a review -- if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, no problem).

138avaland
Sep 12, 2020, 8:53am

>137 ptittle: There is a self-promotion group called "Hobnob with Authors" for this. Otherwise it violates the sites Terms of Service.